INSTRUCTION ON THE FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER
In thanks for the redemption
the Church sings at the Introit:
INTROIT Declare the voice of joy, and
let it be heard, allel.: declare it even to the ends of the earth:
the Lord hath delivered his people. (Isai. XLVII. 20.) Allel. allel.
Shout with joy to God, all the earth: sing ye a psalm to his name,
give glory to his praise. (Fs. LXV.) Glory etc.
COLLECT O God, from whom all good
things proceed: grant to Thy suppliants, that by Thy inspiration we
may think those things that are right, and by Thy guidance may
perform the same. Through etc.
EPISTLE (James I. 22‑27.) Dearly
Beloved, Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving
your own selves. For if a man be a hearer of the word and not a
doer, he shall be compared to a than beholding his own countenance
in a glass: for he beheld himself and went his way, and presently
forgot what manner of man he was. But he that hath looked into the
perfect law of liberty, and hath continued therein, not becoming a
forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed
in his deed. And if any man think himself to be religious, not
bridling his tongue, but deceiving his own heart, this man's
religion is vain. Religion clean and undefiled before God and the
Father is this: to visit the fatherless, and widows in their
tribulation, and to keep one's self unspotted from the
EXPLANATION True piety, as St. James
here says, consists not only in knowing and recognizing the word of
God, but in living according to its precepts and teachings; in
subduing the tongue, the most dangerous and injurious of all our
members; in being charitable to the poor and destitute, and in
contemning the world, its false principles, foolish customs and
scandalous example, against which we should guard, that we may not
become infected and polluted by them. Test thyself, whether thy life
be of this kind.
ASPIRATION O Jesus! Director of the
soul! Give me the grace of true piety as defined by St.
XVI. 23-30.) At this time, Jesus saith to his disciples: Amen, amen,
I say to you, if you ask the Father,anything in my name, he will
give it you. Hitherto, you have not asked anything in my name. Ask,
and you shall receive, that your joy may be full. These things I
have spoken to you in proverbs. The hour cometh when I will no more
speak to you in proverbs, but will show you plainly of the Father.
In that day, you shall ask in my name: and I say not to you that I
will ask the Father for you, for the Father himself loveth you,
because you have loved me, and have believed that I came out from
God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again
I leave the world, and go to the Father. His disciples say to him:
Behold, now thou speakest plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now we
know that thou knowest all things, and thou needest not that any man
should ask thee: by this we believe that thou comest forth from
Why does God
wish us to ask of Him?
That we may know and confess
that all good comes from Him; that we may acknowledge our poverty
and weakness which in all things need the help of God; that we may
thus glorify Him and render ourselves less unworthy of the gifts
which He has promised us.
meant by asking to the name of Jesus?
By this is meant praying with
confidence in the merits of Jesus, "who," as St. Cyril says, "being
God with the Father, gives us all good, and as mediator carries our
petitions to His Father." The Church, therefore concludes all her
prayers with the words: "Through our Lord, Jesus Christ." It means
also that we should ask that which is in accordance with the will of
Christ, namely, all things necessary for the salvation of our soul;
to pray for temporal things merely in order to live happily in this
world, is not pleasing to Christ and avails us nothing. "He who
prays for what hinders salvation," says St. Augustine, "does not
pray in the name of Jesus." Thus Jesus said to His disciples:
Hitherto you have asked nothing in my name, "because," as St.
Gregory says, "they did not ask for that which conduces to eternal
Why is it
that God sometimes does not grant our petitions?
Because we often pray for
things that are injurious, and like a good father, God denies them
to us, in order to give us something better; because He wishes to
prove our patience and perseverance in prayer; because we generally
do not pray as we ought; to be pleasing to God, prayer should be
made when in a state of grace and with confidence in Christ's
merits, for the prayer of a just man availeth much; (James V. 16.)
we must pray with humility and submission to the will of God, with
attention, fervor, sincerity, and with perseverance.
special times should we pray?
We should pray every morning
and evening, before and after meals, in time of temptation, when
commencing any important undertaking, and particularly in the hour
of death. God is mindful of us every moment, and gives us His grace.
It is, therefore, but just that we think often of Him during the
day, and thank Him for His blessings.
How can we,
in accordance with Christ's teachings, (Luke XVIII. 1.) pray at all
By making the good intention
when commencing our work, to do all for the love of God, and
according to His most holy will; by raising our hearts to God at
different times during the day; frequently making acts of faith,
hope, love, and humility, and by repeating short ejaculations, such
as: O Jesus! grant me grace to love Thee! Thee only do I desire to
love! O be merciful to me! Lord hasten to help me.
What is the
signification of the different ceremonies that Catholics use at
The general signification is
that God must be served, honored and adored, not only with the soul
but with the body; when we pray aloud we praise God, not only with
the mind, but also with our lips; when we pray with bowed and
uncovered head, with folded, uplifted, or outstretched hands, on
bended knees, with bowed and prostrated body, we show our reverence
and subjection to the majesty of God, before whom we, who are but
dust and ashes, cannot humble ourselves enough. These different
ceremonies during prayer are frequently mentioned in both the Old
and the New Testaments, and Christ and His apostles have made use of
them, as for instance, the bending of the knees, falling on the
Which is the
best of all prayers?
The Lord's Prayer which
Christ Himself taught us, and commands us to repeat. When said with
devotion, it is the most powerful of all prayers. (Matt. VI, 9-13;
Luke XI. 2‑4.)
EXPLANATION OF THE LORD'S PRAYER
Of what does
the Lord's Prayer consist?
It consists of an address, as
an introduction to the prayer, and of seven petitions which contain
all that we should ask for the honor of God, and for our own
salvation. The address is thus: Our Father who art in
the word “Our" signify?
In the communion of saints we
should pray for and with all the children of God; we should be
humble and preserve brotherly love towards all men.
Who is it
that is here called our “Father"?
Our Father is God who has
made us His children and heirs of His kingdom through His
Why do we
say "Who art in heaven", since God is everywhere?
To remind us that our true
home is heaven, for which we, should ardently long, because our
Father is there, and there He has prepared our
For what do
we ask to the first petition: "Hallowed be Thy name?"
That we and all men may truly
know, love, and serve God.
For what do
we pray to the second petition: "Thy kingdom come?"
That the Church of God; the
kingdom of Christ, may extend over the whole earth, and the kingdom
of sin and the devil be destroyed; that Christ may reign in our
hearts and in the hearts of all; and that God will deign to receive
us into the kingdom of heaven when our earthly pilgrimage is
For what do
we ask to the third petition: "Thy will be done on earth as it is to
We beg that God would enable
us, by His grace, to do His will in all things, as the blessed do it
in heaven. In these three petitions we seek, as taught by Christ,
first the kingdom of God, that all the rest may be added unto us.
(Luke XII. 31.)
For what do
we ask in the fourth petition: "Give us this day our dally
We beg for all necessaries
for body and soul
does it say, "this day?"
The words "this day" signify
that we should not be over anxious for the future, but place all our
confidence in God who will provide the necessaries of
What do we
ask for in the fifth petition: "Forgive us our trespasses, as we
forgive those who trespass against us?"
We beg that God will forgive
us our sins, as we forgive others their offenses against us. Those
who make this petition, and still bear enmity towards their
neighbor, lie in the face of God, and will not receive forgiveness.
(Mark XI. 25, 26.)
risked for in the sixth petition: Lead us not into
We ask God to avert all
temptations or at least not to abandon us when we are tempted. We
cannot, indeed be entirely free from them in this world, they are
even necessary and useful for our salvation: for without temptation
there is no combat, without combat no victory and without victory no
What do we
ask for in the seventh petition: Deliver us from
We beg that God would free us
from all evil of soul and body.
INSTRUCTION CONCERNING THE PROCESSIONS ON ROGATION
Processions are solemn
religious assemblages of persons marching together, and are
instituted by the Catholic Church partly to encourage the piety of
the faithful, partly in remembrance of graces received, and in
thanksgiving for them. Processions are approved of by the Fathers of
the Church from the earliest ages. Those who take part in them in a
true spirit will reap wholesome fruit of Christian piety.
processions something new?
No, they were the custom in
the very earliest centuries of the Church, as testified by the acts
of the martyrs, of Saints Cyprian, Lucius, Boniface, and the Fathers
of the Church, Saints Basil, Chrysostom, Ambrose, Gregory, and
others. They are also founded on Scripture. Thus King David caused
the ark of the covenant to be carried in solemn procession to
Jerusalem, (II Kings VI.) and Solomon, his son, had it carried in
solemn procession into the new temple. (III Kings VIII. 1-6.)
Processions are a figure of
our pilgrimage on earth; we are strangers and wanderers here below,
our journey reaches from this valley of tears to the heavenly Sion,
the procession therefore returns into the house of God; our journey
leads over the thorny ways of life, the procession therefore takes
place in the open air, where the pilgrim is exposed to all kinds of
weather; they are a powerful incentive to fervor in prayer for the
faithful; when hundreds, even thousands of faithful praise God
aloud, or cry to Him for help and mercy, must not even the coldest
heart be roused to vivid, fervent devotion, since Christ has
promised to be present even where two or three are assembled in His
name? Processions are an open acknowledgment that praise, thanks and
adoration are due to God alone, while they are a public profession
of our faith in Christ, the Crucified; they are a solemn
thanksgiving for being permitted to profess Christ, our Lord, before
the whole world, as also for all the graces obtained through Him;
they are a public testimonial of our faith in the one, holy,
Catholic Church, whose members are united by the same bond of faith,
and who form under their head, Christ, one family in God. Finally,
they are a sign of the triumph of Christian faith over the darkness
of heathenism. If processions are solemnized with such intentions,
with order and dignity, with fervent devotion, in the light of
faith, they are indeed a pleasing sight for angels and
banners and the cross carried in procession?
The cross signifies that we
are assembled as Christians, in the name of Jesus, in whose name we
begin and end our prayers, through whose merits we expect all things
from the Heavenly Father, and whom we must follow: on our journey to
heaven; the red and white banners indicate that we must walk in all
innocence under the banner of Christ, and fight unto death against
sin, against the world and the devil, and be as ready as were the
martyrs to give our life for our faith; the blue banners indicate
that we must walk the road of self-denial and mortification, with
really humble and penitent feelings for our gins. The banners are
also emblematic of Christ's victory over death and hell, and of the
triumph of His religion over the pagans and Jews.
Why do we go
around the fields in processions?
To beg God to bless the
fields with His fatherly hand, to give and preserve the fruits of
the earth, and. as He fills the animals with blessings, and gives
them food at the proper time, so may He give to as also our
What is the
origin of the procession on St. Mark's day and on Rogation
The procession on St. Mark's
day was instituted even before the time of Pope Gregory the Great
(607) who, however, brought it into fervent practice, "in order," as
he says, 'to obtain, in a measurer forgiveness of our sins." The
same pontiff introduced another, called the Sevenfold Procession,
because the faithful of Rome took part in it in seven divisions,
from seven different Churches, meeting in the Church of the Blessed
Virgin. It was also named the Pest Procession, because it was
ordered by St. Gregory to obtain the cessation of a fearful
pestilence which was at that time raging in Rome, and throughout all
Italy. This pestilence so poisoned the atmosphere that one opening
his mouth to sneeze or gape would suddenly fall dead; (hence the
custom of saying God bless you," to one sneezing, and of making the
sign of the cross on the mouth of one who gapes). The same holy pope
ordered the picture of the Blessed Virgin, which is said to have
been painted by St. Luke, to be carried in this procession, and that
the intercession of this powerful mother be these supplications and
the pestilence asked. God heard ceased. It is said that the
processions in Rogation Week owe their origin to St. Mamertus,
Bishop of Vienne in France; in the neighborhood of which city there
were, in the year 469, terrible earthquakes which caused great
destruction, the fruits perished and various plagues afflicted the
people. The saintly bishop assembled the faithful, recommended them
to seek refuge in the merciful God, and led them in procession
around the fields. Such processions spread over France, and
gradually throughout the Christian world; they are held in order to
obtain from God the averting of universal evils, such as war,
famine, and pestilence, and are, at the same time, a preparation for
the Ascension of Christ who is our most powerful mediator with His
Father, and whom we should invoke especially during these
intentions should we take part in a procession?
With the intention of
glorifying God, of thanking Him for all. His graces, and of
obtaining aid and comfort from Him in all our corporal and spiritual
needs; with the view of professing our faith openly before the whole
world, and with the sincere resolution of always following Christ,
the Crucified, in the path of penance and mortification. He who
entertains other intentions and takes part, perhaps, for temporal
advantages, or for sinful pleasures, or to avoid labor, &c.,
sins against God and the Church who weeps over and condemns such