Ordinary of the Mass
Today's Mass text - Latin
Today's Mass text - English
In a brief titled Néminem fugit,
June 14, 1892, Leo XIII instituted this feast of the Holy Family, which was
first celebrated in 1893.
Pope Benedict XV extended the feast to the entire Catholic Church a few years
later. In his brief and in the celebration of this feast, Pope Leo urged
Christians to recognize the importance of the family as the building block of
society, and urged all members of families to look to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph as
the perfect exemplars of family life.
To all fathers of families, Joseph is
truly the best model of paternal vigilance and care. In the most holy
Virgin Mother of God, mothers may find an excellent example of love,
modesty, resignation of spirit, and the perfecting of faith. And in
Jesus, who was subject to his parents, the children of the family have a
divine pattern of obedience which they can admire, reverence, and
Pope Leo was born in 1810, and lived
through one of the most turbulent centuries of modern times. The upheavals he
witnessed brought great distress to two institutions central to the life of the
Catholic Church—the priesthood and the family.
The industrial revolution was still in
progress during Pope Leo’s younger days. Heretofore, the bulk of the population
lived on farms, where buildings could be spacious and children were considered a
blessing to the family farming effort. In the industrial cities, living space
was expensive and cramped. Many couples sought ways to avoid having children,
while others exploited their children with long hours in often dangerous factory
work. Socialism and class struggle sought to address the grievances of
industrial workers—sometimes real grievances, but oftentimes nothing more than
envy of the factory owners. Latin America and Europe in the nineteenth century
were filled with Masonic and socialist revolutions—some successful and some
not. The revolutions took the industrialists, the Church, and the monarchy to
task—falsely claiming to champion the “brotherhood of man,” and claiming that
such “brotherhood” could be achieved only with the demise of capital, religion,
In many countries the powers of the
Church and Its families were usurped by the government. Secular governments
arrogated control over marriage and education. Schools were to be government
run, and even seminaries had to follow government approved curricula. Children
were considered to a resource of the government rather than members of
families. Marriage was reduced to the level of a civil contract, subject to
nullification by the civil authorities. In some places, the religious orders
were suppressed by government edict, with their properties being sold to line
the pockets of the secular elites. Where the orders remained, the government
sought to exercise control over entry into the solemn vows of religion, and the
properties which an order might acquire. Pope Leo’s predecessor, Pope Pius IX,
issued a whole “grocery list” condemning the errors of the modern
secularists—dealing more with abuses of power than with the intellectual errors
that would later be condemned by Pope Pius X.
Today, we live roughly a century after
Popes Leo XIII and Pius X. With the benefit of hindsight we are beginning to
understand more clearly that governmental abuse of power is intimately tied to
disorders of the intellect. The disordered intellect makes secular government
possible, and governments respond by protecting and rewarding disordered belief.
There can be no doubt that homosexuality
and adultery existed during the time of Pope Leo XIII—they go back to the Bible
and beyond. But most people in Leo’s time knew these things were wrong and
tried to keep their sins secret. But today, disordered belief and sinful
behavior have become the norm—and governments are prepared to punish any who
object. New York City, for example, just announced quarter million dollar fines
for anyone who discriminates against perversion—even the failure to address
someone by their preferred pronoun is an offence!
Civil officials are in fear of the loss of their jobs if they refuse to conduct
biologically impossible faux “marriages.”
The disorder is so great that not only are men trying to become women and women
become men, but, indeed there are folks claiming that one may simply choose
one’s gender without regard to biological reality—and that one may choose from
over four dozen different genders!
There are even a few that have tried to become another species—one fellow
altering himself to look like a tiger, and another trying to mutilate himself
into a bird!
Around the time of Pope Leo XIII, the
great American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote in a poem that
“whom the gods would destroy,
they first make mad.”
The “gods” of secularism have done a good job of that.
So, if there was ever a time for prayer
to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph … If there was ever a need to emulate them in our own
families …that time is now. Let us pray:
O Lord Jesus Christ, who when Thou wast subject to Mary
and Joseph didst sanctify home life with ineffable virtues: grant that
by their assistance, we may be instructed by the example of Thine Holy
Family and become partakers of their eternal happiness.
Thou live and reign with the Father and the Holy Ghost,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.