Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Ave Maria!

Sunday with the Octave of Ascension Thursday—16 May A.D. 2010


“Caste all your care upon Him, for he hath care of you. The God of all grace, who hath called us into His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little, will Himself perfect you, and confirm you, and establish you.”[1]

Our Lady Queen of the Apostles

Ordinary of the Mass
Sunday Mass Text - Latin
Sunday Mass Text - English



    During the past few months I have received mail and had some in person conversations with a number of people who have gone beyond concern to anger or depression over the state of our society in recent years.  By “society” I mean both Church and State, for anyone who is awake has noticed cataclysmic shifts in both.  On some level this increased awareness is a good sign, for not too long ago many people showed no interest in Church or State, and wanted to think of nothing more complex than football or baseball or whatever happened to be in season at the time.  In order to put this new found anxiety into perspective, I will read a very few more verses of the Gospel than what you will find in your missal today.  Indeed, as I have done before, I would suggest that Catholics ought to read Saint John’s entire account of the Last Supper, at least once a year.  That would be from the last half of the twelfth chapter through the seventeenth.[2]  But first, here is the Epistle for this Sunday within the Octave of the Ascension, as it appears in your missals:

Epistle 1 Peter iv: 7-11
A reading from the epistle of blessed Peter the Apostle:

    Dearly beloved: Be prudent and watchful in prayer. But above all things have a constant mutual charity among yourselves; for charity covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable toward one another without murmuring. According to the gift that each has received, minister to one another as good stewards of the manifold gifts of God. If anyone speaks let it be with the words of God. If anyone ministers, let it be as from the strength that God furnishes; that in all things God may be honored through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Gospel: John xv: (16) 26-27; xvi: 1-4
The continuation of the holy Gospel according to John:

    At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: “You have not chosen me: but I have chosen you; and have appointed you, that you should go, and should bring forth fruit; and your fruit should remain: that whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.  These things I command you, that you love one another.  If the world hate you, know ye, that it hath hated me before you.  If you had been of the world, the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.  Remember my word that I said to you: The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you: if they have kept my word, they will keep yours also.  But all these things they will do to you for my name's sake: because they know not him who sent me.  If I had not come, and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. He that hateth me, hateth my Father also.  If I had not done among them the works that no other man hath done, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated both me and my Father.  But that the word may be fulfilled which is written in their law: They hated me without cause. When the Advocate has come, whom I will send you from the Father, He will bear witness concerning Me. And you also will bear witness because from the beginning you are with Me. These things I have spoken that you may not be scandalized. They will expel you from the synagogues. Yes, the hour is coming for anyone who kills you to think that he is offering worship to God. And these things they will do because they have not known the Father nor Me. But these things I have spoken to you, that when the time for them comes you may remember that I told you.

    My point in reading the extra verses from Saint John’s Gospel is that “everything we see is what our Lord predicted.”  Our Lord knew quite well that there would always be an estrangement between the “people of the world” and the “people of God.”  No matter how many signs and miracles our Lord worked while on this Earth, there would still be people who hated Him because they hated His Father in Heaven.   There would always be stiff‑necked people who wanted to do as they pleased—people who wanted to create their own morality without regard to the eternal will of the Father—people who thought that they could somehow warp reality itself—people who “will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears:  And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned aside unto fables.”[3]

    Such people would be found not only among the conquering Romans, but also among the ruling class of God’s Temple in Jerusalem.  No matter how much good our Lord did for the people of Palestine, it was inevitable that many of them would return hatred for good.  Men of falsehood would rise up to punish Him for the crime of speaking the truth.

    But, please understand, in today’s Gospel our Lord was not talking about Himself—at least not primarily—He spoke to prepare the Apostles and future generations of Catholics for the reality that they too would be hated insofar as they were faithful to His teachings.  The world would always have its Caiphas (the High Priest that year) willing to betray the followers of Christ to Pontius Pilate.  “They will expel you from the synagogues. Yes, the hour is coming for anyone who kills you to think that he is offering worship to God. And these things they will do because they have not known the Father nor Me.[4]

    Pope Saint Pius X is said to have quizzed a group of seminarians studying in Rome as to how the Church might be identified. They all responded with the traditional four “marks,” from the Nicene Creed (the Church is One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic) but Pope Pius demanded another. One bright student added that “the Church must be Roman.” Another quickly added, “and loyal to the Popes.” The Saint smiled, perhaps condescendingly. “Yes, of course, to both the good ones and the bad ones, but what else.” No hands were raised. The Pontiff himself supplied the answer: “The Church is Persecuted.”[5]

    Our Lord expressed the same idea in Saint Matthew’s Gospel:  “And you shall be hated by all men for my name's sake: but he that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved.  And when they shall persecute you in this city, flee into another. Amen I say to you, you shall not finish all the cities of Israel, till the Son of man come.  The disciple is not above the master, nor the servant above his lord.”[6]

    “He that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved.”  Okay, but how are we to persevere in the midst of such confusion as we face in the twenty-first century?

    Well, first of all, “persevere” means keeping our Catholic Faith intact, in spite of any temptation to abandon it.  Faith is a theological virtue, bestowed upon our souls with Sanctifying Grace, the supernatural life of the soul—a free gift from God to those who don’t oppose His effort to bestow it.  Sanctifying Grace, in turn, is something we receive through prayer, the sacraments, and attendance at Holy Mass.  Sanctifying Grace is something we lose—or, rather, throw away—when we commit serious sin.  So, our first line of perseverance is frequent attention to the Mass, the Sacraments, and to prayer.  Catholics concerned about the state of society in the modern world ought to be dedicated to daily prayer and to frequent, and even daily, Holy Communion.  If we sin, we ought to be restored to Grace by making a Sacramental Confession at the first opportunity.

    As far as prayer is concerned, the Rosary is the fundamental private prayer of Catholics.  It is more than the repetition of a lot of “Hail Marys,” for the prayers should always be accompanied by meditation on the mysteries—the events in the lives of our Lord and Lady that are central to our salvation.  We direct our prayers to the Blessed Virgin as Refuge of sinners, Comforter of the afflicted, and Help of Christians.  If you are not currently praying the Rosary each day, now is the time to consider doing so.  Reserve five minutes of each morning and evening to say the first and last decade—be alert for opportunities to pray the intervening decades during the day—perhaps while sitting in traffic, or while standing on line at the supermarket—there are very few of us who don’t have such opportunities.

    You can pray the Rosary on your fingers—that is why we have ten of them.  You can even pray the Rosary under water.  In times of persecution it is the tie that binds Catholics to God and to each other, even when there is no church, no priest, and no Mass.

    Pray for your personal holiness and for your family.  But also pray for the Church and the Republic.  Ask God to guide the Pope and the clergy, as well as guiding those in Civil authority.

    If we are trying to persevere in the Catholic Faith, then it is imperative that we actually know Its teachings.  One cannot believe what one does not know!  We have a few excellent books in our library—you has to take the time to read them, but apart from prayer and attending Mass, there are very few better ways to spend your time.  Father Francis Ripley’s This is the Faith is on the shelves either to buy or to borrow.  We have copies of The Popes against Modern Errors for sale, and I plan to donate my personal copy to the lending library—it is particularly good for those trying to understand where modern society has gone wrong over the past hundred years or so.  The Church Teaches is good for those who want to go back to the source documents—we have it to loan or sell.  Whatever—do try to develop the habit of Catholic reading.

    Finally let us not lose sight of the Commandment given by our Lord in today’s Gospel, that in the midst of the hatred of the world, we must “love one another.”  We must maintain what Saint Peter described as a “constant mutual charity among [our]selves; for charity covers a multitude of sins.”  Charity covers a multitude of sins, and, in time of difficulty it is always good to know that you have friends you can depend upon.

“Caste all your care upon Him, for he hath care of you.  The God of all grace, who hath called us into His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little, will Himself perfect you, and confirm you, and establish you.”

[1]   1 Peter v: 7, 10

[3]   2 Timothy iv: 3 &4

[4]   Gospel, ibid.

[6]   Matthew x: 22-24,



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