New pray at home converts: beware of video & CD “Catholicism”

New pray at home converts: beware of video & CD “Catholicism”

+The Circumcision+

Prayer Society Intention for January, Month of the Holy Name

“We wish to make reparation each day, dear Jesus, for those who profane Thy Holy Name.”

A reader has recommended as excellent the sermons of St. Alphonsus Liguori HERE. Video sermons are one of the ways that the wisdom of the saints can be made available to Catholics today. Such unabridged sermons  in audio form coming from saints and approved members of the hierarchy are what true Catholics should be accessing, and this is the topic we are addressing here.

An unsettling beginning to the New Year

It has come to my attention that once again, there is an ongoing effort by certain individuals also advocating praying at home to “collect” those exiting the Novus Ordo and various LibTrad sects by appealing to this younger set via videos, podcasts and other venues. The reasons for concern regarding these efforts will be explained below.

In 1990, my first work Will the Catholic Church Survive…? was released to the public, calling for a papal election. At that time I had been praying at home since 1985. The book explained in depth why Angelo Roncalli and Giovanni Montini were ineligible for election to the papacy, offering proofs of their ineligibility and using Pope Paul IV’s 1559 Bull Cum ex Apostolatus Officio to prove they could never have been validly elected. It also provided dogmatic and canonical proofs that LibTrads possessed no jurisdiction, were at least questionably valid and were committing sacrilege by offering mass and sacraments to their followers. The case for praying at home was then presented on the basis of Bd. Pope Innocent XI’s teaching that one cannot receive questionably valid and illicit sacraments without sinning mortally against the first commandment. That was 35 years ago, when those now promoting praying at home on their blogs and social media platforms were still members of the Novus Ordo sect.

These important proofs were the fruits of long years of study, 10 to be exact, and many trips to the local seminary library to purchase books and fill my library with theological works. But it is following the inevitable consequences of these proofs made public so long ago that people find so challenging, even mind-boggling. For once it is realized that both Roncalli and Montini were heretics (Modernists not to mention Freemasons) prior to their respective elections, as even sedevacantists realized in the early 1980s, such elections were then considered non-existent, as explained in my 1990 book. This was clear from reading Pope Paul IV’s Bull Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, first available in English in the mid-1980s. The 1990 book was the second published defense of Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, first translated into Spanish by Dr. Carlos Disandro in 1978, following the attacks of the St. Pius X Society and other LibTrads. So since the elections of these men were invalid as the Bull infallibly proclaims, nothing whatsoever which followed really happened; it was all an illusion.

 And if an illusion, there was no need to spend any time tediously refuting the errors introduced by Montini and Roncalli — ALL their acts could be dismissed wholesale. This is a truth infallibly confirmed by Pope Pius XII in his 1945 papal election constitution, Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis. No election of Roncalli and hence Montini means there was never a false Vatican 2 council; nor were there ever changes to the liturgy, the sacraments or Catholic doctrine. And ecumenism, condemned as a heresy by both Pope Pius XI and Pius XII was never endorsed by a true pope. All of these things were made null and void by Roncalli’s non-election and Pope Pius XII’s election law and are entirely unworthy of any consideration. THAT is the reality all have failed to grasp. It is further confirmed by St. Robert Bellarmine’s teaching that a doubtful pope is no pope, a principle evidenced in the actual practice of the Church.

So all the time spent in various debates, also constant Internet coverage and criticism of Novus Ordo events and errors has only made it more difficult to discover, address and denounce the true consequences of the vacant see, also Modernist tendencies within the Church pre-1959 that led to Vatican 2. Had the line been firmly drawn at the death of Pope Pius XII and the invalid election of Roncalli and the pre-1959 errors that LED to Vatican 2 addressed once the full extent of the damage was realized, the Traditionalist movement with all its errors would never have predominated.

St. Paul taught, “But prove all things, hold fast to that which is good” (1 Thess. 5:2). The Jews of Berea “Received the word with all readiness of mind and searched the Scriptures daily, whether these things were so,” we read in Acts. Who among even those still calling themselves priests really did this? It was laymen, not the clergy, who uncovered Pope Paul IV’s Cum ex Apostolatus Officio. It was a layperson who insisted upon obedience to Pope Pius XII’s Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis and his teaching that the bishops are entirely subordinate to the pope. Rev. Joaquin Saenz-Arriaga may have commissioned Anacleto Gonzalez-Flores to write The Plot Against the Church, attempting to halt Vatican 2, and he did declare the see vacant and Montini the Antichrist in the mid-1970s. But what was the true value of what he did seeing that he founded the Orthodox Roman Catholic Movement (ORCM) and was later discovered to be a Freemason?!

Failure to provide proofs, credit others

Any research conducted then was never followed through to its logical conclusions where jurisdiction and the necessity of the papacy was concerned. And those still muddling around in the errors of the Novus Ordo sect are only returning to the vomit that led us down the wrong path in the first place. The teachings of the Continual Magisterium must be the focus of any attempts to win souls today, and those still mucking around in the Novus Ordo or LibTrad sects simply need to be told that the burden of proof, according to Canon Law, is on THEM, not on us — no debates, no back and forth, nada. Pope Pius XII drew the line in VAS and we are merely holding that line. If they could prove that infallible document does not apply to them, THEN there might be a discussion, but that can never be the case. Signed papal documents entered into the Acta Apostolica Sedis can never be contested.

Unfortunately other bloggers and social media personalities promoting praying at home today refer to these decades-old proofs but do not refer them to any source; or they act as though these proofs are self-evident or known to their audience in some other way. They do not themselves produce proofs drawn from Scripture, the continual magisterium, Canon Law and the scholastics, as Holy Scripture and the Church demands but only vaguely reference them. And what they do produce is often taken from what is quoted by others. (And my sincere thanks to those who do give proper attribution in their efforts to promote praying at home.)

And while they may warn others against practicing doctrinal minimalism or insist that one must carry the logical consequences represented by the facts through to the very end, they do neither of these things and only continue to further confuse those already swimming in a sea of confusion. This because they resort to sophistry by begging the question, assuming as true that which they have not yet proven as true to those they are addressing. They then proceed to the illogical scholastic arguments known as false induction and false interpretation, owing to the errors mixed in with their assertions.

They are thus in violation of the moral law and Catholic ethics by failing to render attribution to those before them who have resolved theological issues by quoting the popes, the councils, Holy Office decisions, Canon Law  and the works of approved authors. The collection and actual presentation of those facts in logical order, from various sources, is a product of the intellect and is considered intellectual property. And yet individuals presenting as bona fide Catholics and defenders of the faith encourage others to pray at home but do so only by accommodating the research and conclusions of previously copyrighted works written by others.

And what is even worse is their subtle addition of errors to these teachings, making it appear that other authors also endorsing praying at home are in agreement with them. All this is then passed off as THEIR OWN invention and conclusions, and this can result in grave moral and legal consequences. For this sin against the seventh commandment they are bound to make restitution, for some even sell works over the Internet based on the non-attributed works of others. Are we not justified then in questioning their sincerity, honesty and motives and in demanding an accounting?!

Not only do they fail to condemn all LibTrad clergy and their operations as invalid per Pius XII’s VAS, but they also maintain “friendships” with those in that sect and even continue to promote the writings of those who frequent or have frequented it. After a second warning, a heretic avoid is the general rule. Yet despite solid evidence readily available for review that these pseudo-clerics and lay leaders have led others astray and have been guilty of errors in their thinking and writing, these “friendships” are not abandoned. Instead, the same attitude prevalent among the LibTrads is adopted — to label anyone of that sect a heretic is a gross violation of charity. This can only be described as cooperation in heresy and a perfect example of liberal charity in action. And this we have already addressed at length before.

Do videos, podcasts etc. effectively convey the faith?

One of the requirements most crucial to theological discussion (NOT debate) is the following: “Theologians must… be able to teach effectively and clearly” as Msgr. Joseph C. Fenton notes, and any credible journalist knows the value of clear and concise verbiage in explaining complicated issues to the public. Video and Internet commentary and debate, especially if lengthy (some run into several hours!) and punctuated with unrelated queries and minutiae, often interrupts the listener’s ability to absorb the essential elements of theology necessary to understand the true teachings of the Church. Few people have time to sort through such lengthy discourses, and yet this is what they are expected to do to learn the truth.

Such presentations have even been touted as “brilliant.” But discriminating readers who want the full story, as one reader pointed out, will demand more than such disjointed presentations of the faith. They will take the time to read written works examining the various errors of the day condemned by the popes and councils and will ponder them, for this is the way taught by the theologians to truly arrive at a better understanding of the truth. Confusion is to be avoided at all costs.

Until the advent of television in the 1950s, faith was either received by hearing or in written form — study meant reviewing written notes from lectures or taking copious notes from textbooks to process or memorize.  Pope Pius XII heartily approved of the modern means to transmit the faith (movies, television, radio) in his Miranda Prorsus, but only when free from any hint of doctrinal or moral error.  And certainly he was not aware at that time of the actual mesmerizing effects of television, something that would only later be discovered. Over time, television also was linked to anti-social behavior among young people and a lowering of their IQ scores, and this is no surprise. For it is by our use of language that we communicate our thoughts to others by talking, reading, and writing, not just talking alone.

Television, videos and CDs  provide no such exchange. They are a one-way form of communication with no question-and-answer period or the ability to challenge or evaluate content. If not carefully monitored for subject matter, it is more akin to a propaganda tool than an educational vehicle. So if these mediums are employed to promote the faith it must be sparingly, and only in a judicious manner, since these means have never been properly vetted or evaluated by the Church.

One of the reasons CD, podcast and video “Catholicism” is so popular is something I will call fad Catholicism.  Written presentation is “old hat” because it requires the application of the intellect and the understanding.  Videos and podcasts are the way to go, the “in” way to get your daily dose of “truth” from a popular personality appearing on a well-traveled social media platform. It tends to the adoption of a modern-day outlook on things, the development of personality cults and the fan club mentality. It measures truth by “likes,” a nod to the opinions of the mob.

These communication methods may be used productively to summarize truths of faith and direct people to source material where everything appears in written form, confirming those truths. But the complexity of the situation in the Church today is not suited to glib video or audio presentations. Explanations of the various errors and the truths they contradict must be read, understood, studied and studied again. Notes must be taken, if one is serious about understanding it. Questions must be asked and answered by those knowledgeable about the subject, and I have answered my fair share of these. None of this can be effectively accomplished with podcasts and videos, which only produces and further encourages the practice of intellectual laziness.

Are Catholics allowed to debate non-Catholics?

We are obligated by Canon 1325 §1 and §2 to profess our faith and defend it publicly whenever silence, subterfuge or our manner of acting would indicate our acceptance of such errors; that is all. But Can. 1325 §3 must also be carefully considered: “Catholic shall not enter into any disputes or conferences with non-Catholics, especially public ones, without the permission of the Holy See, or in urgent cases, of the local ordinary” (Revs. Woywod-Smith commentary). Revs. T. Lincoln Bouscaren and Adam Ellis comment on this canon:

“This prohibition applies only to matters of faith and to public discussions viva voce; printed debates or conferences are subject only to the rules regarding books.” Dom Charles Augustine states in his commentary on this same canon: “The Sacred Congregation has often expressly forbidden [such debates] on the ground that they do more harm than good, since false eloquence may cause error seemingly to triumph over truth… When such disputations are expressly permitted, care should be taken that only capable and prudent speakers be employed to defend the Catholic side.”

No individual can be a judge in their own case of whether they are capable or prudent. Nor can anyone but the Holy See or the bishop act as judges in such cases. Some have argued that the prohibition of Can. 1385 forbids anyone to publish without ecclesiastical approval, but this is an impossible law to obey in these times since there is no hierarchy to grant such permission. Therefore the law ceases to bind. The higher law prevails, and that law is to defend the faith re Can. 1325 §1 and §2.

There is also the  obligation to aid our neighbor in extreme spiritual necessity, obey the longstanding papal command to supply for the absence of the hierarchy by engaging in Catholic Action and the catechetical apostolate and the duty to avoid the heresy of quietism, which teaches: “…the desire to do anything actively is offensive to God and hence one must abandon oneself entirely to God and thereafter remain as a lifeless body” (Catholic Encyclopedia, 1912). All this can be fulfilled by producing written refutations of error, which is less dangerous by far than debates.

And something else should be considered here — those watching and promoting such debates are guilty of cooperating in the sin of the one conducting them, since the Church forbids  it. Here we see the value of obedience, not attachment to our own will and the desire to engage in worldly novelties.  This is the reason for not presenting our own suppositions and opinions, to obey the teachings of the Continual Magisterium and those theologians approved by the Church and not follow those who have never been approved by the Church to instruct or debate. In this way those approved by the pre-1959 Church are still teaching us, even if we place these teachings in context regarding our current situation. Videos, CD’s and podcasts cannot successfully convey these teachings in their entirety. Readers should not confuse what I only RELAY on this site with my status as a writer or presenter. As Catholics we are obligated to defend the faith publicly — it is not an option.

Putting a price on the faith

So although I greatly appreciate and depend upon the generosity of my donors to meet maintenance costs for my site, I have not stressed the need for readers to donate or made appeals for monetary contributions. I do what I do because God requires an accounting from me. Making an actual business of defending the faith is tantamount to the moneylenders selling their goods in the Temple. Christ did not put a monetary value on what He taught, although he did say that the laborer is worthy of his hire. Therefore, while it is commendable to help support the maintenance of websites that teach the truth it is a voluntary thing. The Church has never demanded that one tithe any given amount under pain of sin.

But on the other hand Catholics should be very conscious of who they are donating their money to and where it might be going. Many people will take the comments or advice of those who they are promoting as great orators or defenders of the faith without really looking into their background and it’s essential that such a thing be done. In many cases these self-proclaimed experts sport degrees or credentials from non-Catholic (including LibTrad) sources, and these should be considered as a detriment, not a recommendation (see the article here). There are those who now promote praying at home who have inexplicably bounced around in their thinking processes and their stated beliefs to such an extent that one could justifiably question the reasoning behind their many inconsistencies. This is especially true if they advertise themselves as well-educated and well-connected.

Case in point: David Bawden once chastised me for neglecting my daily duties to my family by writing to defend the faith instead of devoting time to these duties. This even thought I was writing with my husband’s express permission and my children were nearly grown. Also, I had worked full time or part time since 1987 (retiring in 2020) in addition to my household duties and writing efforts. I felt this was quite presumptuous of Bawden, particularly since he had seldom been gainfully employed and was at the time demanding that we support him (as “pope”). I later found other instances among those claiming to defend the faith full time without a steady income of any kind, relying mainly on their supporters to fund their defense of the faith.

This certainly is not Catholic since our daily duties must always come first. And as stated above, our efforts should not be considered as optional or a service provided to others that should be compensated, but our bounden duty as Catholics commanded to profess their faith when not doing so would constitute a denial of that faith.

Spotting written or spoken red flags

Most of us have been mistaken and fallen into error at different times in matters of faith. But those who then go on to try and defend the faith after publicly renouncing their errors and making reparation for the damage they have caused (whenever possible) must then hold themselves to a certain standard, especially on the public forum that is the Internet. Recent examples of renewed efforts to attract members of the Novus Ordo sect and LibTrads to pray at home are sadly lacking in a complete grasp of the true status of Traditionalist pseudo-clergy, despite their claims to the contrary.  Prudence demands we vet these individuals carefully, especially when we detect the following:

  1. Doesn’t use proper Catholic terms
  2. Inconsistency in statements related to truths of faith
  3. Promotion of works produced by non-Catholics
  4. Cooperation or the appearance of cooperation with non-Catholics
  5. Skirts issues regarding the validity of Traditionalist orders
  6. Does not openly condemn Traditionalism including sedevacantism as heresy (when as one reader has aptly pointed out, Traditionalism is worse by far than the Novus Ordo sect)
  7. Vague references that are not fully explained (ambiguity) or sufficiently cross-referenced
  8. Failure to practice what they preachSelf-promotion, name dropping
  9. Repeated appeals for financial support, especially when voluntarily unemployed
  10. Failure to:
  • follow scholastic form, as they are bound by the Church to do
  • properly attribute sources and faithfully cite the works of others
  • make the necessary theological connections
  • address, correct and renounce errors when corrected (incorrigibility, pertinacity)
  • renounce previous false teachings publicly and retract any errors
  • advise readers of his/her non-approved Church status by insisting on adherence to the teachings of the popes, Councils, Canon Law and approved theologians.
  • Refer readers to the original sources, not their commentaries or thoughts on these sources.


If efforts be made to attract those trapped in non-Catholic sects to the practice of praying at home are to be successful, there must first be a meeting of the minds among those promoting the practice of the faith at home regarding the dogmas on which our faith is based. I have long advocated for this united effort but I have been consistently shunned, falsely charged with teaching error, and my attempts to correct others who likewise advise Catholics to pray at home but who hold false doctrines have been ignored. What I have insisted upon is that the Church’s clear teachings regarding heresy and jurisdiction be properly understood and obeyed if one is to truly sever ties with Traditionalists and other non-Catholic sects and keep the faith at home. The Church teaches only one truth. In accord with the scholastic method, I have repeatedly offered numerous proofs from papal and conciliar documents, also Canon Law, to demonstrate what the Church teaches.

Similar proofs, however, have not been produced by those claiming to lead others to the conclusion they must practice their faith at home. Nor have they bothered, as they are obligated to do, to refute any of these proofs by producing credible evidence they are in error, even though this is required by Canon Law.  Time is a precious commodity and our time on earth is short. Christ could return at any moment, asking why we have not prayed and watched. Praying and watching does not include wasting our time “watching” hare-brained videos. Watching means setting a guard over oneself to avoid the snares of the enemy as outlined above, not credulously lapping up the visually regurgitated meanderings of those fascinated with Novus Ordo deviancy. Those considering praying at home deserve the truth; they deserve a united dogmatic front which the Church has always maintained to support them in making such a life-changing decision. They do not deserve to be led down yet another rabbit hole or diverted from verifying what is said for themselves, only later to discover they were misled and misinformed.

What all should seek is the highest possible degree of unity we can obtain among those praying at home without a visible Roman Pontiff and hierarchy. As Henry Edward Cardinal Manning wrote: “Truth goes before unity. Where truth is divided, unity cannot be. Unity before truth is deception. Unity without truth is indifference or unbelief. Truth before unity is the law and principle and safeguard of unity” (The True Story of the Vatican Council, 1877). Do those accommodating the works of others and sidestepping issues of heresy and sacramental invalidity show any respect for the truth? Are they ”consistent Catholics?” You decide.

And He shall reign forever and ever, Alleluia, Alleluia Amen.

And He shall reign forever and ever, Alleluia, Alleluia Amen.

Wishing you all a happy and holy ChristMass and a Blessed New Year

A ChristMass Lullabye

Hush-a-bye, Hush-a-bye
A great star is seen in the Bethelehem sky.
Our hope of redemption Messiah and Lord;
This sweet Baby-King whom wise men have adored.
They gave precious gifts but Christ Jesus so small, One day you shall give the best gift of them all.
Hush-a-bye, Hush-a-bye, Your Mother must rest
So sweet Babe don’t you cry.
Oh Child of great destiny humbly I kneel
Close by Mary’s side and a kiss dare to steal.
Your dear Mother one day shall hold you as now.
Her tears bathe Your bloodied and insensate brow.
Hush-a-bye, Hush-a-bye,
For us You were born – born sweet Baby to die.

© Copyright 1981, T. Stanfill Benns


Decades-old  proofs that Pope Pius XII was no anti-Semite

Decades-old proofs that Pope Pius XII was no anti-Semite

+ Sts. Rufus and Zosimus, Martyrs+

As the war in Israel rages on and anti-Semitism allegations against Pope Pius XII continue to be lobbed, implicating the pre-Vatican 2 Church in the persecution of those practicing the Jewish faith, those accusing the Church of anti-Semitism might wish to consider the article below written by none other than the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in 1958. This article was reprinted in The Catholic Mind in 1959. It will bring sneers from certain LibTrads all too willing to believe the worst of Pope Pius XII and who certainly will now consider him a “Jew lover.” But it should be entered into evidence as proof that far from persecuting the Jews, Pope Pius XII did all he could to assist them and protect them.  This of course without ever compromising Catholic belief or the Liturgy in any way. All in perfect accord with the command of the Master: “Love your enemies: do good to them that hate you: and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you” (Matt. 5: 43-44).




Wishing you a blessed conclusion of the Advent season this week and every grace.


The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

(What follows below is taken from The Illustrated Life of the Blessed Virgin by Rev. B. Rohner, O.S.B., 1897)

The Immaculate Conception

Now, Christian reader, gather up all the powers of your understanding and will, in order to contemplate the origin and the completion of this mystery. This miracle-mystery, so peculiar in itself, so unparalleled in the decrees of Providence, wrought in Mary’s person by the Almighty God, consists in this great truth: That she, in the first moment of her conception, by special grace and permission of Almighty God, by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of mankind, was preserved from every stain of original sin. This is not a mere pious opinion of over-zealous votaries of the Blessed Virgin; but it is, as you know and believe, the pronounced and expressed doctrine of faith held by the infallible Catholic Church, which Church we cannot refuse our unreserved submission.

Let us, now, in the first place, Christian reader, endeavor to learn something about the nature of original sin, as defined and set forth in the Council of Trent. Adam, the chief father of the whole human race, by his transgression of the divine command, injured not only himself, but also his whole posterity. He also lost, by his sin of disobedience, the sanctity and justice bestowed upon him by God, and lost them for us all. Tainted by his sin of disobedience, he fastened upon all future sons of his family, not only death and bodily sufferings, but also sin, which is the death of the soul.

Thus, all of Adam’s children carry on their brow the brand of sin and shame. Great and disastrous is the evil that this sin produces within us. It robs us of our higher and supernatural life, it enfeebles and wounds our very nature. Frequently the very symptoms of the original grandeur and beauty of this nature become barely perceptible, while the likeness of God, which once shone forth so brilliantly from it before the eyes of angels, has been completely hidden from view. Now, from this original sin, and from all its deadly consequences, was the Blessed Virgin shielded and preserved from the moment of her Immaculate Conception. As our late Holy Father, Pope Pius IX declared in his definition of this mystery:

“It was becoming that the ever- blessed Virgin should be clothed in a garment of perfect sanctity, that she should be exempt from every stain of original sin, that she should win the most complete victory over the old serpent. For she was to be a Mother in every respect worthy of her divine Son. She was to be chosen by God to be the Mother of His only begotten Son, whom He loved as He loved Himself, and who according to His nature was to be, at one and the same time, the Son of God the Father and the Son of the Blessed Virgin. She was to be the Mother chosen by the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. She it was from whom the Holy Ghost, by divine acts of His will and operation, was to cause Him to be born, from whom He Himself proceeds. It was becoming that He who has in heaven a Father, whom the seraphim praise as the thrice-holy God, should have on earth a mother who was not for a moment deprived of grace, innocence, or glory.”

Moreover, the teaching of the Church regarding this mystery of the Immaculate Conception is not to be understood in the sense that Mary did not need the graces of the Atonement through Jesus Christ. It is clearly and expressly affirmed that she was exempted from sin and sanctified through the merits of Christ and by virtue of grace, of grace preventing original sin, as we through the same are cleansed after our birth in holy Baptism. But it would also be a heresy to maintain or believe that the sanctification accruing to the Blessed Virgin by virtue of her Immaculate Conception is the same as is operated in us by the waters of Baptism. True, by the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the guilt of original sin is remitted, and everything pertaining strictly to the true and exact nature of sin is blotted out. Yet the reliquiae of sin, the germ of sin, the concupiscence of our lower nature, remain.

This lingering concupiscence is the reason why we are so early surprised by its emotions, why we cannot through the long course of our lives save ourselves from any sin without the aid of a special grace. But Mary was preserved even from this concupiscence arising from original sin, so that she was sanctified not only in her soul, but also in her body. During her whole life upon earth she, by special aid of grace, kept herself, body and soul, intact from even the smallest sin against God. Therefore the grace of sanctification with which Mary was favored in her Immaculate Conception reached an immeasurably higher degree than our sanctification in Baptism.

Chosen to be the Mother of the Son of God, she was, even in the moment of her conception, so filled with the treasures of divine grace, that the Archangel Gabriel could with truth address her a title belonging only to herself, namely, that of “full of grace.” For the same reason, too, did she excel by far all created beings, even the seraphim and cherubim. This grace was planted in her inmost being, where it struck deep roots, and in her life put forth beauteous foliage and flowers and brought forth abundant fruit. This grace was like a fire which warmed into ardent piety her whole soul, her every thought, her will, her intellect. It was a light which cast its bright rays of heroism, beauty, and gentleness over her whole being. This fire and this light were now to burst forth upon the world, to enlighten and warm it.

Such is the mystery of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin. Christian reader, if you meditate earnestly on this mystery, study it assiduously, you will comprehend and realize that the moment of such a conception must have been a moment of intense joy and unspeakable satisfaction both for heaven and for earth, as well as a moment of indescribable terror to the powers of hell.

Joy in Heaven

By the first sin the tender relations existing between God and man were snapped asunder. Father and child were separated from each other in anger and sorrow. ‘The glorious likeness of God imprinted on the soul of man was turned into a caricature, and became an object of horror and disgust in the eyes of the Creator. Mankind then strayed away from the paths of righteousness and violated God’s laws. At a very early period, even before the deluge, there came, so to speak, a complete break between God and man.

“And God seeing that the wickedness of men was great on the earth, and that all the thought of their heart was bent upon evil at all times, it repented Him that He had made man on the earth. And being touched inwardly with sorrow of heart, He said: I will destroy man, whom I have created, from the face of the earth, from man even to beast; . . . for it repenteth me that I have made them.” (Gen. vi. 5). Century after century sin succeeded sin, shame was heaped upon shame. With the honorable exception of a few chosen people, all men worshipped false gods.

Heaven’s gates were closed against all — that heaven which had been destined to receive into all its glory and happiness every child of earth. Of millions and millions of men who were born, who lived, and who died, not one attained to the possession of the one true God. Things were in this deplorable condition, when, as reckoned by learned and holy writers, in the memorable year of 732 after the foundation of pagan Rome, on the eighth of December, was a child conceived in the Land of Promise, in whose being reposed the fullness of the complacency and grace of God.

Here was a source of joy for the ever-adorable Trinity. But it was more. This sinless creature is destined to be the daughter of God the Father, the Mother of God the Son, and the spouse of the Holy Ghost. With the same complacent happiness that a father looks upon his daughter, a son upon his mother, a bridegroom upon his bride, did the Blessed Trinity look down on Mary, sinless and immaculate. She was the dawn of a bright, fresh, happy day, after a long and dreary night. She was the inauguration of that reign of peace, of grace, and of justice, during which men would adore the one true God in spirit and truth; during which God, in His goodness, mercy, and wisdom, would be known, served, and loved, and during which it would be His delight to dwell among the children of men. (Prov. viii. 31.)

The Immaculate Conception of Mary was a subject of extraordinary joy among the angels of heaven. It is a well-founded opinion, and one not without Scripture proof, that the most-high God placed before the angels the image of His future Mother, in order to try their humility. Here was shown to them the image of a sinless human being, of her who was to be their future queen. At this sight, the faithful angels were filled with holy joy, and seized with the utmost admiration. They were astonished at the boundless goodness of their almighty Creator, they glowed with sacred love for the virgin Mother of their God, and cheerfully recognized her as their lady and mistress.

One of the most exalted spirits, however, a cherub who shone like the morning star, was offended at this wonderful elevation of human nature above the very angels themselves, and even communicated his proud, rebellious thoughts to other spirits, to whom he said In tones of anger: ” I will ascend into [the highest ] heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, I will sit in the mountain of the covenant, in the sides of the north. I will ascend above the height of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.” (Is. xiv. 13, 14.)

On account of their humble submission, the faithful angels became more beautiful, more spiritual, more like unto God. Lucifer and his unhappy followers, on the contrary, were transformed into demons, and hurled down from the heights of heaven to the depths of everlasting degradation and suffering. The inspired Seer of Patmos, the beloved disciple St. John the Evangelist, describes this event in the following words of the Apocalypse: ” A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. And there was seen another sign in heaven; and behold a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns; and on his head seven diadems.

And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered, that when she should be delivered, he might devour her Son. And there was a great battle in heaven; Michael and his angels fought with the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels. And they prevailed not, neither was their place found any more in heaven. And that great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, who is called the devil and Satan. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying: Now is come salvation and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ. ‘Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you that dwell therein. And the dragon was angry against the woman: and went to make war with the rest of her seed” (Apoc. Chap.12).

Thus was the woman with twelve stars about her head and the moon under her feet, as she has from the earliest days of Christianity been represented in the Immaculate Conception, a source of joy for the good and of terror for the evil, even in her remote predestination. How much more heartfelt then was the shout of joy throughout the vaults of heaven and in the very souls of its happy inhabitants when this queen appeared in reality of existence! We can imaginethe angels calling to each other: ” Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array?” (Cant. vi. g.) For the rejected and condemned spirits, this same in- nocent child was terrible as an army set in array.

Their widespread dominion, which, with falsehood and deceit, they had set up among men, was now about to crumble to ruins; for she had at last appeared who was to crush the serpent’s head.

Joy on earth

But men on earth had still greater cause to rejoice at the conception of the Redeemer’s Mother. For God so loved the world, that He sent His only begotten, His well beloved Son into the world (John iii. 16), and for Him prepared a worthy mother in the person of Mary, and for men a powerful intercessor and a sublime image and model. But alas! the world lay buried in darkness and ignorance. Men busied themselves about things of earth, and gave themselves up to pleasures, without taking time to think and remember that their almighty Father in heaven was watching over them, studying their welfare, and in His solicitude for the salvation of their immortal souls was perfecting the most astounding miracles. But two lowly hearts there were that were overflowing with holy joy — the hearts of Joachim and Anne, privileged parents of this grace-crowned child. Who can express the joy that thrilled through the maternal heart of St Anne on ascertaining this wonderful conception? Who can tell her thoughts, or describe her humble sentiments of gratitude to God? But, although this heavenly Jewel was concealed from the eyes of men and remained is yet unsuspected and unknown by the world, it was soon to appear in all its brilliancy to shed the light of joy and comfort over that world. This joy shall endure for all time. As often as the revolving year brings to us each succeeding eighth day of December, every Christian heart is lifted up in exaltation of joy and love at the remembrance of the Immaculate Conception of our Queen and Mother.