Lessons From the Past
by Thomas A. Droleskey
Each day in the liturgical calendar presents us with all of the lessons that we need to know so as to order our lives here below in this passing, mortal vale of tears in order that we might take our places as citizens of Heaven for all eternity by having died in states of Sanctifying Grace as members of the Catholic Church. Our lives are meant to revolve around the vibrancy of the liturgical year. This was one of the glories of the Christendom in the Middle Ages as the very lives of kingdoms and villages and cities and town were centered around the events of the liturgical calendar. The holiest of the days of the liturgical year were "holidays" in the true sense of that word. Temporal activities were subordinated to the joy of observing these feast days with solemnity in the context of Holy Mass and with joy with others thereafter by means of various festivities.
Most Catholics do not have any appreciation of the glories of the fullness of the Catholic liturgical life, immersed as they are in the naturalistic world of Modernity, which is founded in false, anti-Incarnational and semi-Pelagian principles that seek to "privatize" religious belief and practice while the events of the secular realm, undertaken without regard for First or Last Things as these have been entrusted to Holy Mother Church by the very Second Person of the Blessed Trinity made Man in Our Lady's Virginal and Immaculate Womb by the power of the God the Holy Ghost at the Annunciation, take precedence. Most Catholics across the vast expanses of the ecclesiastical divide think and act and speak naturalistically, not supernaturally, believing that there is indeed some religiously indifferentist or interdenominational or nondenominational or political or legal of ideological of philosophical way in which social problems, each of which is caused by Original Sin and Actual Sins, can be ameliorated, that it is not necessary to pray and to work for the restoration of the Social Reign of Christ the King and of Mary our Immaculate Queen.
This is nothing new. The worldly-wise have always believed that they do not need to subordinate their activities to the immutable doctrine of the Social Reign of Christ the King.
Consider Dom Prosper Gueranger's description of the worldly-wise in his account of the life of Saint Paulinus of Nola, whose sanctity was commemorated yesterday, the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, which fell this year on his feast day June 22:
Paulinus, heir to an immense fortune, and at twenty-five years of age already Prefect of Rome, senator, and consul, was far from supposing that there could be a career more honourable for himself or more profitable to the world, than that in which he was thus engaged by the traditions of his illustrious family. Verily, to the eyes of worldly men, no lot in life could be conceived better cast, surrounded as he was by noble connections, buoyed up by the well deserved esteem of great and little, and finding repose in the culture of letters which had already from his earliest youth rendered him the very pride of brilliant Aquitaine, where at Bordeaux he first saw the light. Alas! in our days how many are undeservedly set up as models of a laborious and useful life!
The day came, however, when these lowly careers, which heretofore seemed so brimful of work and prospect, now offered to Paulinus but the spectacle of men 'tossed to and fro in the midst of days and emptiness, had having for the life's toil naught but the weaving of the spider-web of vain worlds.' What then had happened? It was this: once, when in the Campania, which was subject to his government, Paulinus happened to come to the hallowed tomb of St. Felix, that humble priest heretofore proscribed by this very Rome, whose power was symbolized by the terrible fasces borne at that moment in front of him; suddenly floods of new light inundated his soul; Rome and her power became dar as night before this apparition 'of the grand rights of the awful God'. With his whole heart this scion of many an ancient race, that had brought the world to subjection, now pledged his faith to god; Christ, revealing himself in the light of Felix, had won his love. He had long enough sought and run in vain; at least he had found 'that naught is of greater worth than to believe in Jesus Christ.'
A man of so noble a soul as Paulinus carried this new principle, that had taken the place of every other, to its utmost limit. Jesus said: "If thou wilt be perfect, go, sell what thou hast and give to the poor: and then come and follow me.' Paulinus did not hesitate: not for a moment would he neglect what was best to prefer what was least; up to this, perfect in his worldly career, could he now endure not to be so for his God? He renounced his vast possessions, styled even kingdoms; the various nations of the empire, before which were displayed his incalculable riches, were astounded at the new commerce: Paulinus sold all, in order to purchase the cross and follow his God. for he was well aware that the abandonment of earthly goods is but the entrance to the lists, and not the race itself; the athlete does not become victory by the mere fact of casting off his garments; but he strips himself solely with the view of beginning combat; no has the swimmer already breasted the flood, because he stands prepared and stripped on the water's brink.
In holy impetuosity, Paulinus rather cut, than unknotted, the cable that moored his bark to land. Christ is his steersman; and with the applause of his noble wife Therasia (henceforth his sister and imitator), he sailed to the secure port of the monastic life, thinking only of saving his soul. One thought alone held him in suspense: ought he to retire to Jerusalem where so many memories invite a disciple of Christ? Jerome, whom he consulted, answered with all the frankness of strong friendship: 'For clerks, towns: for monks, solitude. It would be utter folly to quit the world in order live in the midst of a crowd greater than before. If you wish to be what you are called,a monk, that is to say, "alone," what are you doing in towns, which surely are not the habitations for solitaries, but for the multitude? Each kind of life has its models. Ours has Paul and Anthony, Hilarion and Macarius; our guides are Elias, Eliseus, and all those sons of the prophets, who dwelt in country places and in solitudes, pitching their tents near Jordan's banks.'
Paulinus followed the counsels of the solitary of Bethlehem. Preferring his title of monk to abiding even in the holy city, and seeking the 'small field' of which Jerome had spoken, he chose a spot in the territory of Nola, outside the town, near to the glorious tomb where light had beamed upon him. Until his dying day, Felix took the place, here below, of home, of honours, of fortune, of relatives. In his sanctuary he grew, changing, by virtue of the divine seed of the Word within him, his terrestrial form, and receiving in his new being celestial wins, the one object of his ambition, which might lift him up towards God. The world might no longer count on him, either to enhance her feasts or be the recipient of her appointments; absorbed in voluntary penance and humiliation, the former consul was nothing henceforth but the last of the servants of Christ and the guardian of a tomb.
Great was the joy of the saints in heaven and of holy men on earth, at the news of such a spectacle of total renunciation given to the world. No less great was the indignant astonishment of the scandalized politicians, of the prudent according this world, of a host of men to whom the Gospel is tolerable only when its maxims do not jar with the short-sighted prejudices of their wisdom. 'What will the great say?' wrote St. Ambrose. 'The scion of such a family, of such a race, one so gifted, so eloquent, to quit the senate! to cut off the succession of such an ancestral line! It is quite intolerable! Yet look at these very men, when their own whims are at stake; they then see nothing extraordinary in inflicting on themselves transformations the most ridiculous; but if a Christian anxious about perfection dares to change his costume, he is cried down at once with indignation!'
Powerful words for our own days, would you not agree? That is, many Catholics who adhere to the dictates of "conservatism" or "libertarianism" or "liberalism" or "Socialism" or "Communism" or any other form of secular, naturalistic Judeo-Masonic "'ism" will indeed tolerate the Gospel only when its maxims do not jar with the short-sighted prejudices of the "wisdom" of their own plans and ideas. Some of the worldly-wise Catholics of today who mock the immutable doctrine of the Social Reign of Christ the King and who scoff at its relevance in the "modern" world even dare to brush aside the true popes of the Catholic Church, whose knowledge of the Fathers and the Doctors of the Church was second to one, to assert that they, the worldly wise, better understand the political philosophy of Saint Ambrose and Saint Augustine and Pope Saint Gregory VII and Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Robert Bellarmine, among others than these true popes did. What relevance can Mirari Vos and The Syllabus of Errors and Quanta Cura and Humanum Genus and Immortale Dei and Libertas and Sapientiae Christianae and Custodi Quella Di Fede and Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae and Tametsi Futura Prospicientibusand Vehementer Nos and Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio and Quas Primas and Quadragesimo Anno and Mit Brennender Sorge and Divini Redemptoris have in our own days, especially here in the United States of America? What relevance? Please see
The Binding Nature of Catholic Social Teaching.
Oh, the worldly-wise Catholics of today assure us that the "better" society can be realized absent a subordination of each person and each nation to the binding precepts of the Divine Positive Law and the Natural Law as these have been entrusted exclusively to the teaching authority of the Catholic Church. The statists among the worldly-wise Catholics believe that the "better" world is produced by the increase of the size and the power of government and by the redistribution of wealth as a result of confiscatory taxation policies and massive regulatory measures. The conservatives and the libertarians believe that the "better" world is produced by adherence to various maxims of "limited government" that provide plenty of room for the lies of pluralism to fester, some even contending that state legislatures have the "right" to permit baby-killing under cover of law if this is the "will" of the people.
Christendom was the "better" world. Perfect? By no means. Of course not. It was, as Pope Pius XII noted in Summi Pontificatus, October 10, 1939, a world in which people were able to live in light of First and Last Things, seeking to address social problems in light of the reform of their own lives, as Pope Saint Pius X noted in Notre Charge Apostolique, August 15, 1910:
. . . . For there is no true civilization without a moral civilization, and no true moral civilization without the true religion: it is a proven truth, a historical fact. (Pope Saint Pius X, Notre Charge Apostolique, August 15, 1910.)
Lost on both the naturalists in the statist camps and the naturalists in the conservative and libertarian camps is the fact that the world will only be "better" if individual human beings cooperate with the graces won for us on Calvary by the shedding of every single drop of the Most Precious Blood of the Divine Redeemer, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and that flow into our hearts and souls through the loving hands of Our Lady, the Mediatrix of All Graces, so as to avoid sin and to scale the heights of personal sanctity as members of the true Church, the Catholic Church. Lost on both the naturalists in the statist camps and the naturalists in the conservative and libertarian camps is the fact that truly good and limited civil government is the fruit of truly good lives lived in accord with the Catholic Faith. Lost on both the naturalists in the statist camps and the naturalists in the conservative and libertarian camps is the fact that the civil state has an obligation to help to foster those social conditions in which its citizens can better sanctify and to save their souls as Catholics, that the civil state must help citizens to pursue their Last End. Lost on both the naturalists in the statist camps and the naturalists in the conservative and libertarian camps is the fact that Catholicism is the absolutely one and only means of personal and social order, that there can be no compromise with the Faith in any thing, no concessions made in the slightest to the evils of Protestantism or Orthodoxy or Judeo-Masonry, each of which is from the devil himself.
Orthodoxy and Protestantism both deny that Our Lord founded His true Church upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope. Orthodoxy and Protestantism both subordinate the Church to the civil state. Orthodoxy makes numerous errors concerning the nature of the Incarnate Word Himself, errors that are at the foundation of the New Theology to which Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI is so enslaved and which leads him to reject the Social Reign of Christ the King and to attempt to pervert and distort the Fathers of the Church to be "witnesses" in behalf of the very things they condemned (religious liberty, separation of Church and State). The individualism and egalitarianism of Protestantism provided ready seed ground for the anti-Incarnational thrust of Judeo-Masonry itself to establish naturalism as the very basis of law and commerce and education and what passes for popular culture. Speak supernaturally? Speak as a Catholic in the public realm? To do such a thing would make one unemployable, unwelcome on television shows, unable to sell books. Are you serious?
Consider this one additional passage from Dom Prosper Gueranger's The Liturgical Year about Saint Paulinus of Nola?
Paulinus, unmoved, withstood all these attacks, and knew well that his example was not likely to be followed by many. He was aware how God manifests in the few what might become profitable to the many, if they would but accept it, and thus is divine Providence justified. Even as the traveller does not turn aside form his road by reason of a few barking dogs, so those who enter on the narrow path of the Lord should despise the remarks of the worldly and profane; rejoicing rather that they are displeasing to those to whom even God is likewise displeasing. Scripture suffices to show us what to think of them and ourselves. So far his own words.
The lessons from the past that are transmitted to us by means of the Church's liturgical year are not for the past. They are for our times day. They are for every time in every epoch of the life of the Church Militant on earth, which is why the suppression or demotion of feast days that began under the false pontificate of Angelo Roncalli/John XXIII in 1960 and was brought to completion with the Protestant and Masonic Novus Ordo service nine years later is so responsible for joining with naturalism's attack on the Faith for undermining the sensus Catholicus that is supposed to flow forth from the liturgy into the lives of us all, into the very fabric of social life itself.
Dom Prosper Gueranger, in commenting upon the life of the Protomartyr of England, Saint Alban, noted how the Protestant revolutionaries in England destroyed the monastery honor and substituted in his own church strange new rites in the place of the ones that had been celebrated in that church when England was a Catholic nation for a millennium:
For a thousand years Alban too reigned with Christ. At last came the epoch when the depths of the abyss were to be let loose for a little time, and Satan, unchained, would once again seduce nations. Vanquished formerly by the saints, power was now given him to make war with them, and to overcome them in his turn. The disciple is not above his Master: like his Lord, Alban too was rejected by his own. Hated without cause, he beheld his illustrious monastery destroyed, that had been Albion's pride in the palmy days of her history; and scarce was even the venerable church itself saved, wherein God's athlete had so long reposed, shedding benefits around far and near. But, after all, what could he do now, in a profaned sanctuary, in which strange rites had banished those of our forefathers, and condemned the faith for which martyrs had bled and died? So Alban was ignominiously expelled, and his ashes scattered to the winds.
How fitting a lesson for our own times! How fitting for the time of apostasy and betrayal, a time when strange rites, based in large part upon the heretical Anglican model, have been introduced and the very Faith for which martyrs had bled and died is mocked and reviled as a putative "pontiff" dares to blaspheme God by esteeming in full public view--and to the delight of so many traditionally-minded Catholics!--the very symbols of false religions that saints such as Saint Paulinus and martyrs such as Saint Alban refused to acknowledge in the slightest once they had converted to the true Faith, Catholicism. How fitting it is that those who adhere to shepherds who make no concessions at all to the legitimacy of hideous blasphemer of God are condemned and calumniated as the "merry making" in the strange new rites that make no place for Social Reign of Christ the King continues with such impunity. Holy Mother Church is undergoing her own Mystical Passion, Death and Burial at this just that is the mirror of that undergone by her Invisible Head and Mystical Bridegroom, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
We turn to Our Lady as the consecrated slaves of her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, giving unto the Sacred Heart of her Divine Son all of our prayers, especially the Rosaries we offer each day, through that same Immaculate Heart. We ask Our Lady to have the fortitude of both Saint Paulinus and Nola and Saint Alban, who was put to death on the same date, June 22, as was Saint John Fisher, the two martyrdoms for England being separated by a span of 1232 year (303 to 1535), in bearing witness to her Divine Son, Christ the King, and to her, Mary our Immaculate Queen, no matter what may befall us, learning the lessons contained in the Catholic Church's liturgical life as we make no concessions at all to the counterfeit church of conciliarism or its synthetic "faith" that makes of the past whatever it wants in order to justify the apostasies and sacrileges of the moment.
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!
Vivat Christus Rex! Viva Cristo Rey!
Isn't it time to pray a Rosary now?
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 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 Paulinus of Nola, pray for us.
Saint Alban, pray for us.
Saint Ethedrada (Audrey), pray for us.
See also: A Litany of Saints
P.S. Just as an interesting point, two of my former students from the 1976-1977 academic year, who wound up marrying each other on May 9, 1981, are named Alban and Audrey. Happy feast days, Alban and Audrey! You are remembered in prayers every day without fail.