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Video: Latin Mass for the Sacred Heart

Have you ever see a Latin Mass? Here's a nice video of the Latin Mass for the Sacred Heart. Observe the following three elements:

The preciseness of the priest's movements
The reverence
The silent canon (the priest says the words of consecration silently).

This last feature, as my friend Steven Nelson observed, hearkens back to the prophecies of the Old Testament:

"But the Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him." (Hab 2:20)

Humble silence can be the greatest form of worship. For details, see the Blessed Mother under the cross of the Son of God.
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Bishop, Priest, and Deacon - What do these words mean?

St Sixtus II (bishop) ordains St Lawrence (deacon)

Bishop, Priest, and Deacon - What do these words mean? All three come from Greek words and derive from the Greek New Testament.

Bishop comes from the Greek word episkopos, meaning "overseer." The prefix "epi-" means "upon" and "scopus" means "to see," like a scope or a telescope. The word came into Latin as episcopus and then into English as piscop. The "p" turned into a "b" and that gave us "biscop" or "bishop."

episkopos > episcopus > piscop > biscop > bishop

Priest comes from the Greek word presbyteros, meaning "elder" or "old man." It refers back to the ancient elders of Israel who assisted Aaron and Moses in leading the children of Israel. The word came into Latin as presbyterus and then into English as "presbyter" which was shortened to "prester," and finally "priest."

presbyteros > presbyterus > presbyter > prester > priest

Deacon comes from the Greek word diakonos, meaning "servant." The prefix "dia-" means "through" and "konos" means "common." This is someone who works by means of common duties - a servant. It came into Latin as "diaconus" and from their into English as "deacon."

I don't want to get into the debate over whether the New Testament views the office of bishop and presbyter as the same. The word is used interchangeable. But for that matter, Paul also interchanges the words "apostle" and "deacon" - that doesn't mean that each term refers to the same office. Rather the terms are fluid, but the offices are not.

In the New Testament we see three clear offices:


When the Apostles died, the terms changed, but the hierarchy remained:


Saint Paul, pray for us.
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Why Matthew is the First Gospel - and not Mark (or Q)

For the first 1,500 years of Christianity, the Church unanimously held that the Gospels were historically written in the order we find them in the canon: Matthew first, Mark second, Luke third, and John last of all.

The reason for Matthew's priority is simple: the testimony of the ancient witnesses describe Matthew's Gospel as first and as written in Hebrew/Aramaic. Here is Saint Augustine on the issue:
"Now, those four evangelists whose names have gained the most remarkable circulation over the whole world, and whose number has been fixed as four, …are believed to have written in the order which follows: first Matthew, then Mark, thirdly Luke, lastly John."
"Of these four, it is true, only Matthew is reckoned to have written in the Hebrew language; the others in Greek. And however they may appear to have kept each of them a certain order of narration proper to himself, this certainly is not to be taken as if each individual writer chose to write in ignorance of what his predecessor had done."
St. Augustine, The Harmony of the Gospels, 2.
Yet there is another reason why Matthew would have written the first Gospel of Christ - he owned paper and ink! Think about it. The other Apostles were fishermen. Matthew was a tax collector which meant that he was a record keeper and an accountant. In a time when writing, parchment, and ink were rare commodities, it is fitting that the one Apostle with access to such things would be the first to WRITE the life of Christ.

That recent belief that Matthew is not the first Gospel arose because people first began to doubt the resurrection of Christ and His divinity. As such, the Christian message would have to have been falsified. It was assumed that the shortest and plainest Gospel would have been the earliest. Thus, liberal scholars crowded around the Gospel of Mark as the "earliest" since it does not contain much of Christ's teaching and it's resurrection account is the simplest. Then, they postulated that an unknown source of sayings (the so-called "Q") was used to "fill in" the teachings of Christ. This is entirely ad hoc and has no historical basis. Moreover, Q scholars debate and divide over the issues.

The historic testimony is against this Markan theory. The saints and Fathers teach that Matthew came first - and this simply makes sense.

St Matthew the Evangelist, pray for us!
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A Charming Goodbye…

As things have gotten busier in the studio, I’ve decided to eliminate our soldered charms category. This will give me a little extra time in my day to focus on other jewelry designs that are quickly becoming a passion.

I have a few remaining charms in stock and I’ve marked them for clearance at 50% off!! If you would like to purchase the last of my sweet trinkets, please visit my website HERE. Once they are gone, they are gone for good. ~ Merci ~ xoxo ~ Joy

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Wheat and Weeds: Sinners in the Field of the Church

Archbishop Fulton Sheen once remarked: "There are not a hundred people in America who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions of people who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church — which is, of course, quite a different thing" (Sheen's Foreword to Radio Replies Vol. 1, (1938) p. ix). I also once heard the famous archbishop say that the most persuasive argument against Catholicism is Catholics themselves - since our lives to do rightly conform to the doctrine that we confess.

We must be mindful of the explicit teaching of Christ our Lord on this topic - the manifestation of Kingdom of God on earth (the Church) is a visible society of good and bad members. Christ proclaimed, "The Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a net which was cast into the sea, and gathered all kinds of fishes." 

Likewise, Our Blessed Lord refers to the Kingdom as a field with both valuable wheat and twith roublesome weed growing up together. Our Divine Savior also refers to the Kingdom as a wedding party in which there are both good and bad guests present. The Kingdom is also like investors, some of which fail and in doing so lose their principle. The Kingdom, teaches Christ, also tolerates both wise and foolish virgins.*

So then, the manifestation of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth (the Church) temporarily contains within it s visible membership the unwise, the unfaithful, heretics (so says St Paul), and even antichrists (so says St John).

This is now currently the case while the Church is invaded by unfaithful clergy, unorthodox talking heads with Ph.D.'s, so-called "pro-choice" Catholic politicians, and yes, even our own personal sins.

Christ warns us that the Church will not be perfected until He returns for us on the Last DAy. So there is no excuse to stay away from the Pope, the Church, and the Sacraments because of the "bad people." within the Church. The desire for a "pure Church," before the Last Day is a condemned heresy (Donatism). That there are weeds among us only reveals that there is also wheat. For the two will coexist until the end of time. And then the angels shall gather the elect into the eternal Kingdom of Heaven.

* One of the most painful sights for me as a relatively new Catholic is the existence of heterodox and dissenting nuns. It seems that the beauty and glory of femininity is expressed by Our Blessed Mother Mary and by those consecrated women who seek to live under her humble mantle. Thus, the  existence of heterodox nuns in the Church are especially troubling. Even still, Christ our Lord promised that there would be "unwise or foolish virgins" in His Church. Sad, but prophetically true.
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Relic Video: The Liquifying Blood of St Januarius

Every year on September 19 (today), thousands of people assemble at the cathedral in Naples to witness the miracle of the blood of Saint Januarius. This miracle has occurred annually since AD 1389.*

Saint Januarius was the bishop of Naples and received the palm of martyrdom under Diocletian's persecution of the Catholic Church (ca. AD 303).

Somehow samples of the martyr's blood were acquired and stored in a small vial. Today, this vial contains a dark reddish dried residue.

On the feastday, the archbishop of Naples holds up the reliquary containing the blood and shows that the vials contain the dry and solid remains of blood. Next, the archbishop places the reliquary on top of the altar of Saint Clare along with the bones of the saint.

The people begin to pray and shout and then the blood begins to liquify. The archbishop then moves the reliquary around to show that the once solid contents are not liquid (see video below). The Neapolitans commemorate the miracle with a 21 gun salute. The liquified blood remains in the vial on the altar for 8 days.

Here's a video of the miracle:

Saint Januarius, holy martyr, pray for us.

* This miracle also happens on Dec 16 and the first Sunday in May.
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The difference between Weak Christians and Ill Christians (by St Augustine)

In the Office of Readings (LOTH) for this morning, St Augustine speaks of wicket Catholic priests, but specifically the difference between "weak" and "sick" Christians. I was humbled to learn that I am, in fact, a "weak Christian," and have a very long way to go. 

Weak Christians desire to live a holy life and do good works; however, they are "weak" in that they are not willing to suffer hardships and setbacks. They want to be holy, but only if they can be "pain free" saints. The weak Christian is willing to pray the Rosary, feed the poor, attend Holy Mass, tithe, etc, but he is not willing to suffer for and with Christ. When tribulations arrive, he becomes angry with God for "rewarding" his presumed piety with temporal pain.

Sick or ill Christians, on the other hand, desire pleasure and worldly attachments so much that they are unwilling to do good works or obey the positive law of God. These are Christians in name only. They confess the name of Christ but they do not attend Holy Mass or seek to obey God's law. Perhaps this is Augustine's way of speaking of "Christmas and Easter Catholics."

Here is the holy bishop of Hippo in his own words:

You have failed to strengthen the weak, says the Lord. He is speaking to wicked shepherds, false shepherds, shepherds who seek their own concerns and not those of Christ. They enjoy the bounty of milk and wool, but they take no care at all of the sheep, and they make no effort to heal those who are ill. I think there is a difference between one who is weak (that is, not strong) and one who is ill, although we often say that the weak are also suffering from illness.
  My brothers, when I try to make that distinction, perhaps I could do it better and with greater precision, or perhaps someone with more experience and insight could do so. But when it comes to the words of Scripture, I say what I think so that in the meantime you will not be deprived of all profit. In the case of the weak sheep, it is to be feared that the temptation, when it comes, may break him. The sick person, however, is already ill by reason of some illicit desire or other, and this is keeping him from entering God’s path and submitting to Christ’s yoke.
  There are men who want to live a good life and have already decided to do so, but are not capable of bearing sufferings even though they are ready to do good. Now it is a part of the Christian’s strength not only to do good works but also to endure evil. Weak men are those who appear to be zealous in doing good works but are unwilling or unable to endure the sufferings that threaten. Lovers of the world, however, who are kept from good works by some evil desire, lie sick and listless, and it is this sickness that deprives them of any strength to accomplish good works.
  The paralytic was like that. When his bearers could not bring him in to the Lord, they opened the roof and lowered him down to the feet of Christ. Perhaps you wish to do this in spirit: to open the roof and to lower a paralytic soul down to the Lord. All its limbs are lifeless, it is empty of every good work, burdened with its sins, and weak from the illness brought on by its evil desires. Since all its limbs are helpless, and the paralysis is interior, you cannot come to the physician. But perhaps the physician is himself concealed within; for the true understanding of Scripture is hidden. Reveal therefore what is hidden, and thus you will open the roof and lower the paralytic to the feet of Christ.
  As for those who fail to do this and those who are negligent, you have heard what was said to them: You have failed to heal the sick; you have failed to bind up what was broken. Of this we have already spoken. Man was broken by terrible temptations. But there is at hand a consolation that will bind what was broken: God is faithful. He does not allow you to be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
Saint Augustine pray for us.

Jesus meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto thine.
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