Mass for Sexagesima Sunday will be celebrated at 11.30am on Sunday 24th February 2019 at St Winefride's, Well Street, Holywell, CH8 7PL.
Our lives and souls are the ground upon which the fertile seed of God's words and graces fall.
The seed is the same for all, but our lives and our souls are not the same and this accounts for the variability of fruit that is derived from the same words and graces.
Our lives and our souls have been placed in our own hands. This is a very frightful thought as we contemplate the extent of consequences that follow from our thoughts, words, actions, and omissions. What could be the meaning of placing our eternal happiness in the hands of such incompetents as ourselves? We are some of the poorest excuses for masters and governors of our lives that one could imagine. Yet, here we are weak and fickle, but our fate for all of eternity is placed securely in our own hands. It is like placing the rarest, expensive, and precious diamonds into the hands of a little child who will gleefully, yet carelessly and thoughtlessly play with these shinny objects as if they were toys; and consequently set them aside and forget about them while he picks up other things of almost no worth to occupy himself with. Rare is the child who can rightly appreciate what he holds in his hands, and rarer still is the child who could protect such a precious treasure from loss, thieves, or damage. And here we are little children with the most precious of things (God's word and graces) entrusted to our care.
As we look in on ourselves, we should begin to humbly perceive our unworthiness for such magnificent treasures, and our profound helplessness in not only correctly receiving these treasures but also, our profound weakness in preventing so many hazards to the growth and development of these treasures in our souls. Consideration of the world, the devil, our passions, our sins and weaknesses all impress upon us how unfitted and unprepared we truly are.
So what are we to do? Are we to blame God because we are immature and unfit? Are we to not give a second thought to the condition of our souls and its receptiveness to these graces? Are we to throw up our hands in despair and give up and allow ourselves to be carried or led away to Hell? God forbid!
Seeing our helplessness and the dangers overwhelming us, let us humble ourselves and cry out for help. Just as a wise child who realizes he does not know what to do with a great treasure not only asks for advice and help but begs for someone to lead and guide him in the wisest and best course of action, so let us cry out to God to help us and let us turn to the Church and her leaders for the guidance of the wisest and best course of action for ourselves.
We must be extremely careful not to misplace our trust and confidence. There are many who put on the airs of wisdom and authority but have little to none of them. And there are countless souls led astray by their errors. The devil appears as an angel of light, but following his suggestions bears forth fruit of darkness, suffering, and misery not only in this world but for all of eternity. Men are fools who place their trust and confidence in those who openly tell them that they have no authority or that there is no authority left in the Church. Why would anyone place their most precious gifts from God in the hands of such guides who openly admit that they have no more wisdom or ability to properly guide them than they do themselves? Yet, the majority does just that. They call upon the birds (devils) to come and help them receive and nurture these precious gifts only to have the birds (devils) snatch up and devour these precious gifts and therefore lose them for all of eternity.
Or they are so dumb that they are hard as rocks and never even grasp any idea of what has been given them. They are giddy at first with the shinny new "toy", then they soon tire of it to look for something else.
And then, there are those who have so many other toys to play with that they never truly estimate the worth of this precious gift. They place this precious gift among all their other things. The sacred next to the profane; and over time the sacred is overpowered by the profane and is eventually lost and forgotten.
And lastly there are those who not only find proper guidance (From those with true authority and power in the true Church.), but they likewise listen to and follow this guidance. These souls, guided and urged on by true wisdom and authority, struggle and toil to remove the stones and weeds and till and soften the soil of their souls so that upon receiving this precious gift they can place it in the best possible place and conditions to allow it to germinate, develop, and produce the most wonderful bounteous fruit of eternal life.
Envy is a terrible vice that consumes and harms not the one who is being envied but the one who envies. The good things that God gives to some in no way harms others, but those who are envious bring harm upon themselves. Their discontent is their own doing.
This is something that we must consider seriously because the world in which we live has such a strange idea of fairness, justice and right order. The society today preaches to us over and over a materialistic "equality" which is contrary to God's order and plan. We must learn and accept the fact that we are not all equal. We have been made by God each one unique and special. No two of us are exactly alike (not even identical twins).
God's goodness is shown in giving to each of us not a material exactness of equality, but truly as He knows we need. To some is given more to others less. And there is no injustice in this because God sees what is for the good of our souls and eternal life. We find that those whom He loves the most he chastises the most. The closer one comes to God the more he must suffer. Those who draw away from God often appear to succeed in this world. God allows them to do so and gives them what they so passionately desire because this is all the pleasure that they will receive for all eternity. After this life such souls will suffer forever in Hell, because they have turned away from God. God is just; their temporary reward is for the small acts of kindness or goodness that they do from time to time. These acts merit a temporal reward but not an eternal one.
The material things of this world are not always what they seem to be. They are often the source of great trials and tribulations. If we knew the trouble that those who have more must go through, we would be thankful for the fact that we do not have more. And when we have become truly wise we even begin to wish that we had even less than we do.
Some of us can relate to the workers who bore the heat and burdens of the day's labour. We struggle and labour our entire lives for the eternal reward of Heaven. There are others who seem to come in at the last minute with very little struggle or labour and they too merit an eternal reward in Heaven. Those who have laboured long and hard should be happy and rejoice that this one that was lost has been found; that there is another to give honour and glory to God forever in Heaven. That God is good and generous to them takes nothing away from the reward that He gives to those who have served Him faithfully their entire lives.
Many of the Israelites of the Old Testament were lost because they would not accept the fact that God would accept the other nations into His fold. They who had laboured to keep the covenant with God for centuries could not stand the fact that the Gentiles were welcomed to the same reward.
All the labours and struggles are for nothing if all merit is lost because of an envious spirit. What did it profit the Israelites for all they did, if when God came to earth they rejected Him and turned away from Him, because He was generous with His bounty to others? There are many who call themselves "Christians", "Catholic", or "Traditionalists" who will be damned because they are envious of the good that God gives to others. How foolish this is. God has plenty for everyone. We lose nothing when God is generous to others. On the contrary we are given another opportunity to glorify God in His goodness and mercy which is being manifested in others.
Even if we should serve God as faithfully as Job (And who can say that they have done this?) and then He takes it all away from us, in an apparent act of complete injustice, what have we lost? All the things of this earth belong to God, nothing belongs to us. He is free to give and take away as He pleases. "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord."
Let us compare ourselves to our true role model and pattern, Jesus Christ. Let us follow Him in humility, prayer, and sacrifice, and know that we have never done enough; and that any and all good that does come to us is not from our own merits but from the merits of Christ. Then, even though we be the last or have the least we shall be first. Those who were the first and have the most, if they get the last place, they have been given a generous reward also, because they at least have been given a place, even though they could do nothing to merit it.
"So shall the last be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few are chosen."
I was fortunate to be able to attend a Pontifical High Mass offered by the Bishop of Shrewsbury last Sunday in his Catherdral Church, Our Lady Help of Christians and Saint Peter of Alcantara in Shropshire's county town.
The Mass was celebrated in the presence of the Very Rev. Monsignor Gilles Wach, Prior General of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.
The Mass heralded the beginning of a fourth mission for the ICKSP. St Winefride's at Monkmoor has long been a venue of an LMS organised weekly Sunday Mass and now this will be cared for by the Institute. In addition to this, Canon Smith, the resident priest will also exercise his ministry in the Cathedral.
Bishop Davies can only be lauded for his forward thinking and nuturing of Traditional liturgy.
The theme for this Sunday’s Holy Mass considers a question that we all ask, “Where does evil come from?” O God, “didst thou not sow good seed in Thy field” of this world? “Whence then hath it cockle?” (Gospel).
The answer to this comes from God, “An enemy hath done this.” Hence, when we cry for the rooting out of evildoers to ourselves or to the Church, it would be well to study the remaining verses of this Gospel. The Epistle also indicates how to conquer the cockle of evil with the good seed of patience, brotherly love, persevering prayer and constant union with Jesus, Who knows “how to keep His family in goodness” (Prayer) through the Sacrifice of the Mass (Secret) and the graces of the Eucharist (Postcommunion).
The way to solve the problem of evil in and around you is to “let the word of Christ (that is the good seed) dwell in you abundantly” (Epistle).
It is often forgotten that St. Scholastica, today’s feast, was the twin sister of St. Benedict. She formed the female branch of the Benedictine monastic order while her brother established the male side. Three days prior to her death in 547, St. Benedict spent an entire night discussing the joys of Heaven with his dying sister. Three days later he saw her soul, in the form of a dove, ascend into Heaven. St. Scholastica was buried at Monte Cassino. Later, St. Benedict was placed in a tomb adjacent to hers. Although not com-memorated in the Sunday Mass using the 1962 Missal, pray to St. Scholastica and St. Benedict today to guide us closer to Our Lord!
A reminder that there is no Mass at Llay next Sunday. The Mass has been cancelled to allow for Llay regulars to attend the Pontifical High Mass at Shrewsbury Cathedral. More details can be found here.
What is related to us in today's Gospel is meant to do more than relay a historical episode in the life of Jesus Christ and the Church. Our Holy Mother the Church recounts this Gospel for us today, so that we may be further instructed or inspired in the path of our own spiritual lives.
The disciples of Jesus have seen His works on land, and the people followed Him eagerly because of the miracles that He performed. In a test of their faith and for an instruction to us, Jesus takes them out over water and raises up the wind and waves while He sleeps. The disciples wake Him begging His assistance in this storm. After rebuking their lack of faith, Jesus calms the wind and waters. In this manner, He teaches them and us that God does not sleep, and reaffirms that He is always in control. Nothing happens without God knowing and allowing it to happen.
Throughout the history of the Church we see that it often appeared that Jesus was asleep as the Church suffered through one crises or another. There have been attacks from without and from within. Sadly, it is true that Her greatest enemies were those of Her own household. The external attacks often brought Catholics together to fight against and resist the assaults against Her. The attacks from within proved to be divisive as well as destructive. The Protestant assault began from priests and religious who raised their hands against their own spiritual Mother. These heretics carried away a good many souls with them. It may be, that it was necessary for the Church to be purged or pruned of such useless or unproductive branches in this way.
In our own days, we seem to have accumulated all the evils of the past together. The Church still suffers the assault from without; Pagans, Jews, and Heretics; as well as from within as so many ungrateful and unprofitable children continue to rise up against Her. In addition to all this, we have the long standing vacancy of the Chair of St. Peter. When the Vicar of Christ — the Good Shepherd's earthly representative has been struck the flock is scattered. The Church continues — the ship of St. Peter remains afloat in the storms that are raging against Her in these days — but it often appears that God is asleep.
In these troubled days, the Church has grown very small, and of the few that remain, many of these are shaken to the core, and abandon ship. Only a small remnant remain with the faith, and these are tried more sorely day by day. Today, more than ever, we must dig deep into our souls stirring up complete faith in Jesus Christ through the Catholic Church. The ship appears desolate, but there is always at least one true successor to the Apostles at the helm, and with these we must hold fast. Yes, priests and bishops are human and weak, just as we are, but one and all are striving to say with St. Paul, "I can do all things in Him Who strengthens me."
God has not only foreseen, but He has even willed that we suffer through these trials. He knows that in the end there will be very little true faith left, and that charity will have grown cold. His grace is still with us; He offers us continuously in this life the opportunity to truly love Him. Jesus only appears to be asleep. He knows all that is going on, and He will give us each and every one the grace we need to stand steadfast. All we need to do is cooperate with Him.
We may, with the disciples, call out to Him in our darkest hours: "Lord saves us lest we perish!" In those times with the rebuke of shallow faith, He often offers us a glimpse of Himself and gives us the strength to carry on in the true Church.
In the Catholic Church, there is the continuance of the offering of the Sacrifice of Calvary (in the Mass) and this Sacrifice will continue to the end. It is in this Sacrifice that Jesus comes to us and physically resides in our presence. He only appears to be asleep in the Holy Eucharist. The True Faith tells us that it is not a dead Christ that we offer, worship and adore, but is the Living God — All Powerful. When we receive Him worthily in this Sacrament we place ourselves aboard the ship in which He lives (the ship of the true Catholic Church). In these last days, it may appear humble and small, and in much disrepair, just as the stable of Bethlehem; however, with the presence of Jesus, all that is unworthy is made worthy, all that is weak is made strong, all that is wrong is made right.
It is His wish that we often worthily receive Him in the Holy Eucharist and keep alive in our souls the true Faith. In this way, we can see beyond the present threats and storms to a perfectly peaceful and joyful eternity.
Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Francisco: Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui facis mirabilia magna solus: praetende super famulos tuos, et super congregationes illis commissas, spiritum gratiae salutaris; et, ut in veritate tibi complaceant, perpetuum eis rorem tuae benedictionis infunde.
Kevin Jones is the local representative for the Latin Mass Society in Wrexham Diocese. Any views expressed neither represent those of the Latin Mass Society or the Diocese of Wrexham.