"It is...Our will that Catholics should abstain from certain appellations which have recently been brought into use to distinguish one group of Catholics from another. They are to be avoided not only as 'profane novelties of words,' out of harmony with both truth and justice, but also because they give rise to great trouble and confusion among Catholics. Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: 'This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved' (Athanasian Creed). There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism: it is quite enough for each one to proclaim 'Christian is my name and Catholic my surname,' only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself." -- Pope Benedict XV, Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum 24 (1914)

Monday, May 21, 2012



Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine's
The Church's Year


At the Introit the Church sings the words which were spoken by the
angels to the apostles and disciples, after the Ascension of our

INTROIT Ye men of Galilee, why wonder you, looking up to heaven?
allel.: He shall so come as you have seen him going up into heaven.
Allel., allel., allel. (Acts I. 11.), Oh, clap your hands, all ye
nations; shout unto God with the voice of joy. (Ps. XLVI. 2.) Glory
be to the Father, etc.

COLLECT Grant, we beseech Thee, O Almighty God, that we who believe
Thy only-begotten Son, our Redeemer, to have this day ascended into
the heavens, may ourselves also in, mind dwell amid heavenly things.
Through the same etc.

LESSON (Acts I. 1-11.) The former treatise I made, O Theophilus, of
all things which Jesus began to do and to teach , until the day on
which, giving commandments by the Holy Ghost to the apostles ,whom he
had chosen, he was taken up: to whom also he showed himself alive
after his passion, by many proofs, for forty days appearing to them,
and speaking of the kingdom of God. And eating together with them, he
commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but should
wait for the prom�ise of the Father, which you have heard (saith he)
by my mouth: for John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be
baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence. They, therefore,
who were come together, asked him, saying: Lord, wilt thou at this
time restore the kingdom to Israel? But he said to diem: It is not
for you to know the times or moments which the Father hath put in his
own power; but you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming
upon you, and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem and in all
Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth. And
when he had said these things, while they looked on, he was raised
up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they were
beholding him going up to heaven, behold, two men stood by them in
white garments, who also said: Ye men of Galilee, why stand yon
looking up to heaven? This Jesus who is taken up from you into
heaven, shall so come, as you have seen him going into heaven.

EXPLANATION This gospel of St. Luke addressed to Theophilus, a
Christian of note in Antioch, contains an account of the life,
sufferings, and death of Jesus up to the time of His ascension into
heaven. The Evangelist con�tinues his account in the Acts of the
apostles, in which he describes in simple words that which Jesus did
during the forty days following His Resurrection, and the manner in
which He ascended into heaven in the presence of His apostles.
Rejoice that Christ today has entered into the glory gained by His
sufferings and death, and pray: I rejoice, O King of heaven and
earth, in the glory Thou bast this day attained in heaven. Sing to
God, ye kingdoms of the earth: sing ye to the Lord: sing ye to God,
who mounteth above the heaven of heavens to the east. Give ye glory
to God for Israel, his magnificence and his power is in the clouds.
God is wonderful in his saints, the God of Israel is he who will give
power and strength to his people, blessed be God. (Ps.LXVII. 33-36.)

GOSPEL (Mark. XVI. 14-20.) At that time, Jesus appeared to the eleven
as they were at table: and he upbraided them with their incredulity
and hardness of heart, because they did not believe them who had seen
him after he was risen again. (And he said to them: Go ye into the
whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that
believeth and is baptized shall be saved: but he that believeth not
shall be condemned: And these signs shall follow them that believe.
In my name they shall cast out devils: they shall speak with new
tongues; they shall take up serpents: and if they shall drink any
deadly thing, it shall not hurt them: they shall lay their hands upon
the sick; and they shall recover.) And the Lord Jesus after he had
spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sitteth on the right
hand of God. But they going forth preached everywhere, the Lord
work�ing withal, and confirming the word with signs that followed.

The part of this gospel which is within the marks of parenthesis, is
the gospel for the feast of St: Francis Xavier.

Why did Christ say to His apostles: Go ye into the whale world and
preach the gospel to all creatures?
To show that no one is to assume the office of preach�ing, but must
look for his mission from the lawful pastors of the Church. And when
Christ sends His apostles into the whole worlds to all nations
without exception, He shows His willingness to save all men. If the
designs of God are not fulfilled, the blame is not to be attributed
to God, but to man, who either does not accept the doctrine of the
gospel, or accepting, does not live in accordance with it, or else
renders himself by his obduracy in vice, unworthy of the gospel.

Is faith without good works sufficient for salvation?
No, faith that is not active in love, not fruitful in good works, and
therefore not meritorious, (Gal. V. 6.) is not sufficient for
salvation. "Such faith," says St. Anselm, "is not the faith of a
Christian, but the faith of the devil." Only he who truly believes in
Christ and His doctrine, and lives in accordance with it, will be

Is ours then the true faith since all the faithful do not work
miracles; as Christ has predicted?
St. Gregory very beautifully replies to this question: "Because the
Redeemer said that true faith would be accompanied by miracles, you
must not think that you have not the faith, because these signs do
not follow; these miracles had to be wrought in the beginning of the
Church, because faith in her had to be increased by these visible
signs of divine power." And even now when such signs are necessary
for the propagation of the faith, and victory over unbelief, God
gives His faithful power to work them.

Are miracles wrought now in the Catholic Church?
Yes, for there have been at all times saints in the Church, who, as
seen from their lives, have wrought miracles, on account of their
faith, which even the heretics cannot deny; for instance St. Francis
Xavier, who in the sight of the heathens, raised several dead persons
to life. In a spiritual manner all pious Catholics still work such
miracles; for, as St. Chrysostom says, "they expel devils when they
banish sin, which is worse than the devil; they speak new tongues
when they converse no longer on vain and sinful things, but on those
which are spiritual and heavenly." "They take up serpents," says St.
Gregory, "when by zealous exhortations they lift others from the
shame of vice, without being themselves poisoned; they drink deadly
things without being hurt by them, when they hear improper
conversation without being corrupted or led to evil; they lay their
hands upon the sick and heal them, when they teach the ignorant,
strengthen by their good example those who are wavering in virtue,
keep the sinner from evil, and similar things." Strive to do this
upon all occasions, O Christian, for God willingly gives you His
grace and you will thus be of more use to yourself and others, and
honor God more than by working the greatest miracles.

Where and how did Christ ascend into heaven?
From Mount Olivet where His sufferings began, by which we learn, that
where our crosses and afflictions begin which we endure with patience
and resignation, there begins our reward. Christ ascended into heaven
by His own power, because He is God, and now in His glorified humanity
He sits at the right hand of His Father, as our continual Mediator.

In whose presence did Christ ascend into heaven?
In the presence of His apostles, and many of His disciples, whom He
had previously blessed, (Luke XXIV. 51.) and who, as St. Leo says,
derived consoling joy from His ascension. Rejoice, also, O Christian
foul, for Christ has today opened heaven for you, and you may enter
it, if you believe in Christ, and live in accordance with that faith.
St. Augustine says: "Let us ascend in spirit with Christ, that when
His day comes, we may follow with our body.

Yet you must know, beloved brethren, that not pride, nor avarice, nor
impurity, nor any other vice ascends with Christ; for with the teacher
of humility pride ascends not, nor with the author of goodness,
malice, nor with the Son of the Virgin, impurity. Let us then ascend
with Him by trampling upon our vices and evil inclinations, thus
building a ladder by which we can ascend; for we make a ladder of our
sins to heaven when we tread them down in combating them:"

ASPIRATION O King of glory! O powerful Lord! who hast this day
ascended victoriously, above all heaven, leave us not as poor
orphans; but send us, from the Father, the Spirit of truth whom Thou
hast promised. Alleluia.

Why is the paschal candle extinguished after the gospel on this day?
To signify that Christ, of whom the candle is a figure, has gone from
His disciples.


And these signs shall follow them that believe.(Mark XVI. 17.)

What is a miracle?
A miracle, as defined by St. Thomas of Aquin, is anything beyond the
ordinary, fixed state of things that is done through God. Thus when
the sun stands still in his course, when thousands are fed with five
loaves and two small fishes, when by a word or simple touch the dead
are raised to life, the blind see, and the deaf hear, these are
things contrary to nature, and are miracles which can only be
performed by God or those persons to whom God has given the power.

That God can work miracles, cannot be denied. God has made the laws
of nature, and at any time it pleases Him, He can suddenly suspend
them, and that God has at times done so, we have more solid and
undeniable proofs, than we have for the most renowned and best
authenticated facts of history, far more witnesses testify to
miracles, the whole world has believed them, and been converted by
them; more than eleven millions of martyrs have died to confirm and
maintain their truth; no one gives up his life for lies and
deceptions; the Jews and pagans have admitted them, but ascribed them
to witchcraft and the power of demons rather than to God; by this they
proved and acknowledged the truth of miracles, because in order to
deny them, they were driven to false and absurd explanation of them.

Can men work miracles?
No; only God works miracles through man to whom He gives the power.
The history of the Christian Church in all ages bears testimony, that
men have wrought miracles in the name of Jesus, as, for example, the
apostles and the saints.

Can miracles be worked by the relics of saints, pictures, etc.?
The Church, in the Council of Trent, solemnly declares, that we are
never to believe that there is in any picture or relic any hidden
power by which a miracle can, be worked, and that we are not to honor
or ask any such thing of them. Therefore no miracle can ever be worked
by them, but God can perform miracles through them, and He has done
so, as the holy Scriptures and the history of the Church of Christ
both prove. But when through certain pictures (usually called
miraculous pictures) miracles do take place, that no deception may
occur, the Church commands that such a picture shall not be exposed
for the veneration of the faithful, until the truth of the miracles
performed is by a rigorous examination established beyond doubt; she
then causes such pictures to be respectfully preserved as monuments
of the goodness and omnipotence of God.

Why are there not so many miracles in our times as there were in the
first days of the Church?
Because the Church is no longer in need of such extraordinary
testimony to the truth of her teachings. Thus St. Augustine writes:
"He who in the face of the conversion of the world to Christianity
demands miracles, and strives to doubt those which have been wrought
in favor of this most wonderful change, is himself an astonishing
miracle of irrationality and stupidity;" and St. Chrysostom says:
"The question is sometimes asked: How happens it there are not so
many miracles now-a-days? The answer is, because the knowledge of
Christ is propagated all over the earth, and the Church is like a
tree which, having once taken deep root and grown to a certain
height, no longer needs to be carefully watered and supported."

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