A Profound Meeting with the Lord

In life we rarely have a profound experience but when we do it is life-changing and brings about a total revolution in the way we see things, in the way we view the world.

On Wednesday the Catholic Church celebrated the conversion of St Paul, a truly awe-inspiring moment, as if it leaps from a Hollywood movie, a man who was going to persecute Christians becomes a Christian himself. My meeting with the Lord wasn’t so awe-inspiring or movie-like, on the contrary I would rather call it a profound discovery of what I believe in, what I ought to defend. Perhaps my conversion wasn’t so dramatic due to the fact the I already was a Catholic who believed in everything the Church defended and what it stood for. So what did traditionalism change?

The first change that occurred was that I grew in my zeal to defend the Faith, what is known as apologetics. In my website there is no apologetics section, or one apologetics article in fact the defense of the Faith runs in all that is published, be it the latest Amoris Laetitia post or the Quran vs the Old Testament article or the Morning After Pill article (here I followed the example set by Pope Paul VI in  Humane Vitae). Defending the Faith, I learned also entails one to defend it at the right moment, for example the Quran vs the Old Testament article was published after a popular Maltese TV show tried to humiliate Catholicism by disguising the Bible in a Quran cover and broadcast the people’s reactions, it was nothing more than a liberal attack on our Faith.

The second change I noticed was that as soon as I started following the Traditions of the Church I suddenly became more convinced that what I was doing made more sense and was more worth it than anything else. As an inspiration on such a reality I would like to refer you to the example set by G.K Chesterton whose literature is both amazing and empowering to read. Chesterton was a Protestant, who became an atheist who then crossed the Tiber as they say and became Catholic. In his literature one could very easily sense that as soon as he touched with tradition as soon as he felt the power of defending what has always been defended by the Church, he could suddenly say: “We do not really want a religion that is right where we are right. What we want is a religion that is right where we are wrong.” Thus  from merely defending the Faith, I went to passionately defending the Faith. Defending without passion is boring, defending with passion makes you a formidable enemy to all who hate the Truth.

Reverence for all that is holy and heavenly inspired a complete U-turn in the way I looked at the Mass and the Eucharist. Recently I have been reading Scott Hahn’s “The Lamb’s Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth”. In this deeply moving, spiritually enriching book there are many quotes which stand out but the one which hit me perfectly was this: “We go to Heaven-not only when we die, or when we go to Rome, or when we make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. We go to heaven when we go to Mass.” This change was so significant that I went from attending Novos Ordo to attending Traditional Latin Mass. The revolutionary call for reverence could only be satisfied and answered by the most reverent, the most beautiful, the most heavenly of Masses, one which for centuries was silently heard and passionately celebrated by saints, blessed and martyrs alike.

Having read this testimony may you too be inspired to go at the very heart of Catholicism. I invite you to explore these beautiful and ancient means of communion with the Lord. Your life would not go unchanged!

Reverence and the Holy Eucharist-I

This article was written by Anthony Sciriha, a contributor and a fellow traditionalist.

CODE OF CANON LAW

Can. 212 – § 2. “The Christian faithful are free to make known their needs,
especially spiritual ones, and their desires to the pastors of the Church.”

§ 3. In accord with the knowledge, competence and preeminence which they possess, they [ the faithful ] have the right and even the duty at times to manifest to the sacred Pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church, and they have a right to make their opinion known to the other Christian faithful, with due regard for the integrity of the Faith and Morals and reverence toward their Pastors, and with consideration for the common good and the dignity of persons.

(The Code of Canon Law promulgated by John Paul II, Washington D.C.: The Canon Law Society of America, 1983, p. 71)
His Holiness Pope John Paul II, responding to a reporter  from Stimme des glaubens magazine, during his visit to Fulda (Germany) in November 1980.

“There is an apostolic letter (Pope Paul VI Memoreale Domini, 29/5/69) on the existence of a special valid permission for this [Communion in the hand]. But I tell you that I am not in favor of this practice, nor do I recommend it.”

Pope Paul VI in his instruction
Memoriale Domini (May 29, 1969):

Holy Communion received on the tongue “signifies the reverence of the faithful for the Eucharist … provides that Holy Communion will be distributed with due reverence … is more conducive to faith, reverence and humility…. It [Communion in the hand] carries certain dangers with it which may arise from the new manner of administering Holy Communion: the danger of a loss of reverence for the August sacrament of the altar, of profanation, of adulterating the true doctrine.” {Sadly all this has happened}

Suffering, Humility and Tradition

I have always been impressed by this Padre Pio, the stories about him inspire me, his miracles leave me in awe. In today’s article I would like to reflect about this simple man dressed in Franciscan garb.

Embracing his Suffering

In an age when the “culture of Death” is often promoted thanks to anti-life laws, at a time when euthanasia has become the talk of the day, we must turn our attention to this humble man who embraced life till the end even when he had to follow a difficult path in order to accomplish God’s mission for him. During his life Padre Pio lived in a state of poor health, at one point in his life he had to leave the community due to his precarious health. In fact this Capuchin friar saw suffering in a particular way in fact he wrote: “The greater your suffering the greater God’s love for you.” In another letter he wrote; “He wants you entirely for Himself, He wants you to place all your trust and all your affection in Him alone and it is precisely for this reason that He sends you this spiritual aridity, to unite you more closely to Him.

Humility

Once I saw a video of Padre Pio walking in church or outside (when his health permitted), only a couple of seconds had passed when people started approaching him to try and kiss his hands. In reaction to such an outburst of love and devotion, Padre Pio didn’t let them kiss his hands at one point in time he even appeared to be in a state of anger to such an outburst. Why? Perhaps the reason can only be described in one word: “Humility”, after all let us not forget that he once said: “You have respect for me because you don’t know me. I am the greatest sinner on this heart.” Padre Pio; a sinner?! I would never say that in my whole life, he was a man whose humility awe-inspired millions, especially me. But Padre Pio didn’t humble himself as part of some actor’s routine, on the contrary he insisted that in humility one can find Christ, in fact he wrote: “When Jesus sees you prostrated in humility, he will extend his hand and draw you to him.”

Traditional till the End

Padre Pio last mass was a unique moment in itself, first because he celebrated it whilst sitting on a wheelchair, due to his declining health and secondly because during the last part of the Pater Noster after saying: “sed libera nos a malo” his stigmata disappeared. For 51 years Padre Pio celebrated the Mass in Extraordinary From, for 51 years a man of deep reverence for our Lord offered the most reverent of masses, which in turn was celebrated by many saints before him who like him faced the Lord with humility and burning love for the Most Holy Sacrament.

At the end of this article I would like to present a quote by Blessed Pope Paul VI who upon hearing of St Pio’s death said: “What fame he had. How many followers from around the world. Why? Was it because he was a philosopher, a scholar, or because he had means at his disposal? No, it was because he said Mass humbly, heard confessions from morning until night and was a marked representative of the stigmata of Our Lord. He was truly a man of prayer and suffering.”

 

St Gregory the Great

As the Catholic Church continues to suffer attacks from within and without, today’s feast to such an important defender of the Faith comes at a crucial and much needed time for contemplation and reflection.

Gregorian Chant

 One of the contribution that St Gregory made to the Catholic Church was a musical one, “the cantus planus” or what we now call Gregorian Chant. Unfortunately today many see such a glorious chant as boring or unnecessary in their Catholic lifestyle. What such people fail to realize is that such hymns were composed at a time of struggle for Christian Europe; a time of plagues and invasions, thus they serve as a reminder of where we came from, our history and identity. It is also safe to say that as Catholics it is our obligation to love such reverent of music after all the saints throughout the ages had sung it as well. Even the apostles sung as Matthew chapter 26 verse 30 informs us: “When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mountains of Olives.” Thus let us never forget what Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said when he praised Gregorian Chant as being: “of huge value to the great ecclesial heritage of universal sacred music.”

Liturgical Reform

For this part of the article I would like to quote from Fr Peter J Stravinskas excellent article on such a matter: “Pope Gregory’s program was really quite simple: To return to the people of Rome a sense of sin and a sense of the sacred. He was indefatigable in pursuing both goals. His writing and preaching on the moral life were insightful and engaging; he also enlisted the assistance of his fellow Benedictines to raise the moral level of what had become a sewer of debauchery, not only by words but also by the witness of their lives. At the same time, he endeavored to return to his clergy and laity alike the lost sense of the sacred. He understood in his time what his successor of 14 centuries later, John Paul II, has stressed in our time: “A very close and organic bond exists between the renewal of the Liturgy and the renewal of the whole life of the Church. The Church not only acts but also expresses herself in the Liturgy and draws from the Liturgy the strength for her life.”

On Harming the Church

St Gregory the Great once wrote: “No one does more harm in the Church then he who has the title of rank of holiness and acts perversely.” An excellent quote said by a saintly pope, who defended the Church from those who abused their power either internally or externally, a Doctor of the Church who nearly bankrupted the Vatican coffers after giving  so much to the poor but enriched the Church by way of tradition and holy piety. St Gregory, Doctor of the Church, Defender of the Faith defend us as we battle the modern heretics and those who seek the Church’s destruction!

On the European persecuted Church II

On the 3rd of August 2016, a group of traditionalist Catholics, who were praying using the Latin rite of the Church, were suddenly and brutally dragged out of St Rita’s church in France. Later in the media, pictures came out of a French priest who was in the church, being dragged out in the most barbaric of ways.

When I first heard such news, I was filled with mixed feelings of despair, anger but at the same time joy. The first two emotions; despair and anger are quite obvious. No, true Catholic, who hears such a news could remain unaffected. Anger and despair, because the French police decided that now is the time to brutally evacuate the church; now at a time when the French Church is still crying after the assassination of Fr Hamal, whose blood flowed from the alter steps after being killed by a Muslim, yes and he was a Muslim, not an extremist but simply a Muslim who was following Surah 9:5. What does this verse say? It says: “Fight and slay the pagans (Christians) wherever ye find them and seize them, confine them and lie in wait for them in every place of ambush.” The reality is that when it comes to France and Muslims the once catholic country is being Islamized. In this article I would like to inform you that the rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris, Dalil Boubakeur, called for the number of mosques in France to be doubled over the next two years. Boubakeur said that 2,200 mosques are “not enough” for the “7 million Muslims living in France.” He demanded that unused churches be converted into mosques. It must be made clear that in this case the church of St Rita was evacuated due to housing development which is going to take place. On that note, around 2800 churches are going to be demolished in the coming year.

Why joy?

There are two reasons why I was in a state of joy upon hearing such a news; that the French priest has been dragged from the church.

  1. This means that Christ words are true, as always:  “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.”(John 15 20:21) 
  2. Joy for, the traditionalist people inside the church, were not overcome by fear or anxiety, they were overcome by love for our Savior Christ. They didn’t make compromise or appeasement with the Muslims; like the Novus Ordo type; no they continued to hear the mass as listened by St Louis IX and his fellow crusaders who went and fought the Mohammedans. The French traditionalist didn’t give holy communion to the Muslims, on the contrary as true Catholics they received our Lord on their tongue while kneeling with deep reverence and affection. The traditionalist do not make compromises with our enemy, we fight them with truth, like St Thomas Aquinas in Summa Contra Gentiles or St John Damascene.

The glory of the Church lies in those who aren’t afraid to be persecuted, who aren’t afraid to say it as it is  and who aren’t afraid to shed blood in defending the Faith.

A Tradionalist Catholic in WYD-II

On Tuesday our first full day in Poland, I paid a visit to the Dominican convent in Krakow. From the beginning I was shocked at how many Dominican vocations I saw. Everywhere I looked I spotted a young Dominican walking, be it in the garden or in the church. You may be asking: “Why is this a shock?” Because in Malta we only have 2 Dominican students studying in Dublin, one brother in progress and me. Four; that is it. Upon witnessing such a phenomenon I couldn’t help but ask myself the question: “Why?”

Here are the reasons why:

1) The Polish Dominican province, has an excellent vocations centre. Excellent in their outreach; be it via website, facebook page or instagram account, the Poles really know how to market themselves. In Malta the reality is different, the website needs furthur updates, instagram doesn’t exist and there is no radio show devoted to the Order (even though the province has its own radio frequency; Radju Marija)

2) The pro-Catholic policy of Poland is a boost to the vocations (not just Dominicans, even others). In Poland, Lech Walesa was once quoted saying: “In myself I am nothing. It all comes from God and the Virgin Mary.” Malta is, on paper, a Catholic country, our constitution says so, the fact that our politicians take their seats at the front of our churches during feast days says so but in reality, in policies this country is not true Catholic, its liberal, secular, Church of Nice kind of Catholic.

At the end of my visit to the Dominican convent, I kneeled and prayed in front of Blessed Giorgio Frassati, whose body was lying for veneration at the glorius church of the Holy Trinity. I asked him to give me and my true catholic friends, the strength to restore reverence to Holy Mother Church and the Eucharist.

A Tradionalist Catholic in WYD-I

On Monday 25th of July 2016, I left my island home and headed for the “farawayland” as John
Paul 2 called it. I was heading for Poland to be part of the World Youth Day. From the beginning I knew that it wasn’t going to be some festival for traditional Catholics on the contrary it was a Novos Ordo fest on the whole.

Upon arrival I saw such a phenomenon. For example the priests who were with us weren’t wearing their cassocks, although some were wearing their cross or priestly collar. To my surprise the Polish priests and seminarians were wearing their cassocks and at last something began to make sense. The Maltese Church has an identification problem. What? Yes the Maltese archdiocese has a problem were its priests (generally) are shy and afraid to wear the proper priestly attire. Many times a day, I would be passing by a seminarian or a priest and I have a hard time recognising whether they are proud to be priests or whether their afraid. I’m
assuming that if they leave their cassocks at home in the wardrobe then their afraid. Like a soldier or policeman who is scared to wear his uniform. Does it make sense? No,for the
Church shouldn’t be one of cowards and people who are scared to identify themselves on the contrary it should be filled with proud yet humble priests.

(Now, here is a point I would like to make clear. In my life I have known priests and seminarians who are afraid to wear their cassocks(nearly all of them),having said that most of them could be identified as priests or seminarians through their deeds and actions.
Although I’m sure that it would be for the benefit of the whole Maltese Church and the Church in general, if all(priests and seminarians) wear their cassocks.)