Monday, May 29, 2023

“These things I remembered, and poured out my soul in me…” (Ps 41:5)

Remember, remember...

An unjust trial, the scourges tearing the flesh, the crown of thorns, the beatings, the humiliations, the heavy cross, the iron bands across wrists and feet, the smell of blood, the agony, the death, the resurrection, the ascension.

Remember, O Catholic people, where your strength comes from—today almost forgotten.

Remember your heritage.

Remember the Incarnate Word, born of the Blessed Virgin.

Remember a poor man who silenced the powerful, walked on water, calmed storms, gave sight to the blind, made the crippled walk, healed the sick, and raised the dead.

Remember Him who promised the Kingdom of Heaven to those who followed Him, showing that the most humble would be the first.

Remember Him who said, simply, “Come to me,” “Follow me,” “Obey me.”

Remember the One who made it clear that His main mission was to forgive sins, something only God could do.

Remember the One who said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one goes to the Father except through Me.” “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me, even though he die, will live.” “I am the Bread of Life; he who eats of this Bread, even if he dies, will live.”

Remember Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Remember the Holy Supper, where He gave us His Body and Blood.

Remember His Sacrifice on the Cross, where he truly took upon himself our infirmities and our sorrows; and his people considered him afflicted, wounded by God, and oppressed. But he was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities; the punishment that brings us peace was upon him, and by his bruises we were healed.

Remember a small band of defeated cowards—one day hiding in an attic for fear, but a few days later, turned into a company that no persecution could silence.

Remember twelve men who testified that they saw Jesus raised from the dead, ascending to heaven, and then proclaimed this truth for years, never denying it, and spreading it as far across the world as they could. All but one were tortured and suffered horrible deaths for their testimony. Would they have done and endured all this if their message had not been true?

Remember the persecutions, when we were crucified, stoned, scourged, imprisoned, burned alive, and thrown the beasts.

Remember the time when the Gospel conquered the barbarians.

Remember the time when the nations were sisters in Jesus Christ.

Remember the knights, the warrior monks who defended the weak.

Remember the glories of Christendom, its cathedrals and universities.

Remember the saints, the humble servants of Our Lord, who conquered crowds not with swords, like the Mohammedans, but with Rosaries.

Remember St. Dominic de Guzmán, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony of Lisbon, and St. Thomas Aquinas.

Remember the battle of Lepanto, when the prayers of the Rosary defeated the Muslim Turks.

Remember the missionaries, who went to the ends of the earth to preach the Gospel, knowing that souls would perish without it.

Remember the time when priests spoke of eternal life, of the need to save one’s soul by fleeing from sin and living in God’s grace.

Remember when there were no “supper table” altars in our churches, but only eastward-facing altars whose very appearance awakened a sense of respectful fear and reverence in people, and pointed them to God above us and beyond us, as well as in our midst.

Remember, remember... when there were no traditionalists, because there was no need to describe any Catholic with this expression. All Catholics instinctively accepted what Popes had prescribed as part of the Tridentine Profession of Faith: “I firmly adhere to and embrace the apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions and other observances and constitutions of the Church.”

Remember when there were no lay readers, “lay ministers of Communion” or girls in the sanctuary, but only priests, deacons on the way to the priesthood, and altar boys, who were a source of the abundant priestly vocations that once filled the seminaries.

Remember when there was no profane music during Mass, but Gregorian chant, polyphony, and pipe organ, awakening the soul to the contemplation of the divine, instead of tapping feet, clapping, or pure boredom at the second-rate.

Remember when the priests prayed in Latin, and the Mass was contemplative and meditative. Everyone could pray the Rosary during the silence and the churches were full.

Remember the time when Catholics carried a Rosary in their pocket and prayed it daily.

Remember when there were no empty seminaries, empty convents, abandoned parishes and closed Catholic schools, but places filled with Catholics blessed with large families.

Remember when there was no “ecumenism,” but only the conviction that the Catholic Church is the one true Church, outside of which there is no salvation; when Catholics would not “actively attend or participate in any worship of non-catholics.”

Remember when, instead of “dialogue,” there was evangelization by clergy and lay apologists with the aim of converting people to true religion. And there were the converts who came into the Church in such large numbers that it seemed as though the United States was becoming a Catholic nation, as thirty million Americans listened to Fulton Sheen’s radio show every Sunday.

Remember when there were no mass defections from the priesthood, religious orders, and laity, leading to the “silent apostasy” in Europe and all over the West. Instead, there was what a certain Father at the Second Vatican Council described at its beginning: “the Church, despite the calamities in the world, is experiencing a glorious age, if one considers the Christian life of the clergy and the faithful, the spread of the faith, and the salutary universal influence that the Church possessed in the world today.”

Remember when there were no “movements” promoting strange new ways of worship invented by their founders. There were only Catholics, who practiced the divine cultus in the same way as their ancestors with unbreakable continuity for centuries.

Remember the time when the Church did not need to imitate Protestant sects to become (as it is thought) popular.

Remember the time when the word “divorce” made no sense. Men and women were married for life: “till death do us part.”

Remember the time when having children was not avoided as a “burden,” but embraced as the most important and honorable vocation of the married, and large families of multiple generations were a blessing to be proud of.

Remember the time when priests catechized their flock—when yes was yes, and no was no.

Remember the time when priests heard Confessions every day, and no one needed to make an appointment to confess; when lines of Catholics stood before the confessional, before and during Masses.

Remember the time when Catholics had a horror of sin and knew that dying in sin meant going to hell.

Remember when everything changed—when the worldly spirit invaded the church, at and after the Second Vatican Council.

Remember what the Holy Virgin asked in Fatima.

Remember that she said: “My Immaculate Heart will triumph!”

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope! To Thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To Thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn, then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of Thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

“Arise, arise, put on strength, O thou arm of the Lord, arise as in the days of old, in the ancient generations. Hast not thou struck the proud one, and wounded the dragon?” (Is 51:9)

“Behold the hand of the Lord is not shortened that it cannot save, neither is his ear heavy that it cannot hear.” (Is 59:1)

The meditation above was written in Portuguese and sent to me by a reader; it has been translated into English for NLM.

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