Classically understood, education is not an occupation. It is a lifestyle. More exactly, it is the transmission of an entire way of life from one generation to the next. It is the formation of the mind and heart to become free and fertile ground into which may be planted the seeds of a common culture, the social virtue, which rightly disposes a person to their heritage and society, both the immediate society of their family and the state as a whole, and to their duty as members of that society. When understood in this light, it becomes manifestly absurd to expect any external institution to shoulder the entire responsibility of education. Not only is such a thing impossible (except in some socialist nightmare), but would we even desire it if it were? Would any responsible parent, understanding the true nature of education, simply relinquish their full rights and responsibilities to “experts” and “professionals,” whose standards and expectations are as varied and unknown to the parents--and sometimes as mechanical--as those of the factories that produce their computers and phones?
We know that the answer is no. Education forms an essential part of the rearing of a child, and is therefore primarily a duty of the parents themselves. It is itself part of the very basis in natural law for the permanence of the matrimonial bond and the primary end toward which the natural communion of life and work of the spouses is directed . Thus, the primary educators of a child must be the parents.
Of course, this is a very heavy responsibility and can at times even become a burden. It is for this reason that parents ought to seek out a community of like-minded people to aid them on this singularly difficult and important task. That community ought to include tutors, themselves dedicated to mastering the intellectual and moral traditions at the heart of their shared culture, to aid them in achieving their goal of firmly instilling the best aspects of that culture in their children. This is the reason for the founding of Saint John of the Cross Academy, a classical tutorship that facilitates the kind of community, bound together by a truly traditional Catholic culture, in which children receive an education worthy of the name.
The tutors of SJCA recognize their role and its importance, but they know that it is essentially a secondary and instrumental role. Thus, while they all have a total and lifetime commitment to the mastery necessary to be classical tutors, they also understand that their expertise does not in any way supersede the rights and responsibilities of parents. Tutors are instruments in the hands of the parents cultivating their children, and indeed the whole family. They dedicate their life not so much to an occupation, but to a work of mercy.
The tutors of SJCA, with this understanding of education and the role they play in it, have two primary responsibilities to the community: (1) to help the parents gain a more perfect understanding of the intellectual and moral traditions of their culture so that they can better transmit that culture to their children; (2) to tutor children directly throughout the years most formative of their rational powers, training them to master grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric (the three foundational artes liberales, or liberal arts) in the various areas of study and in accord with the best our tradition has to offer. The tutor does not strive for novel methods or to impress his own personality upon his pupils. Indeed, it is the great authors of the Western tradition who are the teachers, and it is their wisdom that informs all of the tutor’s methods. The tutor is doing his work well insofar as his pupils can think well about the ideas before them, focusing totally on the intellectual activity at hand rather than on the personality of the tutor. The ultimate end for the tutor himself is that the pupil will one day no longer need his guidance, as a child gradually learns to ride his bike without training wheels. For at the completion of his schooling, the pupil will have demonstrated his own mastery over the liberal arts. He is now free to pursue wisdom on his own, possessing the right rule of reason in his soul as a virtuous habit.
When it comes to contemporary education, especially of the Catholic variety, a common advertising tactic is to claim that the institution is “renewing” or “rebuilding” culture, or that it is “counter-cultural” in the sense that it is a bastion for a culture which is not in vogue. These are bold claims. Does SJCA make a similar claim? Is it the goal of SJCA to “renew” the culture? We must answer with a firm, if surprising “no.” This is not because we think that our culture does not need renewing and rebuilding. Rather, it is because we realize how absurd it would be for a single institution to claim for itself such a task. At this point, is it even possible for any merely human institution to do so? Only the pervading work of supernatural grace in and through the Church is powerful enough to bring about such a change. We all pray to be instruments, God willing, but surely this could only occur through our excellent attention to the task immediately before us. We must be “faithful in that which is least,” as Our Lord says, if we are to have any part in that which is great.
At this point, it would be useful to give an account of just what we mean by “culture.” Culture is a manifestation on a societal scale of excellence in the whole spectrum of rational behavior of mankind developed over multiple generations and informed by a common tradition. The relation of this word to “agriculture” is no accident and helps to illustrate our point. Just as agriculture is the art of disposing the field well to bring forth its latent perfection in a good crop, so human culture, through the fertilizing effects of tradition, disposes the hearts and minds of those who share it in common to bear the fruit of human perfection: the virtues.
Given this view of culture, it ought to be clear why SJCA has a much more modest goal than a wholescale renewal of culture. Our goal is simply to help parents educate their children into a tradition and culture that has proven to be the strongest and most fruitful culture in the history of the world, namely, Catholic culture. SJCA will not distract itself with grandiose plans of creating a new culture or converting the whole world. We choose instead to focus on the family in front of us, helping each member of the family to be as well formed as they can be into a culture more ancient and longer-lasting than anything devised through the machinations of men. If God decides to use this modest work to bring about a more general renewal, then we would certainly be grateful instruments. But as T.S. Eliot remarked, culture is something that comes about as a result of the members of a community simply pursuing true human excellence in their diverse activity. The minute the abstract “culture” becomes itself the aim of our action--one begins to wonder what the word means in such a context--, that is the same minute we cease to be active participants in culture. This is the path to becoming an ideologue, but not a cultured human being. We have plenty of the former, and not enough of the latter. Culture is virtuous precisely because it is a habit for concrete action in accord with human excellence, and it is gained, like other virtues, through the painstaking repetition of those actions. The tutors of SCJA accordingly have as their goal to help their pupils to gain the intellectual and moral formation which most disposes them to excellence in any genuinely human activity. Thus, while we do not take as our primary goal the “renewing of culture” at large, we see our work as an incredibly effective tool in the hands of families seeking excellence within their own lives. In turn, we may hope with the help of grace that this excellence may organically take root and bear fruit for generations to come. Only then will there be any sort of rebirth of culture. And if there is, it will be the cause of generations of families obeying the dictates of God, His creation, and the ancient customs those dictates inform. The tutors of SJCA, again, will have only been instruments.
Why is a classical tutorship particularly fitted for this goal? We believe that it is because it is the best way for children to be initiated into our ancient and common culture. Through the imitation of the great masters of the Western intellectual and spiritual tradition, children become habituated to think and desire along with those great models that laid the foundations of our civilization. Being steeped in the ancient traditions of the Roman Catholic Church, both in doctrine and practice, children find their place alongside “so great a cloud of witnesses,” and learn to think, pray, and worship, even in the unity of our sacred Latin tongue, with the Saints that have handed us this patrimony. Thus, a Catholic and classical education provides the intellectual and spiritual formation necessary to liberate people from the bondage of being a mere child of their age, and the ignorance that leads to mindless assimilation. They become part of something far deeper, far more human and real than any fad of modernity.
In this way, perhaps this kind of education may be called “counter-cultural,” but this is certainly not its essential characteristic. (We might even pray that the leaven of Catholic classical education would permeate to the point that no “counter-culture” was even necessary.) Indeed, if we are reflective about the current state of our world and the diseases that ail it, it would become clear that what we are dealing with is not simply an evil culture. Rather, we look in vain for signs of any culture at all. Tradition, the very lifeblood of culture, is nearly wholesale rejected. In the obsession with entertainment and self-gratification, true human virtue is choked out. Mediocrity rises to the top because it is not a threat, while magnanimity is labelled “arrogance,” “extremism,” or “bigotry.” In short, any true cultivation of human excellence is abandoned. What is left is barbarism covered with the veneer of technological sophistication, which has succeeded in giving our modern brand of barbarism ever more ways to express its brutality. But as we have seen, the essential characteristic of classical education is precisely human excellence, enabling human beings to reach out for the highest virtues of heart and mind. True human excellence, whether it is that of the farmer or the politician, is a free, deliberate, and rational excellence. So while a classical education may not claim to be itself the cause of culture or even of the renewal of culture, it is a necessary element in forming those who can make that claim in the future: generations of families properly formed in the best their tradition has to offer.
All of this provides the inspiration for the founding of SJCA and will inform every aspect of its life: its character as a classical tutorship rather than a modern school, its absolute emphasis on the family, its Four Marks of Tradition, Subsidiarity, Simplicity, and Contemplation as laid out in its Bylaws, its historic-classical curriculum, and even its yearly calendar, organized around the ancient liturgical calendar of Holy Mother Church. All of this is to ensure that the families and tutors of SJCA are thoroughly immersed in the life-giving flow of the traditions of Catholic culture, that with grace we all might be disposed to seek with Saint Augustine that “Beauty ever-ancient, ever new,” without Whom no heart could find rest.
 St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Sup. III, Q. 41, art. 1; also, Q. 67, art. 1: “By the intention of nature marriage is directed to the rearing of the offspring, not merely for a time, but throughout its whole life. Hence it is of natural law that parents should lay up for their children, and that children should be their parents' heirs (2 Corinthians 12:14). Therefore, since the offspring is the common good of husband and wife, the dictate of the natural law requires the latter to live together forever inseparably: and so the indissolubility of marriage is of natural law.”
 ibid, Q. 49, art. 2, ad 1
 T. S. Eliot, Notes Toward a Definition of Culture, pg. 109: “For the schools can transmit only a part, and they can only transmit this part effectively, if the outside influences, not only of family and environment, but of work and play, of newsprint and spectacles and entertainment and sport, are in harmony with them.”
 Luke 16:10
 T. S. Eliot, Notes Toward a Definition of Culture, pg. 17: “For if any definite conclusions emerge from this study, one of them is surely this, that culture is the one thing that we cannot deliberately aim at. It is the product of a variety of more or less harmonious activities, each pursued for its own sake: the artist must concentrate upon his canvas, the poet upon his typewriter, the civil servant upon the just settlement of particular problems as they present themselves upon his desk, each according to the situation in which he finds himself.”
 Hebrews 12:1
Our priest is turned toward the East (ad orientem). This ancient orientation goes back to the Apostles signifying that the priest is not only praying to God but also that the whole cosmos (i.e. the rising sun in the East) yearns for the return of Jesus Christ who will come again from the East. Breaking the closed circle, the priest orients all of us and our prayers toward God. In the Person of Christ (in Persona Christi), our priest has a great work/service (leitourgia) to perform:
Look at him, the priest with his back turned, with his face, his hands, his heart fixed on the mystery of faith--he disappears, to be replaced by Christ; he vanishes, and yet he is more himself than ever. . . . . he is the very agent and medium through which the Lord acts to unite, sanctify, and recapitulate all things in himself. (1)
Having commenced the Mass with the prayers at the foot of the altar, the priest moves to the epistle side--the right side of the altar from the people’s perspective (2). Signing himself with the cross he begins to pray the Introit that usually consists of a short antiphon from Scripture, a verse from the Psalms, a Gloria Patri, followed by the antiphon once again. The Introit is the “entrance” of the Mass of the Catechumen in which the Word of God prepares us for the Sacrifice of the Mass.
Because the Introit is one of the “propers” of the Mass, it will change to fit the commemoration of the day. This prayer sets the tone for the Mass--rejoicing, mourning, repenting, etc.--instructing us to share in the full experience of the Saints and Jesus Christ himself. For example, for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception we should rejoice because the Son has chosen his Mother:
“Rejoicing I will rejoice in the Lord and my soul shall exult in my God, because He has clad me with the garments of salvation, and has surrounded me with the vesture of gladness, like a bride adorned by her jewels.”
And the Psalm: “I will extol Thee, O Lord, for Thou hast upheld me: and hast not made my enemies to rejoice over me.”
Our dispositions should conform to the seasons and feasts presented to us in the Introit lest we think that this world is our home and that our own emotions should determine our actions and thoughts. For this reason, it is a good practice to be aware of the content of the Introit before Mass.
Whatever the particular emphasis of the Introit, awe of God’s holiness and justice should fill us, disposing us to humble ourselves unto contrition. Hence, the Mass swiftly moves from the Introit to the Kyrie in which we beg for God’s mercy. Now at the center of the altar, our priest begs God for His mercy a total of nine times, petitioning each of the Divine Persons three times (Kyrie Eleison). And we beg with him. Such repetitions not only place us in a posture of humility but also emphasize the Trinitarian nature of God in which the Persons are not only distinct but each indwell within in the Other in substantial union. It is also a reminder that the Sacrifice is to be offered to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
So too the Gloria in Excelsis Deo reinforces the primary purpose of the Mass: Glory to the Trinitarian God. Even our own salvation is subordinated to the glory of God. We give him thanks on account of his great glory (propter magnam gloriam tuam). We are saved so that He might be glorified in His creation. This is a hard but liberating truth.
Our priest kisses the altar before turning to the people: Dominus vobiscum. The server: Et cum spiritu tuo. He kisses the altar out of reverence for the Sacrifice that will be offered on this altar shortly. He prays for the presence of the Lord to be with us so that we might be ready for the Sacrifice(Dominus vobiscum), and we pray for him that he might be ready to offer this Sacrifice with clean hands and a pure heart (et cum spiritu tuo). Turning back to the Lord, he returns to his work/service (leitourgia) moving to the epistle side (the right side): Oremus.
Oremus: Let us pray. In the Collect, our priest collects the prayers of the faithful offering them to God. We pray with him uniting our prayers with the priest in the form of the feast or saint celebrated. For the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament the Collect reads:
“O God, who under a wonderful Sacrament has left us a memorial of Thy Passion, grant us, we beseech thee so to reverence the sacred mysteries of Thy Body and Blood that we may continually find the fruit of Thy Redemption in our souls..”
Even our petitions are molded by the commemorations of the Church lest we rely on our own fickle hearts.
The epistle taken from the Old or New Testament is read to serve the particular lesson that will come in the Gospel and, consequently, to magnify the works of Christ and the saints commemorated on that particular day. Let us thank God for his holy doctrine which saves: Deo Gratias.
Now let us observe the deacon or priest ascend the steps (gradus) while the Gradual is sung echoing the contents of the Introit. Then let us stand for the very words of our Lord signifying our readiness to follow wherever He may lead. St. Alphonsus Liguori also notes that the priest goes to the other side of the altar to signify that the Gospel has been accepted by the faithful while the Jews have refused to hear the Gospel--an exhortation for us to proclaim the Gospel to those who have stopped short in the Old Covenant.
Indicating the greatness of the proclamation of the Gospel, the priest prays:
“Almighty God who didst with a burning coal purify the lips of the Prophet Isaiah, cleanse also my heart and my lips of Thy merciful kindness vouchsafe to purify me that I may worthily announce Thy holy Gospel through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
Then crossing the text--as if to say: “This is the book of the crucified One”--and crossing himself three times (and so do we): “May the Lord be in my heart and on my lips that I may worthily and in a becoming manner announce His Gospel.”
The explanation of the Gospel in the homily is the end of the first part of the Mass, the Mass of the Catechumens (Missa Catechumenorum). The unbaptized must leave because their souls are not marked with the common priesthood that is necessary to be present at the Sacrifice to come in the second part of the Mass, the Mass of the Faithful (Missa Fidelium). Notice how the Mass slowly ascends to its center: the Sacrifice. Back to the Altar.
Let us rise for the great Symbol of the Faith, the key that opens the door to the Mass of the Faithful: the Nicene Creed. The recitation of the Creed is more than a sign of our intellectual assent; it is a sign of our full trust in the Persons of the Godhead, as the Latin makes clear (Credo in Deum. . . .). In the creed you and I should mean: I thrust my whole existence into God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Only such a firm resolution makes us worthy to enter into the Holy of Holies of the Altar.
St. Alphonsus Liguori exhorts us:
“While the priest is reciting the Symbol, we should renew our faith in all the mysteries and all the dogmas that the Church teaches. By the symbol was formerly understood a military sign, a mark by which many recognize one another, and are distinguished from one another: this at present distinguishes believers from unbelievers.”
We are ready to enter the Holy of Holies. May we orient our wills and intellects to the fourfold end of the Sacrifice: Adoration, Thanksgiving, Impetration, and Expiation.
1. Kwasniewski, Peter. Resurgent in the Midst of Crisis: Sacred Liturgy, the Traditional Latin Mass, and Renewal in the Church. Highly recommended!
2. In the 16th century Pope St. Pius V proclaimed that the sides of the altar should be labeled according to the perspective of the crucifix. In other words, the right side of the altar for the people would actually be called the left side, and the left side of the altar would actually be called the right side. In order to avoid confusion, I have labeled them according to the perspective of the people.
3. Much of the material for this post comes from M. Gavin, S.J., The Sacrifice of the Mass: An Explanation of its Doctrines, Rubrics, Prayers https://archive.org/stream/sacrificeofmass00gaviuoft#page/n0/mode/2up
The center of the Mass is the Sacrifice of the Altar: the Holy Eucharist. Before we reflect on the second movement of the Traditional Mass, I think that it would be beneficial for us to pause and reflect on the purpose of this Sacrifice so that we might rightly understand each movement of the Ancient Liturgy.
All movements, prayers, and deliberate moments of silence within the Traditional Mass exist for the sake of the Sacrifice. For this reason, our meditations and internal acts of piety throughout every part of the Mass, from the prayers at the foot of the altar to the Last Gospel, should be directed towards this Sacrifice offered to God. But why is this Sacrifice offered to God? In her authoritative Tradition the Church has taught that there are four reasons for which the Sacrifice is offered to God: 1) Adoration, 2) Expiation, 3) Thanksgiving, and 4) Impetration. With the aid of St. Alphonsus Liguori let’s briefly reflect on each one of these reasons for the Offering.
First, we offer the Eucharistic Sacrifice to adore and honor God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Because Jesus Christ offered himself in perfect love and obedience to God on the Altar of the Cross, we are now able to offer up what he himself offered, namely, his perfect Body and perfect Blood. Any other offering is an imperfect adoration of God.
This is no small point. The history of religion has demonstrated that man is unable to adore God in proportion to His perfect Holiness, perfect Goodness, perfect Justice, etc. Man is incapable of fulfilling his duty of religion if he is incapable of giving God his proper due. All of those bloody sacrifices of the Old Covenant and of the pagans were a vain attempt to offer God his proper due. In other words, man could establish no just act whereby he could acknowledge the Perfection of God.
The New Covenant overcomes this severe impotence. Through the Sacrifice of the Altar you and I are able to offer perfect adoration to God. We can finally say that we have a Sacrifice that is “fitting and just” (dignum et justum). We can finally rejoice in the fact that we mortals can fulfill our duty to adore Him. Thus, St. Alphonsus Liguori states: “My God, I adore Thy majesty. I would wish to honor Thee as much as Thou deservest; but what honor can I, a miserable sinner, give thee? I offer Thee the honor which Jesus renders to Thee on this altar.”
Second, the Sacrifice of the Eucharist is offered to God for the expiation of our sins. Because the Sacrifice on Calvary is the same Sacrifice that Christ himself offers in the Mass, the priest offers it to God as the complete satisfaction for man’s sins. Because he himself offered perfect love and obedience to God in the separation of his Blood from his Body on the Cross, the Sacrifice of the Altar has infinite value.
Even though the Victim and Priest of this Sacrifice has infinite worth and merit, the fruits of this Offering in regards to forgiveness of sins and of temporal punishments for sins are finite because they depend upon the disposition that we bring to the Mass. For this reason our dispositions are of prime importance when attending Mass. Therefore, St. Alphonsus helps us realize the proper disposition in this prayer during the Canon of the Mass: “Lord, I detest above every evil all the offences that I have given Thee: I am sorry for them above all things, and in satisfaction for them I offer Thy Son, who sacrifices himself for us on this altar, and through his merits I pray thee to pardon me, and to give me holy perseverance.”
Thirdly, just as man was incapable of offering proper adoration to God before the New Covenant, so was he incapable of giving proper thanksgiving to God. In ourselves we are incapable of offering Him the thanksgiving that he is owed. Because of this inherent impotence in man, it is we that suffer because we cannot do what our souls desire to do: to give perfect thanksgiving to God for who He is and what He has done. Through this Sacrifice alone are we able to offer a proportionate thanksgiving (eucharistia) to God for his Goodness. We can now say with St. Alphonsus: “Lord, I am unable to thank Thee; I offer Thee the blood of Jesus Christ in this Mass, and in all the Masses that are at this moment celebrated throughout the world.”
Finally, the Sacrifice is offered up for the sake of petition or impetration. When the Sacrifice of the Mass is offered to God we should make our petitions (impetrationes) made known to Him. It is through his perfect Sacrifice that our spiritual and temporal goods should be brought to the Giver of all good things. Thus from Communion to the end of the Mass St. Alphonsus states: “You will ask with confidence the graces that you need, and particularly sorrow for your sins, the gift of perseverance, and of the divine Love; and you will recommend to God, in a special manner, the persons with whom you live, your relatives, poor sinners, and the souls in purgatory.
If we wish to be active participants in the Mass, we should return to these four reasons for the Sacrifice of the Mass. When we forget why we are at Mass we need to remind ourselves that we are here to adore Him, we are here to offer Him thanksgiving, we are here to offer expiation for our sins, we are here to petition Him for His good things. And through the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ made present on the altar, we are able to do all of the above efficaciously.
But while reflecting and meditating on the Sacrifice as an Offering to God, we must not forget that it is a Sacrament of Charity and Gift to man whereby the Sacrifice redounds to us in perfect communion with Jesus Christ. For indeed the Eucharist is not only called the Sacrifice; it is also called Communion.
"Virga tua, et baculus tuus, ipsa me consolata sunt."
The Psalmist’s expression is as seed fallen upon a land worn out by overuse. How many times have we heard the Pastoral Psalm, the grave and hallowed lines, contraposing the extremes of the “green pasture” and the “valley of death.” Yet these lines are full of depth not often plumbed. Indeed, how did this Psalmist, who is made to lie down in green pastures, find himself in such a darkened valley? What is the green pasture then, that the memory of it (or the hope?) provides courage and peace in the midst of its very opposite? What is it but the peace of charity, the grace of connaturality with God which He deigns to give undeserved to us through the mediation of Christ? Only this can make the darkness of the valley of death pale in comparison to the vibrancy of our hope, to be with our Beloved, who leads us in our inmost being to that peace beyond our comprehension (Phil. 4:7).
But this Psalm has yet another paradox, perhaps more paradoxical for our time. I say “our time” because of a particular confusion which plagues it, namely, the divorced conceptions of mercy and justice. For mercy is thought of as the suspension and contradiction of the justice of the law, or the mere understanding and acceptance of the evil state of a man “for what it is,” without bringing to bear upon him the “weight” of the law. Yet the Psalmist, in this often cited and little attended to passage, declares: “Thy rod and thy staff, they have comforted me.” But what is a rod? It is an instrument of correction. It points out the narrow path and chastises he who strays from it; “For whom the Lord loveth, he chastiseth; and he scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” (Heb. 12:6; cf. Prov. 3:12). And what is a staff but a sign of the power to rule? It is the command of the Lord, the very law He gives which is a comfort to the Psalmist. For “the Lord is sweet and righteous; therefore He will give law to sinners in the way.” [Ps. 24 (25)]
The law itself is therefore a mercy, and the just punishment rendered upon a breach of the law is so also. No father is merciful who allows the transgressions of his son to go uncorrected. Uncorrected, the son will perish in the false and miserable “joy” of his sin. Chastised, the son might, through penance with charity, amend himself. The law is merciful because it points out the sin. For this reason, Holy Mother Church has always included among the spiritual acts of mercy to “admonish the sinner.”
“Thou hast prepared a table for me against them that afflict me” [Ps. 22 (23):5]. Herein lies the comfort of the rod and the staff of the Lord. For His law comforts first by providing the rule, then by waylaying the enemy. And this enemy is two-fold: “Who can understand sins? from my secret ones cleanse me, O Lord: And from those of others spare thy servant” [Ps. 18 (19):13-14]. But the law of God sets a table for us against them both. The sins of others are clearly indicated as sin and due for punishment by the law, and they are therefore kept far from us. Yet the more dangerous enemy, the secret sins of one’s own heart, are also revealed in the light of the law. Those sins which hide behind the disguise of the love of good things, of strident affection for the creatures of God--yet which of themselves would rather despise the Creator than lose creation--these sins are revealed not by any wit or insight in the deceitful heart of man, but by the contemplation of the law of the Lord alone. “For the heart is perverse above all things, and unsearchable; who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9). The Lord alone searches and judges the heart of man, and this by His law.
Thus, it is the law which is mercy to us; for without it, we are a complete enigma unknown even to ourselves. Only the rod and the staff of the Lord can provide the comfort of being truly known, inside and out, by the only just and merciful Judge, all of whose ways are both “mercy and truth” [Ps. 24 (25):10]. Thus, to pit justice against mercy is a nonsense. It does violence to the truth of God and His creation. Mercy without justice is nothing but candy-coated apathy, unbefitting of the consuming fire of the Love of God visible in the Crucified Lord. He pursues us, through the blood and bitter toil, through the violence of sin and death, not simply to pat us on the head and tell us we are “all right,” but to ransom us from the snare of the enemy (which, recall, is most especially our own self-willed bondage to sin) as our Champion and King, the true Bridegroom of our souls. The laws of God and his Church are therefore not opposed to mercy and joy, but are instead the very expressions of mercy in which the Psalmist rejoices:
“The law of the Lord is unspotted, converting souls: the testimony of the Lord is faithful, giving wisdom to little ones. The justices of the Lord are right, rejoicing hearts: the commandment of the Lord is lightsome, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is holy, enduring for ever and ever: the judgments of the Lord are true, justified in themselves. More to be desired than gold and many precious stones: and sweeter than honey and the honeycomb. For thy servant keepeth them, and in keeping them there is a great reward.” [Ps. 18 (19): 8-12]
Many of us are discouraged by the confusion left by the synod on the family. In the aftermath of the synod, many prelates are offering heretical doctrines as if the Deposit of Faith were open to debate. Some of us find ourselves asking why Pope Francis does not openly end the heretical musings of these men. We wonder why he does not oust the likes of Cardinals Kasper and Daneels.
Christ’s words to Peter in the synoptic Gospels might help us better understand the spiritual milieu in which the occupant of the Chair of Peter lives and governs. Let’s examine a few passages of our Lord’s words in order to understand the spiritual war that Pope Francis faces as the successor of Peter.
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.” (Luke 22:31-32)
Christ teaches us in the Gospel of Luke that Satan has personally requested to have Peter (Simon). He is on a particular mission to destroy the faith of Peter. Knowing that Peter has received the keys of the Kingdom as the chief leader of the Church, Satan strikes at the center to scatter the flock of Christ--he goes after the shepherd.
The Church understands that this passage is not only referring to the person Peter (Simon) but also to the successors of Peter. Christ is saying that this is how it will always be in the Church. Much like there will always be enmity between the Woman and the Serpent (Genesis 3:15), so too will Satan always seek to sift Peter. Until the end of the world Satan will plead to sift Peter in his successors. He is bent on destroying the faith of the occupant of the Chair of Peter.
Given the prophetic words of Christ, we are able to better understand why our present pope is surrounded by many prelates proposing heretical doctrines, conniving to implement their own agendas. Satan is doing whatever he can to destroy the faith of Peter by surrounding him with wicked men and much noise. He is attempting to sift Peter as wheat.
“Get thee behind me, Satan!” (Matthew 16:23)
So great is this intent to destroy the faith of Peter that Christ, right after handing the keys of the Kingdom to him, identifies Peter as Satan: “Get thee behind me, Satan!” To sit in the Chair of Peter comes with this terrible weight: Satan desires to make Peter his mouthpiece, even to identify himself as Peter. Where Peter is, there Satan desires to be--a demonic mockery of the early Church's dictum: "Where Peter is, there is the Church."
“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Matthew 16:18-19)
With the certainty of supernatural Faith we know that Peter will not formally teach heretical doctrines because the Holy Spirit will preserve the Church in truth until the end of the world. But this same promise of our Lord to Peter entails that the gates of Hell will attempt to lay waste the Office of St. Peter. Christ’s promise of indefectibility and infallibility is inseparable from the onslaught of demonic forces against the Barque of Peter.
Certainly the "gates of Hell will not prevail,” but such an assertion by our Lord entails that Hell's mission is to strike at the Church's center, the papacy. Because the Catholic Church is the one Church of Jesus Christ we must expect her center to be the magnetic pole to which all the forces of Hell are attracted. In fact, Christ’s declaration to Peter reveals to all of Hell where the demonic forces should strike. Just as Satan immediately tempted Christ after his baptism, so too Satan and Hell are ready to pounce on the one who had just received the keys of the Kingdom.
The growth of heresy and corruption within the Church even among her hierarchy is not a new phenomenon. The Church has faced this from the beginning--the Arian bishops of the 4th century and the 10th century papacy come to mind. These are major wounds inflicted on the Body of Christ throughout world history. As the Body of Christ, the Church will bear the scourging and thorns that her Head bore in his physical body while He was on earth. Just as Christ was betrayed by one of his disciples, just as he was denounced by His friends, so too the Bride of Christ is betrayed by even her own priests. Throughout the centuries the Church suffers the heretical opinions of her representatives “making up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ” (Colossians 1:24).
As members of the Catholic Church, we must suffer the blows that she suffers, bearing the scandals of these prelates in our flesh offering it up for the occupant of the Chair of Peter, Pope Francis. He must face Satan himself in a way that you and I do not have to face him. Satan desires to sift him as wheat; he desires to make Peter his mouthpiece.
Our Lord knowing the intentions of Satan prayed for Peter lest he and his successors teach false doctrine. Our prayers must be added to our Lord’s lest Satan draw even closer to Peter in these confusing times causing scandal to the world. Satan himself is set on it. Catholics have an obligation to assist our earthly shepherd through prayers and mortification.
“The Sacrifice of the Mass is the Sacrifice of the Cross itself; and in it we must see Our Lord nailed to the Cross; and offering up His Blood for our sins, to His Eternal Father...The Priest leaves the Sacristy, and goes to the Altar, there to offer up the Holy Sacrifice. He is clad in the sacred vestments, which are appointed for the celebration of the Sacrifice. Having reached the Altar, he makes due reverence before it” (Dom Gueranger, The Holy Mass)
The first post in this series laid out the six movements of the Traditional Latin Mass according to the Doctor of the Church, Saint Alphonsus Liguori. Keeping in mind that we as the laity ought to be participating in the Mass with our silent responses, and keeping in mind the dictum lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi (the law of prayer is the law of belief is the law of life), we will now turn our attention to the first movement of the mass.
The Prayers at the Foot of the Altar commence once the Priest genuflects and the server kneels on the Epistle side (to the right of the Priest). Neither dare to ascend the steps without first imploring God to “distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy” and to “send forth Thy light and Thy truth.” The sign of the Cross and the antiphon commence the prayers. Psalm 42 (Psalm 43 in the masoretic numbering) is then prayed between the Priest and the server, which ends with the lesser doxology (the Glory Be). At the end of the Psalm the antiphon is repeated and the Confiteor (I confess) begins shortly thereafter. Then the final prayers are spoken to God by the Priest with the server responding. This first movement ends with the Priest ascending the steps and preparing to say the Introit.
The Prayers at the Foot of the Altar:
Just before the priest enters the sanctuary and signs himself with holy water, he says, Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini (Our help is in the Name of the Lord), to which the server responds, Qui fecit caelum et terram (Who hath made heaven and earth). Thus, the very last act preceding the Mass is a call to God, who has authority over all creation. Venerable Fulton Sheen give us the following beautiful words to meditate upon as the Priest and server make their way to the foot of the altar:
“Picture then the High Priest Christ leaving the sacristy of heaven for the altar of Calvary. He has already put on the vestment of our human nature, the maniple of our suffering, the stole of priesthood, the chasuble of the Cross. Calvary is his cathedral; the rock of Calvary is the altar stone; the sun turning to red is the sanctuary lamp; Mary and John are the living side altars; the Host is His Body; the wine is His Blood. He is upright as Priest, yet He is prostrate as Victim. His Mass is about to begin”
In Nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti:
Then, the celebrants genuflect and kneel before either ascends the steps of the altar, and the priest begins the prayers: In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti. Amen, officially inaugurating the Mass with the sign of our salvation by making the sign of the cross (signum crucis) and invoking the one who alone has the authority to offer up the sacrifice. St. Alphonsus points out that a sacrifice is not possible unless the one who offers it is the one who has power over the life and death of the victim. This is why only the priest can affect the sacrifice of the Mass, since he alone has the authority as the one who is sacramentally in persona Christi (in the person of Christ). A man has the power to sacrifice animals, since he has dominion over the life and death of animals; but only God has the power to sacrifice God, since He alone has dominion over all things. Thus, the priest invokes the Trinitarian authority that he might “offer the sacrifice by the authority of the three Persons”.
Introibo Ad Altare Dei:
The priest then introduces the antiphon with the words, Introibo ad altare Dei (I will go in unto the altar of God), to which the server responds, Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam (To God, Who giveth joy to my youth).
Judica Me, Deus:
After the antiphon is pronounced, the priest begins with Psalm 42 . This Psalm opens with the following lines: Judica me, Deus, et discerne causam meam de gente non sancta: ab homine iniquo, et doloso erue me (Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy: deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man) . This prayer sets the Priest apart from the unjust who offend God in their lack of religion and belief. As we move forward, we will see that the Psalms chosen for the Mass rely heavily on the call to justice. This is fitting, since justice is that virtue which disposes man to habitually give back to each that which is rightfully his due, and the Mass is the height of justice between God and man, as it alone gives back to God that which is due to Him. With this in mind, the Priest petitions God to separate us from the unjust man; otherwise, we would be performing an act of justice (i.e., giving God that which is due Him in the perfect Sacrifice of His Son) as deceitful men who are ourselves not just. Thus, the Priest humbly ask God to “distinguish” him from the unjust so that his actions not be in discord with his person.
The rest of the Psalm 42 is recited by the Priest, with his server (who stands for the faithful present) responding. It then vacillates in a kind of internal struggle between God and the individual, who effaces himself in humble supplication. The first stanza asks why the soul is saddened “whilst the enemy afflicteth me,” with the second stanza retorting that the afflictions have “led me and brought me unto Thy holy hill, and into Thy tabernacles.” As we meditate on these words of King David, we begin to imitate the “man after God’s own heart” and properly dispose ourselves for the sacrifice of which the entire Mass is centered. It then ends with an invocation for the individual to take courage and “hope thou in God, for I will yet praise Him: Who is the salvation of my countenance, and my God” .
Gloria Patri (The Lesser Doxology)
Finally, the psalm concludes with what is called the “lesser doxology.” This doxology originates in the Gospel of Matthew 29:19, and reciting it at the end of every psalm is a custom that took root at least as early as the fourth century, starting with Pope Damasus . Thus, in the Traditional Latin Mass, Psalm 42 continues to be recited at the foot of the altar and concludes with the following doxology, keeping us grounded in the traditions of the Church and the Communion of Saints: Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto / Sicut erat in principio et nunc, et semper / et in saecula saeculorum. Amen (Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost / As it was in the beginning, is now / and ever shall be. Amen). The priest and the server then repeat the antiphon as they did at the start of the Psalm.
The priest and the server then proceed to successively recite the Confiteor. We quote the English in full to demonstrate how the Priest and all present rely on God, the prayers of Our Lady, and the communion of saints before entering into the Sacrifice of the Mass:
I CONFESS TO ALMIGHTY GOD, to blessed Mary ever Virgin, to blessed Michael the Archangel, to blessed John the Baptist, to the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, to all the Saints, and to you, Father, that I have sinned exceedingly, in thought, word and deed: through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault. Therefore I beseech blessed Mary ever Virgin, blessed Michael the Archangel, blessed John the Baptist, the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, all the Saints, and you, Father, to pray to the Lord our God for me.
Gueranger remarks that this prayer is itself a sacramental with the power to remove all venial sins if said with a contrite heart: “Thus it is, that God, in His Infinite Goodness, has provided us with other means, over and above the Sacraments of Penance, whereby we may be cleansed from our venial sins” . St. Alphonsus adds that, “affrighted by the grandeur of the act he is about to perform, and by the thought of his unworthiness, the priest asks God’s help in the name of Jesus Christ; and acknowledging himself guilty, he accuses himself of his sins, not only before God, but before the Blessed Virgin and all the saints, who on the last day with Jesus Christ, will pronounce judgment upon sinners” .
After the priest completes his confiteor, the server then begs God’s mercy upon him who is about to enter into the most sacred sacrifice, lest the anger of God be enkindled against him. Likewise, the server repeats the confiteor with the priest responding, “May Almighty God have mercy upon you, forgive you your sins, and bring you to life everlasting.” Although the partaking of the Holy Eucharist even once in faith is enough to merit for us eternal life, the priest petitions God on our behalf, that we may not receive Him with a dead faith, “eating and drinking judgment upon ourselves” . This is why the prayers at the foot of the altar end with the Priest and the minister continually asking God to pardon them and remit their sins.
The last dialogue between the priest, the minister who stands for all present, and God begins with the Indulgentiam and the sign of the cross, which is, as Gueranger says, a "blessing whereby the Priest asks, both for himself and his brethren, pardon and forgiveness of their sins...and uses the words nobis [the first person plural] and not vobis [second person plural], for he puts himself on an equality with his Ministers, and takes his share in the prayer that is said for all...He [then] says: Deus, tu conversus vivificabis nos (Thou, O God, with one look, wilt give us life); to which the server answers: Et plebs tua laetabitur in te (And thy people will rejoice in thee)" . These versicles, taken from Psalm 84, end with the Priest saying: Dominus vobiscum (The Lord be with you) and the server responding: Et cum spiritu tuo (and with your spirit).
At this point, Gueranger compares the Priest to Moses who takes leave of the people to enter into the cloud of mystery. In other words, the Priest’s last words before he calls us all to prayer are a kind of farewell to the people who are about to partake in the mystery of the sacrifice. When the Priest finally descends the altar to feed us again, he will not bear the stone tablets of Moses but the incarnate law made perfect in the flesh: Et Verbum caro factum est. The Priest then ends the prayers by saying Oremus (Let us pray). Finally, he ascends the Holy Mountain, the altar of sacrifice, which has won for us so great a salvation.
 This is from Sheen’s book Calvary and the Mass as quoted in Treasure and Tradition, which is an excellent guide to the Latin Mass that can be found here: http://staugustineacademypress.com/epages/b9279dcf-f5d4-4322-8442-90642f0120ca.sf/en_US/?ObjectPath=/Shops/b9279dcf-f5d4-4322-8442-90642f0120ca/Products/639366
 It should be noted that singing and praying the psalms are acts that are exhorted many times in Sacred Scripture, for example, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you abundantly, in all wisdom: teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual canticles, singing in grace in your hearts to God” (Col 3:16).
 Being distinguished from the “deceitful man” is a common theme in the Psalms and is fitting for this part in the Mass, since we are about to approach Truth Himself: “Domine, libera animam meam a labio inquo, a lingua dolosa” (O Lord, free my soul from lying lips and a deceitful tongue) Psalm 119
 St. Alphonsus points out that it has been a custom of the Church to recite this psalm at the foot of the altar since at least the 7th century: “Innocent III attests that the recitation before Mass of the psalm Judica me was the custom of...the twelfth century; and Cardinal Lambertini, afterwards Benedict XIV, assures us that it was recited before the eighth century” (The Holy Eucharist, 29).
 “It was Pope St. Damasus who ordained that each psalm should be concluded in this manner. It is, however, believed that the Gloria Patri was introduced by the Council of Nice [i.e., Nicea], or, as we are told by Baronius and St. Basil, even by the Apostles, The Council of Nice having added only these words, Sicut erat, etc” (The Holy Eucharist, 29).
The Encyclopedia of Britannica admits that the lesser doxology takes its origin from Matthew 19 and also states that, while some authorities have concluded that Nicea added the sicut erat, it cannot be substantiated (Encyclopedia of Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and General Literature. Vol. 7, p. 384). However, it does seem likely that a form of the lesser doxology would have been mentioned around that time, since the Arians tried to authorize the following ambiguous form: “Glory be to the Father, by the Son, and by the Holy Ghost.” Their thinking was to change the preposition from ‘to’ to ‘by’ so as to interpret it according to the teachings of the fourth century heretic, Arius, who taught that only the Father was eternal and essentially God; the Son was merely the greatest created being and not God himself. In this we see demonstrated the great power of Lex orandi, Lex credendi, Lex vivendi (i.e., the law of prayer is the law of belief is the law of life)
 The Holy Mass, 5
 The Holy Eucharist, 29
 “Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself...for he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord. Therefore there are many infirm and weak among you, and many sleep” (1 Corinthians 11:27-30)
 The Holy Mass, 8
As many already know, Pope Benedict XVI, in his Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, has unambiguously clarified that any stable group of faithful Catholics desiring the Traditional Latin Mass is not only allowed to participate in it, but has always been allowed from time immemorial . With this in mind, we would like to aid those desiring to participate in the Traditional Mass (in relation to Low Mass) by systematically outlining its parts and briefly commenting on the reasons for each. Since we are in no way competent enough to talk about such ancient and sacred things, we will turn our attention to those who are. The main guides for our tour of the Traditional Mass will be Alphonsus de Liguori, who is both a saint and doctor of the Church, and Venerable Dom Prosper Gueranger, who is known for reviving the Benedictine orders after the French Revolution in France . In St. Alphonsus’ book The Holy Eucharist, he breaks down the Mass into two parts, which are further broken up into six distinct movements. After the present entry, we will expound upon the first of these movements, with the subsequent parts to follow in successive installments.
First, a brief outline of the Mass in its entirety is in order. There are two major movements in the Mass. The first is The Mass of the Catechumens, which lasts from the prayers at the foot of the altar to the Creed. The second is The Mass of the Faithful, which begins with the Offertory and ends with the Last Gospel. It is within these two major parts of the Mass that St. Alphonsus identified the following six minor movements :
A) The Mass of the Catechumens
1) The Prayers at the Foot of the Altar
2) The Introit to the Credo (which includes the homily)
B) The Mass of the Faithful
3) The Offertory to the Preface (which includes and ends with the Sanctus)
4) The Canon to the Pater Noster (which includes the Consecration)
5) The Breaking of the Bread to Communion (which includes the Agnus Dei)
6) The Thanksgiving to the Last Gospel
With these movements of the Mass in mind, we will begin this series in our next post starting with the prayers at the foot of the altar. Until then it will be profitable to meditate upon the words of Rev. James Luke Meagher on the importance of ceremony and liturgy: “And this is written deep in the nature of man: We must have sensible signs and figures, for we are partly spiritual and partly corporal...And the truths of religion are spiritual, and the rites and ceremonies are corporal; yet as the soul is contained in the body, so the truths of religion are contained in the rites and ceremonies of the Church...show me a religion without rites and ceremonies, and I will show you a people drifting rapidly toward infidelity and the denial of all religion”.
 “As for the use of the 1962 Missal as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgy of the Mass, I would like to draw attention to the fact that this Missal was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted.” http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/letters/2007/documents/hf_ben-xvi_let_20070707_lettera-vescovi.html
 You can read more about the fascinating lives of these two holy men here:
St. Alphonsus Ligoure: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01334a.htm
Venerable Dom Prosper Gueranger: http://www.crisismagazine.com/2014/ven-prosper-gueranger-refounding-solesmes
 For those of you who would like an excellent and affordable traditional missal with the Latin and English side by side, you can find a copy of it here: http://www.ecclesiadei.org/Booklet%20Missals.htm. And if you would like a copy of the entire 1962 Missal, you can find it here: https://www.baroniuspress.com/book.php?wid=56&bid=4#tab=tab-1
 As quoted in Treasure and Tradition: The Ultimate Guide to the Latin Mass
Alasdair MacIntyre has pointed out that the barbarians are no longer vying for the seat of power, they “have already been governing us for quite some time.” With this historical fact taken for granted, it will be profitable to elaborate on the meaning of what Rod Dreher (in the spirit of MacIntyre) has coined the “Benedict Option,” correct a few misconceptions surrounding this option, and then end with a defense for its necessity.
The purpose of the Benedict Option is twofold and can be summed up by the words of St. Paul to the Thessalonians when he exhorts them to strive for holiness: "For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like heathen who do not know God; …For God has not called us for uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you…But we exhort you brethren…to aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we charged you; so that you may command the respect of outsiders, and be dependent on nobody" (1 Thess 4:3-12)
While this succinctly describes the purpose of the Benedict Option—to put God first without “disregard” and to obtain holiness—it does not make clear how one ought to proceed from here; although it does leave hints, one of which is found in the last part of the verse. When St. Paul tells us to “work quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands” he is giving us an idea as to how we ought to go about accomplishing the previous exhortation to “abstain from immorality” and to control our “own body in holiness and honor.” If working quietly and with our hands is the way to do this, then we can conclude at least one thing about the Benedict Option: there will have to be some distance between us and the noise of the world. Without this distance, the quiet that we ought to seek cannot be had.
This necessary distance has both a literal and metaphorical sense: First, distance must include a literal geographical distance (one cannot escape the smoke of a burning house unless one physically leaves the premises). Second, the distance we seek will have to be one that allows us to be independent of the modern ethos (i.e., “be dependent on nobody”). The former can be obtained by our own hands. The latter will demand a reorientation of the whole person, which can only be attained by right worship. And this of course is the ultimate end of the Benedict Option—to first glorify God in worship, and secondly, to obtain holiness in so doing.
While this option is a movement away from the ethos of modern culture and toward a deeper worship of God, it does not mean that we must all drop completely out of society, move to the desert, and let our political structures remain in the hands of the Church’s enemies without a fight. The Benedict Option is not the logical conclusion to the religion of Timothy Leary; it is not a “dropping out;” it is a means to spiritual integrity and the worship of God.
While the option is not a total seclusion, it does however hold that in a society so corrupt and ungrounded in any kind of transcendent moral system (apart from unbridled individualism), one must place oneself at a distance. In an atmosphere where the icons are half naked Disney princesses, the “leaders” are all but professed enemies of the traditional teachings of Christ and His Church (a profession would make things a lot easier), and Catholic education has fallen into the tyranny of entertainment, there must be some kind of separation.
Aristotle, in his Rhetoric, makes the point that pleasure is “a movement by which the soul as a whole is consciously brought into its normal state of being.” (Bk. I, ch. 11) The soul finds pleasant whatever leads it back to its normal state, which is a kind of rest from toil. Thus, Aristotle lays down the following rule: It must be pleasant to move towards a natural state of being.
This makes good sense and explains much of our common experience, like the fact that food is always more delicious to the more hungry man. The more drastically we move to a state of natural rest and away from the opposite, the more pleasant is that movement. This situation is complicated, however, by another bit of common experience. We often take great pleasure in things that are harmful to us objectively in that they do violence to our nature and destroy or severely impair our natural faculties. Think, for example, of an addict. For a soul in this state, it is very clear that a move back toward its natural state is painful rather than pleasant.
Some might at this point simply abandon Aristotle’s insight. This move would be premature. For Aristotle himself provides the key to understanding the above situation: “Habits also are pleasant; for as a thing has become habitual, it is virtually natural.” (ibid) We are used to calling habits “second nature.” When a person is habituated to a certain action, then to act in accord with the habit is akin to acting in accord with his nature. If a habit is itself contrary to nature, then it will be the case that acting in accord with nature is painful.
But how are such habits developed? Typically, habits develop from repeated action. Actions themselves are carried out with motives, among which is found pleasure. Man, as an animal, finds himself equipped with a sensible appetite that takes pleasure in the possession of all the goods of his survival, preservation, propagation, and assertion. As a rational animal, it falls to his faculty of reason, rather than instinct, to moderate these desires. When man acts upon these appetites for sensual pleasures without the voluntary moderation of reason, he develops habits which are un-ruled by reason; that is, habits of acting against his own rational nature.
The feast of Saints Simon and Jude is celebrated on October 28. Both saints are among the twelve apostles.
Simon is normally called “the Zealot” to distinguish him from Saint Peter. Most of the then known world claimed that Simon preached the Gospel to them. However, it is generally believed that he preached in Persia and Babylonia. Saint Simon was martyred in the first century. He is frequently depicted with a saw as it is believed he was hacked to pieces.
Saint Jude, also called Thaddeus, was the brother of James the Lesser. He is credited with the Epistle of Saint Jude. It is believed that he preached in Palestine, where he was martyred in the first century. Saint Jude is the patron saint of impossible causes.
The liturgical prayers for the feast of Saints Simon and Jude highlight their role as apostles:
Sancti Simon et Thaddaee, orate pro nobis!
This post was written by Kirsten Fontenot, an SJCA pupil in the Rhetoric Stage of her curiculum.
The authors of this blog are the tutors of Saint John of the Cross Academy: