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The Church’s Year
By Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine

INTROIT For while all things were in quiet silence, and the night came was in the midst of her course, Thy almighty Word, O Lord, down from heaven, from Thy royal throne (Wis. 18:14-15). The Lord hath reigned, he is clothed with beauty: the Lord is clothed with strength, and hath girded himself (Ps. 92:1). Glory be to the Father.

COLLECT Almighty and everlasting God, direct our actions according to Thy good pleasure; that in the name of Thy beloved Son we may deserve to abound in good works. Through our Lord.

EPISTLE (Gal. 4:1-7). Brethren, as long as the heir is a child, he differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all: but is under tutors and governors until the time appointed by the father: so we also, when we were children, were serving under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent his Son, made of a woman, made under the law: that he might redeem them who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because you are sons, God hath sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying: Abba, Father. Therefore now he is not a servant, but a son; and if a son, an heir also through God.

EXPLANATION St. Paul desired to instruct the Galatians, many of whom still clung to the Mosaic law, that this was no longer necessary, because Christ had freed them from its hard bondage, which contained merely the rudiments, so to speak, of the one only saving faith, and had made them children and heirs of God, for which they should rejoice. Continue reading

St. Sabinus

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St. Sabinus, Bishop of Assisium, and His Companions, Martyrs

Abridged from their acts in Baluze and Baronius.

A.D. 304.

THE CRUEL edicts of Dioclesian and Maximian, against the Christians, being published in the year 303, Sabinus, bishop of Assisium, and several of his clergy, were apprehended and kept in custody till Venustianus, the governor of Etruria and Umbria, came thither. Upon his arrival in that city, he caused the hands of Sabinus, who had made a glorious confession of his faith before him, to be cut off; and his two deacons, Marcellus and Exuperantius, to be scourged, beaten with clubs, and torn with iron nails or broad tenters, under which torments they both expired. Sabinus is said to have cured a blind boy; and a weakness in the eyes of Venustianus himself, who was thereupon converted, and afterwards beheaded for the faith. Lucius, his successor, commanded Sabinus to be beaten to death with clubs at Spoleto. The martyr was buried a mile from that city; but his relics have been since translated to Faënza. St. Gregory the Great 1 speaks of a chapel built in his honour near Fermo, in which he placed some of his relics which he had obtained from Chrysanthus, bishop of Spoleto. These martyrs are mentioned on this day in Ado, Usuard, and the Roman Martyrology. 1

How powerfully do the martyrs cry out to us by their example, exhorting us to despise a false and wicked world! What have all the philosophers and princes found by all their researches and efforts in quest of happiness in it! They only fell from one precipice into another. Departing from its true centre they sought it in every other object, but in their pursuits only wandered further and further from it. A soul can find no rest in creatures. How long then shall we suffer ourselves to be seduced in their favour! be always deceived, yet always ready to deceive ourselves again! How long shall we give false names to objects round about us, and imagine a virtue in them which they have not! Is not the experience of near six thousand years enough to undeceive us! Let the light of heaven, the truths of the gospel, shine upon us, and the illusions of the world and our senses will disappear. But were the goods and evils of the world real, they can have no weight if they are compared with eternity. They are contemptible, because transient and momentary. In this light the martyrs viewed them. Who is not strongly affected with reading the epitaph which the learned Antony Castalio composed for himself, and which is engraved upon his tomb in the cathedral of Florence. 2

That peace and rest, now in the silent grave,
At length I taste, which life, oh! never gave.
Pain, labour, sickness, tortures, anxious cares,
Grim death, fasts, watchings, strife, and racking fears,
Adieu! my joys at last are ever crowned;
And what I hop’d so long, my soul hath found.

Note 1. L. 7, ep. 72, 73; l. 11, ep. 20. [back]
Note 2.
Quam vivens nunquam potui gustare quietem,
Mortuus in solida jam statione fruor:
Passio, cura, labor, mors, tandem et pugna recessit,
Corporea; et solum mens quod avebat, habet.

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume XII: December.
The Lives of the Saints. 1866.

MY CATHOLIC FAITH: Infallibility of the Church

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LXVII. Infallibility of the Church

The Church cannot teach error, because it was founded by Christ, God Himself. He sent forth His Apostles with full powers to preach His Gospel. He said. “As the Father has sent me, I also send you” (John 20:21). “I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate to dwell with you forever. . . . But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your mind whatever I have said to you” (John 14:16,26).

What is meant by the infallibility of the Catholic Church? –By the infallibility of the Catholic Church is meant that the Church, by the special assistance of the Holy Ghost, cannot err when it teaches or believes a doctrine of faith and morals.

Christ promised: “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and teach all nations … teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world” (Matt. 28:20). If Christ is with the Church all days, it cannot err in teaching; it cannot lead men away from God.

“Infallibility” is often distorted by enemies of the Church to mean “impeccability”, and therefore derided. Infallibility is freedom from error; impeccability is freedom from sin. In an institution established by God for the salvation of men, error in doctrine is unthinkable. Continue reading

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St. Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr

A.D. 1170.

ST. THOMAS BECKET was born in London in 1117, on the 21st of December. His father Gilbert Becket was a gentleman of middling fortune, who, in his youth, made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem with divers others, and falling into the hands of the Saracens, remained a year and a half a prisoner, or rather a slave, to one of their emirs, or admirals. An only daughter of this emir hearing him one day explain the Christian faith, and declare, upon the question being put to him, that he should with the greatest joy lay down his life for the love of God, if he was made worthy of such a happiness, was so touched, as to conceive on the spot a desire of becoming a Christian. This she made known to Mr. Becket, who contented himself with telling her, that she would be very happy if God gave her that grace, though it were attended with the loss of every thing this world could afford. He and his fellow-slaves soon after made their escape in the night-time, and returned safe to London. The young Syrian lady privately left her father’s house and followed him thither, and being instructed in the faith and baptized by the name of Maud or Mathildes, she was married to him in St. Paul’s church by the bishop of London. Soon after Gilbert went back into the East, to join the crusade or holy war, and remained in those parts three years and a half. Maud was brought to bed of our saint a little time after his departure, about a twelvemonth after their marriage, and being herself very pious, she taught her son from his infancy to fear God, and inspired him with a tender devotion to the Blessed Virgin. His father, after his return to England, was, in his turn, sheriff 2 of London. Fitz-Stephens assures us, that he never put money out at interest, and never embarked in any commerce, but being contented with his patrimony, lived on the annual income.  Continue reading

The Holy Innocents

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The Holy Innocents

“But Herod sending, killed all the male children, from two years old and under.”–Matt. 2.

Whenever we celebrate the feast of the Holy Innocents, our hearts are filled with compassion, but, at the same time, also with joy and consolation. We have compassion for these innocent children, who shed their blood to satisfy the cruelty, vanity, and pride of a tyrant;–but taking into consideration that they had not the remotest idea of the death they were to suffer, that, without any struggle, or troubles of conscience, they were torn from the arms of their mothers, to hasten to the arms of God, where a particular degree of glory awaited them,–in consideration of this, we feel comforted and happy, and can not but congratulate these little innocents, the first of the martyrs for Christ’s sake.

The remembrance of the Holy Innocents, has a most practical influence on the lives of parents especially, admonishing them to strive earnestly, that, even if their children have not the happiness of sealing the truth of their faith with the effusion of their blood, they may, nevertheless, give testimony of it by the innocence of their lives. Parents, I will point out to you, today, what you, on your part, are obliged to do, in order that your children may preserve their innocence. O Mary, thou model for all dutiful mothers, obtain for those parents here present the grace, to know and fulfill their duties in this respect! I speak in the holy name of Jesus, to the greater honor of God! Continue reading