May 2, 2015, Update and Brief Reflection on the Feast of Saint Athanasius
With thanks aplenty for your patience, work does proceed on the commentary and reflection that I am writing about the riots in Baltimore, Maryland. It was, however, necessary to attend to unexpected errands for the family almost every day this week, and it is just no longer for me to resume writing at 10:00 p.m. given the time that it takes to write and format an article.
I do, however, want to take a few moments well after Midnight to explain that there will be another commentary posted before the one that is in the process of being written.
A reader was kind enough last evening to inform me about a resolution pending in the California State Legislature that result in the removal of one of its two allotted state statues in the United States Capitol. It is only a matter of time before the most recent of those statues is removed as it that of the late President Ronald Wilson Reagan. The pending resolution, which has the support of the New Age, pro-abortion, pro-perversity environmental wacko who is now in his fourth term as Governor of California, Edmund Gerald “Jerry” Brown, Jr. (the first two ran from January 6, 1975, until January 3, 1983; Brown later served two terms as the Mayor of Oakland, California, from 1999-2007 before being elected as the Attorney General of the State of California on November 6, 2006, and had been California Secretary of State between 1971 and 1975), would result in the removal of the oldest of California’s two statues from the United States Capitol. The oldest statue is that of Father Junipero Serra, O.F.M., the great missionary of California. Here is a link to a story about the matter on the sedeplenist Lifesite News website: Pols Say, Father Serra Must Go. Fray Serra’s statue is to be replaced with that of the late astronaut, Sally Ride, who died in 2012 at the age of sixty-one. Sally Ride’s statue, you see, would make a “statement” as she was a practitioner of perverse sins against the Sixth and Ninth Commandments, and this is the real reason that Fray Serra’s statue is likely to be replaced.
As I have a deep, longstanding personal devotion to Father Serra, who is not legitimately “beatified” as Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II was not a true and legitimate Successor of Saint Peter, and have long contrasted his tireless work for souls in Alta California, which is the modern day State of California, with the greedy likes of those who grubbed for gold sixty-five years after his death in 1784, a commentary on this development will be written today for posting by tomorrow, the Feast of the Finding of the Holy Cross and the Commemoration of the Fourth Sunday after Easter and the Commemoration of Pope Saint Alexander I and Saints Juvenal, Eventius and Theodulus.
We live at a time of complete apostasy and its attendant chaos, a time in which those who defect from nothing in that is contained in the Sacred Deposit of Faith are considered “odd”. It is very fitting, therefore, that today is the feast day of the great Saint Athanasius of Alexandria, whose valiant deeds were described by Dom Prosper Gueranger. O.S.B., in The Liturgical Year in such a manner as apply the uncompromising heroism of this much-persecuted bishop and Doctor of the Holy Church, who was exiled on five different occasions from Alexandria, to our very own times of apostasy and betrayal today:
The Court of our divine King, during his grandest of seasons, is brilliant beyond measure; and to-day, it is gladdened by the arrival of one of the most glorious champions of the world of truth for his holy cause. Among the guardians of the word of truth, confided by Jesus to the earth, is there one more faithful than Athanasius? Does not his very name remind us of dauntless courage in the defense of the sacred deposit, of heroic firmness and patience in suffering, of learning, of talent, of eloquence–in a word, of everything that goes to from a Saint, a Bishop, and a Doctor of the Church? Athanasius lived for the Son of God; the cause of the Son of God was that of Athanasius; he who blessed Athanasius, blessed the eternal Word; and he who insulted Athanasius insulted the eternal Word.
Never did our holy faith go through a greater ordeal than in the sad times immediately following the peace of the Church, when the bark of Peter had to pass through the most furious storm that hell has, so far, let loose against her. Satan had vainly sought to drown the Christian race in a sea of blood; the sword of persecution had grown blunt in the hands of Diocletian and Galerius; and the Cross appeared in the heavens, proclaiming the triumph of Christianity. Scarcely had the Church become aware of her victory when she felt herself shaken to her very foundation. Hell sent upon the earth a heresy which threatened to blight the fruit of three hundred years of martyrdom. Arius began his impious doctrine, that he who had hitherto been adored as the Son of God was only a creature, though the most perfect of all creatures. Immense was the number, even of the clergy, that fell into this new error; the Emperors became its abettors; and had not God himself interposed, men would soon have set up the cry throughout the world that the only result of the victory gained by the Christian religion was to change the object of idolatry, and put a new idol, called Jesus, in place of the old ones.
But he who had promised that the gates of hell should never prevail against his Church, faithfully fulfilled his promise. The primitive faith triumphed; the Council of Nicaea proclaimed the Son to be consubstantial with the Father; but the Church stood in need of a man in whom the cause of the consubstantial Word should be, so to speak, incarnated–a man with learning enough to foil the artifices of heresy, and with courage enough to bear every persecution without flinching. This man was Athanasius; and everyone that adores and loves the Son of God, should love and honour Athanasius. Five times banished from his See of Alexandria, he fled for protection to the West, which justly appreciated the glorious confessor of Jesus’ divinity. In return for the hospitality accorded him by Rome, Athanasius gave her of his treasures. Being the admirer and friend of the great St. Antony, he was a fervent admirer of the monastic life, which, by the grace of the Holy Ghost, had flourished so wonderfully in the deserts of his vast patriarchate. He brought the precious seed to Rome, and the first monks seen there were the ones introduced by Athanasius. The heavenly plant became naturalized in its new soil; and though its growth was slow at first, it afterwards produced fruit more abundantly than it had ever done in the East.
Athanasius, who has written so admirably upon that fundamental dogma of our faith–the divinity of Christ–also has left us most eloquent treatises on the mystery of the Pasch: they are to be found in the Festal Letters which he addressed each year to the churches of his patriarchate of Alexandria. The collection of these Letters, which were once thought to be irretrievably lost, was found, a few years back, in the monastery of St. Mary of Scete in Egypt. The first, for the year 329, begins with these words, which beautifully express the sentiments we should feel at the approach of Easter: ‘Come, my beloved brethren, celebrate the feast; the season of the year invites you to do so. The Sun of justice, by pouring out his divine rays upon you that the time of the solemnity is come. At such tidings, let us keep a glad feast; let not the joy slip from us with the fleeting days, without our having tasted of its sweetness.’ During almost every year of his banishment, Athanasius continued to address a Paschal Letter to his people. The one in which he announced the Easter of 338, and which he wrote at Treves, begins thus: ‘Though separated from you, my brethren, I cannot break through the custom which I have always observed, and which I received from the tradition of the Fathers. I will not be silent; I will not omit announcing to you the time of the holy annual feast, and the day on which you must keep the solemnity. I am, as you have doubtless been told, a prey to many tribulations; I am weighed down by heavy trials; I am watched by the enemies of truth, who scrutinize everything I write, in order to rake up accusations against me and thereby add to my sufferings; yet notwithstanding, I feel that the Lord strengthens and consoles me in my afflictions. Therefore do I venture to address to you the annual celebration; and from the midst of my troubles, and despite the snares that beset me, I send you, from the furthermost part of the earth, the tidings of the Pasch, which is our salvation. Commending my fate into God’s hands, I will celebrate this feast with you; distance of place separates us, but I am not absent from you. The lord who gives us these feasts, who is himself our feast, who bestows upon us the gift of his Spirit–he unites us spiritually to one another, by the bond of concord and peace.’
How grand is the Pasch, celebrated by Athanasius, an exile on the Rhine, in union with his people who keep their Easter on the banks of the Nile! It shows us the power of the Liturgy to unite men and make them, at one and the same time, and despite the distance of countries, enjoy the same holy emotions and feel the same aspirations to virtue. Greeks or Barbarians, we have all the same mother country, the Church; but that which, after faith, unites us all into one family, is the Church’s Liturgy. Now there is nothing in the whole Liturgy so expressive of unity as the celebration of Easter. The unhappy Churches of Russia and the East, by keeping Easter on a different day from that on which it is celebrated by the rest of the Christian world, show that they are not a portion of the One Fold of which Our Risen Jesus is the One Shepherd. (Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., The Liturgical Year: Pascal Time, Book II, pp. 403-406.)
We must defend the Faith as we accept the rebukes that come out way in silence as we suffer in joy Christ the King as His consecrated slaves through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, especially during this month of May and on this First Saturday in May, thanking Our Lord abundantly for opportunity to be more perfectly conformed to His Holy Cross and as we seek to draw inspiration from this prayer of Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., to our glorious Saint of this day:
Intercede for the country [Egypt] over which was extended thy patriarchal jurisdiction; but forget not this Europe of ours, which gave thee hospitality and protection. Rome defended thy cause; she passed sentence in thy favour, and restored thee thy rights; make her a return, now that thou art face to face with the God of infinite goodness and power. Protect and console her Pontiff, the successor of that Julius who so nobly befriended thee fifteen hundred years ago. A fierce tempest is now raging against the Rock on which is built the Church of Christ; and our eyes have grown wearied for a sign of calm. Oh! pray that these days of trial be shortened, and that the See of Peter may triumph over the calumnies and persecutions which are now besetting her, and endangering the faith of many of her children.
Thy zeal, O Athanasius! checked the ravages of Arianism; but this heresy has again appeared, in our own times, and in almost every country of Europe. Its progress is due to that proud superficial learning which has become one of the principal perils of the age. The Eternal Son of God, consubstantial with the Father, is blasphemed by our so-called philosophers, as being only Man–the best and greatest of men, they say, but still only Man. They despise all the proofs which reason and history adduce of Jesus’ divinity; they profess a sort regard for the Christian teaching which has hitherto been held, but they have discovered (so they tell us) the fallacy of the great dogma which recognizes in the Son of Mary the Eternal Word who became incarnate for man’s salvation. O Athanasius, glorious Doctor of of holy Mother Church! humble these modern Arians; expose their proud ignorance and sophistry; undeceive their unhappy followers, by letting them see how this false doctrine leads either to the abyss of the abominations of pantheism, or to the chaos of scepticism, where all truth and morally are impossibilities.
Preserve within us, by the influence of they prayers, the precious gift of faith, wherewith our Lord has mercifully blessed us. Obtain for us that we may ever confess and adore Jesus Christ our eternal and infinite God, ‘God of God; Light of Light; True God of True God; Begotten not men; who for us men, and for our salvation, took Flesh, of the Virgin Mary.’ May we grow each day in the knowledge of this Jesus, until we join thee in the face-to-face contemplation of his perfections. Meanwhile, by means of holy faith, we will live with him on this earth that has witnessed the glory of his Resurrection. How fervent, O Athanasius, was thy love of this Son of God, our Creator and Redeemer! This love was the very life of thy soul, and the stimulus that urged thee to heroic devotedness to his cause. It supported thee in the combats thou hadst to sustain with the world, which seemed leagued together against thy single person. It gave thee strength to endless tribulations. Oh! pray that we may obtain this love–a love which is fearless of danger, because faithful to him for whom we suffer–a Brightness of his Father’s glory, and Infinite Wisdom, emptied himself, taking the form of a servant and humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the Cross. How else can we make him a return for his devotedness to us except by giving him all our love,as thou didst. O Athanasius! and by ever singing his praise in compensation for the humiliations which he endured in order to save us? (Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., The Liturgical Year: Paschal Time: Book II, pp. 411-413.)
Saint Athanasius has given us marching orders, and those marching orders do not make us Pharisees, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, or “closed-minded:”
They have the premises – but you have the Apostolic Faith. They can occupy our churches, but they are outside the true Faith. You remain outside the places of worship, but the Faith dwells within you. Let us consider: what is more important, the place or the Faith? The true Faith, obviously. Who has lost and who has won in the struggle – the one who keeps the premises or the one who keeps the Faith? True, the premises are good when the Apostolic Faith is preached there; they are holy if everything takes place there in a holy way …
“You are the ones who are happy; you who remain within the Church by your Faith, who hold firmly to the foundations of the Faith which has come down to you from Apostolic Tradition. And if an execrable jealousy has tried to shake it on a number of occasions, it has not succeeded. They are the ones who have broken away from it in the present crisis. No one, ever, will prevail against your Faith, beloved Brothers. And we believe that God will give us our churches back some day.
“Thus, the more violently they try to occupy the places of worship, the more they separate themselves from the Church. They claim that they represent the Church; but in reality, they are the ones who are expelling themselves from it and going astray. Even if Catholics faithful to Tradition are reduced to a handful, they are the ones who are the true Church of Jesus Christ.” (Letter of St. Athanasius to his flock.)
Let these words continue to be our consolation in these days when it is easier for most people to believe in the mythologies of naturalists in the political realm and the Modernist apologists of false "mercy" and a "God of Surprises" in the theological real, men who esteem false idols, than it is to hold steadfast to the Faith and lose human respect and possibly even earn the mockery, if not scorn, of one's own family members. Who wants to be "different" in this time of alleged "mercy"?
We turn to Our Lady with every beat of our hearts, consecrated as they must be to Most Sacred Heart of her Divine Son, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, through her own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, pledging to her in this month of May to pray the Litany of Loreto every day in addition to praying as many Rosaries each day as our states-in-life permit. We can crown Our Lady as Queen of our hearts by making reparation for our sins and those of the whole world by enslaving ourselves to her Divine Son through her Immaculate Heart, giving unto whatever merit we earn each day so that she can dispose of that merit however she sees fit for the honor and glory of the Most Holy Trinity and for the good of souls in the Church Suffering in Purgatory and here in the Church Militant on earth.
The final victory belongs to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart. We must consider it a privilege that we are alive in these times to plant a few seeds for the restoration of the Church Militant on earth and for the restoration of Christendom in the world.
Vivat Christus Rex! Viva Cristo Rey!
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Andrew the Apostle, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.
Saint Athanasius, pray for us.