"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, August 6, 2012

Feast of the Transfiguration


Collect of the Day: The Transfiguration

The Transfiguration by Paolo Veronese, 1556

The Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Thy lightnings enlightened the world: the earth shook and trembled. How lovely are Thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! my soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of the Lord.

(From the introit of the day's Mass, Ps. 76. 19; 83. 2, 3)

The Transfiguration by Raffaello Sanzio, 1518

Collect of the Day
Deus, qui fídei sacraménta in Unigéniti tui gloriósa Transfiguratióne patrum testimónio roborásti, et adoptiónem filiórum perféctam, voce delápsa in nube lúcida, mirabíliter præsignásti: concéde propítius; ut ipsíus Regis glóriæ nos coherédes effícias, et ejúsdem glóriæ tríbuas esse consórtes. Per eúmdem Dóminum...

O God, who in the glorius Transfiguration of Thine only-begotten Son didst confirm the Mysteries of the faith by the witness of the fathers, and in the voice which came down from the shining cloud, didst wondrously foreshow the perfect adoption of sons: vouchsafe in Thy loving kindness, to make us coheirs with this King of glory, and to grant that we may be made partakers of that same glory. Through...

Epistle - 2 Peter, 1. 16-19 / Gospel - St. Matthew, 17. 1-9

The Transfiguration of Christ by Pietro Perugino, 1498


OUR divine Redeemer, being in Galilee about a year before His sacred Passion, took with Him St. Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, Sts. James and John, and led them to a retired mountain. Tradition assures us that this was Mount Thabor, which is exceedingly high and beautiful, and was anciently covered with green trees and shrubs, and was very fruitful. It rises something like a sugar-loaf, in a vast plain in the middle of Galilee. This was the place in which the Man-God appeared in His glory. Whilst Jesus prayed, He suffered that glory which was always due to His sacred humility, and of which, for our sake, He deprived it, to diffuse a ray over His whole body. His face was altered and shone as the sun, and His garments became white as snow. Moses and Elias were seen by the three apostles in His company on this occasion, and were heard discoursing with Him of the death which He was to suffer in Jerusalem. The three apostles were wonderfully delighted with this glorious vision, and St. Peter cried out to Christ, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. Let us make three tents: one for Thee, one for Moses, and one for Elias" Whilst St. Peter was speaking, there came, on a sudden, a bright shining cloud from heaven, an emblem of the presence of God's majesty, and from out of this cloud was heard a voice which said, "This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him" The apostles that were present, upon hearing this voice, were seized with a sudden fear, and fell upon the ground; but Jesus, going to them, touched them, and bade them to rise. They immediately did so, and saw no one but Jesus standing in his ordinary state. This vision happened in the night. As they went down the mountain early the next morning, Jesus bade them not to tell any one what they had seen till He should be risen from the dead.

Reflection.—From the contemplation of this glorious mystery we ought to conceive a true idea of future happiness; if this once possess our souls, we will think nothing of any difficulties or labors we can meet with here, but regard with great indifference all the goods and evils of this life, provided we can but secure our portion in the kingdom of God's glory.

The Transfiguration by Cristofano Gherardi, 1555


Commemoration of St. Sixtus II Pope, Martyr and Ss. Felicissimus and Agapitus Martyrs

Deus, qui nos concédis sanctórum Mártyrum tuórum Xysti, Felicissimi et Agapíti natalícia cólere: da nobis in ætérna beatitúdine de eórum societáte gaudére. Per Dóminum nostrum...

O God, who dost permit us to celebrate the heavenly birthday of Thy holy Martyrs Sixtus, Felicissimus and Agapitus: grant that we may rejoice in their fellowship in everlasting bliss. Through our Lord Jesus Christ...

St. Sixtus II by Sandro Botticelli (Sistine Chapel), 1481

From The Liturgical Year by Dom Guéranger, O.S.B.

“Xistum in cimiterio animadversum sciatic octavo iduum augustarum die. Know that Sxtus has been beheaded in the cemetery on the eighth of the Ides of August.” These words of St. Cyprian mark the opening of a glorious period, both for the cycle and for the history. From this day to the feast of St. Cyprian himself, taking in that of the deacon Laurence, how many holocausts in a few weeks does the earth offer to the most high God! One would think that the Church, on the feast of our Lord’s Transfiguration, was impatient to join her testimony as Bride to that of the prophets, of the apostles, and of God Himself. Heaven proclaims Him well-beloved, the earth also declares its love for Him: the testimony of blood and of every sort of heroism is the sublime echo awakened by the Father’s voice through all the valleys of our lowly earth, to be prolonged throughout all ages.

Let us, then, today salute this noble pontiff, the first to go down into the arena opened wide by Valerian to all the soldiers of Christ. Among the brave leaders who, from Peter down to Melchiades, have headed the struggle whereby Rome was both vanquished and saved, none is more illustrious as a martyr. He was seized in the catacomb lying to the left of the Appian Way, in the very chair wherein, in spite of the recent edicts, he was presiding over the assembly of the brethren; and after the sentence had been pronounced by the judge, he was brought back to the sacred crypt. There in that same chair, in the midst of the martyrs sleeping in the surrounding tombs their sleep of peace, the good and peaceful pontiff received the stroke of death. Of the seven deacons of the Roman Church six died with him; Laurence alone was left, inconsolable at having this time missed the palm, but trusting in the invitation given him to be at the heavenly altar in three days’ time.

Two of the pontiff’s deacons were buried in the cemetery of Prætextatus, where the sublime scene hand taken place. Sixtus and his blood-stained chair were carried to the other side of the Appian Way into the crypt of the Popes, where they remained for long centuries an object of veneration to pilgrims. When Damasus, in the days of peace, adorned the tombs of the saints with his beautiful inscriptions, the entire cemetery of Callixtus, which includes the burial-place of the Popes, received the title “of Cæcilia and of Sixtus,” two glorious names inscribed by Rome upon the venerable diptychs of the Mass. Twice over on this day did the holy Sacrifice summon the Christians to honour, at each side of the principal way to the Eternal City, the triumphant victims of the eighth of the Ides of August.



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