Was up after 0400, so a bit late, and went out for a pleasant walk and rosary before Prime. Prepared breakfast, utilizing my new juicer (the orange fruit on hand made a juice too sweet for my liking alas), and only then did I see that Canon Marc Guelfucci and Father Gabriel Grodziski at Saint-Eugène in Paris had been arrested for their masklessness and other high crimes (here and here at Le Salon Beige, and at Rorate Caeli, and all over Twitter). The French judicial system being what it is, I'm not quite sure what the distinctions between the different forms of detention are: but there is a prosecutor who needs our prayers. As do Fathers Guelfucci and Grodziski, pledges of which can be recorded here. The Mass for today, Thursday in the Octava Paschae, is Victrícem manum tuam, Dómine (Introibo).
Word is (via Dr Michel Janva inter alii) that Canon Guelfucci and Fr Grodziski were released from custody in the early evening.
Holy Mass is being streamed as usual from Saint-Eugene; Pater Thomas SJ is the celebrant, I believe. His sermon was quite good-- we keep the faith whatever nonsense the worldly and ecclesiastical powers get up to, doing what we can to defeat their nonsense while keeping ourselves in charity and without rancor. Thus far my comprehension of the French.
These verses of Psalm 113 are become one of my favorite passages.
Deus autem noster in cælo: ómnia quæcúmque vóluit, fecit. Simulacra géntium argéntum, et aurum, ópera mánuum hóminum. Os habent, et non loquéntur: óculos habent, et non vidébunt. Aures habent, et non áudient: nares habent, et non odorábunt. Manus habent, et non palpábunt: pedes habent, et non ambulábunt: non clamábunt in gútture suo. Símiles illis fiant qui fáciunt ea: et omnes qui confídunt in eis.
The liturgy proceeds in due order, though not with mere rigidity of method, for it is an art, not a mathematical science, and is inspired by the highest religious ideals. Thus, today, by sacrificing somewhat the exact chronological order, we have in the Gospel (John 20,11-18), after the manifestations of Christ to his Apostles, the account of his showing himself to Mary Magdalen, which should rightly have been read on Sunday morning. This was done out of respect for the Apostles, but, on the other hand, it was not possible to omit the consoling appearance of the Saviour to the poor penitent of Magdala-- that story which touched Gregory the Great so deeply when he spoke of it in his homilies to the people of Rome. How great is the power of a woman’s love! The Apostles depart, but Mary remains faithful, and weeps beside the sepulchre of Jesus without thought of danger. She fears no enemy and dreads no difficulty. If the gardener has carried off the sacred body, let him tell the Magdalen of its secret resting-place and she herself will take it away. This poor sinner has indeed loved much, therefore she has deserved that much be pardoned to her. Hence, before the Apostles, and even before Peter himself, she receives the grace of being the first to see the risen Saviour. 'Go to my brethren,' Jesus says to her, 'and tell them that I go to the Father.' Mary obeyed, and thus it became the privilege of the penitent of Magdala to announce the central doctrine of the Christian faith to the Apostles, to those, that is, whom the Lord appointed to be the infallible messengers of his Gospel. For this reason the Church ordains that the Creed is to be recited in the Mass on the feast of St Mary Magdalen as on the feasts of the Apostles...In the Post-Communion we pray thus: 'Hear our prayers, O Lord, that the holy mysteries of our redemption may bring us help in this life, and also procure for us everlasting joys.' The sacrosancta commercia redemptionis, of which the liturgy here speaks, is a happily expressed metaphor. Commercium means an exchange of goods. In our case Christ gives himself up to the divine justice as the price of our redemption from the slavery of sin, and the divine justice gives us to Christ. Jesus, speaking of us to the Magdalen, says to her: 'Go to my brethren and say to them, I ascend to my Father and to your Father'. How consoling are these words, and how unspeakable is the intimate bond by which the resurrection of our Lord has linked humanity to himself! Jesus is truly our brother, God is in very deed our Father. By the death of Christ we have gained far more than we had lost by sin, and it is in this sense that the deacon sings in the Easter praeconium: 'O happy fault, that was worthy of so great a Redeemer'.
The sensual man never gives thought to the eternal glory and happiness of the body: he acknowledges the Resurrection of the flesh as an article of faith, but it is not an object of his hope. He cares but for the present; material, carnal pleasures being all he aspires to, he considers his body as an instrument of self gratification, which, as it lasts so short time, must be the more quickly used. There is no respect in the love he bears to his body; hence he fears not to defile it; and after few years of insult, which he calls enjoyment, it becomes the food of worms and corruption.And yet, this sensual man accuses the Church of being an enemy to the body! the Church that so eloquently proclaims its dignity, and the glorious destiny that awaits it! He is the tyrant, and a tyrant is ever an impudent calumniator. The Church warns us of the dangers to which the body exposes the soul; she tells us of the infectious weakness that came to the flesh by original sin; she instructs us as to the means we should employ for making it ‘serve justice unto sanctifieation’; but, far from forbidding us to love the body, she reveals to us truth which should incite us to true charity, viz: that it is destined to endless glory and happiness.When laid on the bed of death, the Church honours it with the Sacrament of Extreme Unction, fitting it for immortality by anointing it with holy oil; she is present at the departure of the soul from this the companion of her combats, and from which she is to be separated till the day of the general judgment; she respectfully burns incense over the body when dead; for, from the hour of its Baptism, she has regarded it as something holy and to the surviving friends of the departed one, she addresses these inspired words of consolation: 'Be not sorrowful, even as others, who have no hope.' But what is this hope? That same which comforted Job: 'In my flesh, I shall see my God'. Thus does our holy faith reveal to us the future glory of our body, thus does it encourage, by supernatural motives, the instinctive love borne by the soul for this essential portion of our being.It unites together the two dogmas: our Lord’s Pasch, and the resurrection of our body. The Apostle assures us of the close relation that exists between them, and says: ‘If Christ be not risen again, your faith is vain; if the dead rise not again, neither is Christ risen again’, so that the Resurrection of Jesus and our own resurrection seem to be parts of one and the same truth. Hence, the sort of forgetfulness, which is now-a-days so common, of this important dogma of the ‘resurrection of the body', is sad proof of the decay of lively faith.Such people believe in future resurrection, for the Creed is too explicit to leave room for doubt but the hope which Job had is seldom the object of their thoughts or desires. They say that what they are anxious about, both for themselves and for those that are dear to them, is what will become of the soul, after this life: they do well to look to this; but, they should not forget what religion teaches them regarding the resurrection of the body; by professing it, they not only have fresh incentive to virtue, but they also render testimony to the Resurrection of Jesus, whereby He gained victory over death, both for Himself and for us. They should remember, that they are in this world only to confess, by their words and actions, the truths that God has revealed. It is therefore not enough that they believe in the immortality of the soul: the resurrection of the body must also be believed and professed. We find this article of our holy faith continually represented in the catacombs: its several symbols formed, together with the Good Shepherd, quite the favourite subject of primitive Christian art.In those early ages of the Church, when to receive Baptism was to break entirely with the sensuality of previous habits of life, this consoling dogma of the resurrection of the body was strongly urged upon the minds of the neophytes. Any of them might be called upon to suffer martyrdom: the thought of the future glory that awaited their flesh, inspired them with courage when the hour of trial came. Thus we read so very frequently in the Acts qf the Martyrs, how, when in the midst of their most cruel torments, they declared that what supported them was the certain hope of the resurrection of the body. How many Christians are there now~a-days, who are cowardly in the essential duties of their state of life, simply because they never think of this important dogma of their faith. The soul is more than the body; but the body is an essential portion of our being. It is our duty to treat it with great respect, because of its sublime destiny. If we, at present, chastise it and keep it in subjection, it is because its present state requires such treatment. We chastise it, because we love it. The Martyrs, and all the Saints, loved their body far more than does the most sensual voluptuary: they, by sacrificing it, saved it; he, by pampering it, exposes it to the possibility of eternal suffering. Let us be on our guard: sensualism is akin to naturalism. Sensualism will have it, that there is no happiness for the body but such as this present life can give; and, with this principle, its degradation causes no remorse. Naturalism is that propensity we have to judge of everything by mere natural light, whereas we cannot possibly know the glorious future for which God has created us except by faith. If, therefore, the Christian can see what the Son of God has done for our bodies by the divine Resurrection we are now celebrating, and feel neither love nor hope, he may be sure that his faith is weak; and if he would not lose his soul, let him henceforth be guided by the word of God, which alone can teach him what he is now, and what he is called to be hereafter.
... We celebrate the feast at a certain time, for a certain number of days. We rightly take concrete actions to mark this time as festive and to set it apart from other times. When we do this, entering into the spirit of these days, we can find ourselves loathe to ‘go back’—to the work-a-day world, and what often seems a drudgery, if not an outright crucifixion.But perhaps then the deeper reality begins to dawn on us. To the extent that we really succeed in entering into the feast—and as Pieper points out this cannot be taken for granted, and so we pray to be able to, and we wish it upon others in wishing them a good feast—we can discover the feast behind the feast. We discover the gift behind all gifts.What an astounding notion [philosopher Josef] Pieper suggests: setting aside special time for a festival is precisely for the manifestation of a perpetual though hidden festivity. A festivity that can be ours: if we are willing to receive it, and conform ourselves to it. Then it won’t be so hidden anymore, at least not for us....
V. Et álibi aliórum plurimórum sanctórum Mártyrum et Confessórum, atque sanctárum Vírginum. R. Deo grátias.