Thursday, October 8, 2020

OCTOBER 7th, ANNIVERSARY OF THE VICTORY OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY IN THE NAVAL BATTLE OF LEPANTO


On October 7, 1571, the fleet of the Holy League, under the command of Don Juan de Austria, defeated the Turkish army in the naval battle of Lepanto. This triumph was achieved thanks to the fact that the Holy Father Saint Pius V together with all Christendom prayed the Holy Rosary, asking for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Due to her intercession, Christendom, whose fleets and troops were much less in number, achieved the triumph over the Turks. In gratitude to the Blessed Virgin, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary was instituted on this date.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

EXTERNAL WORSHIP MUST BE AN EXPRESSION OF INTERNAL WORSHIP



Lately there is a much talk about the importance of inner attitude and inner worship. Above all of the modesty and way of receiving communion (the Body of Christ in the consecrated host). The importance and necessity of the EXTERNAL is left aside without understanding that this aspect complements and significantly helps the internal disposition.

There are some who believe that the external is not important or is not SO necessary, and what is worse, they make reckless JUDGMENTS against those who fight for the external, calling them Pharisees for worrying about external modesty in clothing, and/or way of receiving our Lord by receiving communion in the mouth and kneeling down. Thus, they fall into serious reckless judgments since the internal aspect and intentions of people are not known and therefore should not be judged. The interior is not visible, but the exterior is. In fact, the internal is reflected in the EXTERNAL as Christ points out in the example of the Pharisee and the Publican, where the former, proud and STANDING, boasted of his "qualities" and "perfections", while the KNEELING publican humbly manifested himself as a great sinner. As can be seen in this case, the internal attitude was shown and also corresponded with the external one. As is it known, the one who came out of the temple justified was the Publican. 

Even many saints have explained the correspondence that exists between the external and internal attitude, since one helps the other and, in turn, is a manifestation of the most important thing that is our ultimate and genuine intention. 

Hence, how important it is to highlight what the Church commands us, which not only indicates the need for internal worship, but also for a correct EXTERNAL worship, since both are necessary to please God as we will see below. 

What the Catechism of Saint Pius X tells us: 

Q. Is it not enough internally to adore God with the heart alone? 
A. No, it is not enough internally to adore God with the heart alone; WE MUST ALSO ADORE HIM EXTERNALLY WITH BOTH SOUL AND BODY, because He is the Creator and absolute Lord of both.  

Q. How do we fulfill the First Commandment? 
A. We fulfill the First Commandment by the practice of internal and EXTERNAL worship. Let’s see what the same Catechism says with regard to the Eucharist and the form of receiving Communion:

Q. OUGHT THE EUCHARIST BE ADORED? 
A. The Eucharist OUGHT TO BE ADORED BY ALL, BECAUSE IT CONTAINS REALLY, TRULY, AND SUSBTANTIALLY, OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF. 

Q. What do the words: To receive Holy Communion with devotion mean?
A. To receive Holy Communion with devotion means to approach Holy Communion with humility and MODESTY in person and DRESS; and to make a preparation before, and an act of thanksgiving after, Holy Communion. 
 
Q. How should we act while receiving Holy Communion? 
A. In the act of receiving Holy Communion we should be KNEELING, hold our head slightly raised, our eyes modest and fixed on the sacred Host, our MOUTH sufficiently open, and the tongue slightly out over the lips.  

(Catechism of Pope Saint Pius X) 

As we can see, it talks about the need for both the internal and the EXTERNAL, since both aspects complement each other. 

What does Pope Pius XII's encyclical Mediator Dei tell us about the importance and necessity of the internal and the EXTERNAL? 
 
II. The liturgy, internal and external worship 

A) External worship 

23. The worship rendered by the Church to God must be, in its entirety, interior as well as exterior. It is exterior because the nature of man as a composite of body and soul requires it to be so. Likewise, because divine Providence has disposed that "while we recognize God visibly, we may be drawn by Him to love of things unseen." Every impulse of the human heart, besides, expresses itself naturally through the senses; and the worship of God, being the concern not merely of individuals but of the whole community of mankind, must therefore be social as well. This obviously it cannot be unless religious activity is also organized and manifested outwardly. Exterior worship, finally, reveals and emphasizes the unity of the mystical Body, feeds new fuel to its holy zeal, fortifies its energy, intensifies its action day by day: "for although the ceremonies themselves can claim no perfection or sanctity in their won right, they are, nevertheless, the outward acts of religion, designed to ROUSE THE HEART, like signals of a sort, to veneration of the sacred realities, and to RAISE THE MIND to meditation on the supernatural. They serve to FOSTER PIETY, to KINDLE THE FLAME OF CHARITY, to INCREASE OUR FAITH and deepen our devotion. They provide instruction for simple folk, decoration for divine worship, continuity of religious practice. They make it possible to tell genuine Christians from their false or heretical counterparts."

What do the Saints say? 

Saint Francis of Assisi said: “Preach at all times. When necessary, use words.” 

What does this mean?
That with the external we preach at ALL times, and words should be used only when necessary. That is, the external speaks louder than words, even the internal is reflected in the external. 

For good reason it is said: Actions speak louder than words 

Saint Jerome said: 
“Either we must speak as we dress, or dress as we speak. Why do we profess one thing and display another?
The tongue talks of chastity, but the whole body reveals impurity.”

(This applies where there is a contradiction between the internal and the external, because both must go hand in hand, or we would be hypocrites, like the Pharisees. Many ignorant believe that only the internal is enough and that it is not necessary to demonstrate with external actions what we teach). 

"Being careless EXTERNALLY IS A SIGN OF INNER NEGLECT" 
Saint Benedict 

 "The honor of the Ministers of Christ is to follow their Lord, not only on the inside, but also on the OUTSIDE".
- Saint John of Avila. 

Lastly, Catholic doctrine is very well explained in Father Hilaire's book Demonstrated Religion: 

NATURE OF RELIGION: INTERNAL, EXTERNAL AND PUBLIC WORSHIP 

66. Q. What are the essential elements of all religion? 
A. There are three essential elements that make up the background of all religion. They all have truths to believe, laws to keep, and worship to render to God. Three words express these three elements: dogma, morality and worship. 

Religion is the totality of man's duties towards God. Man owes his Creator the homage of his different faculties. He must use his intelligence to know him, his will to keep his laws, his heart and his body to honor him with a suitable worship. Such is the intimate reason for these three essential elements of all religion. 

67. Q. How does man manifest his religion?
A. Man's relationship with God must be translated by internal feelings and external acts, which take the name of worship. Worship is the homage that a creature pays to God. It consists of the fulfillment of all his religious duties. 

There are three classes of worship: the internal worship, the external one and the public or social one. These three types of worship are necessary. 

Religion is not a purely theoretical science; it is not enough to recognize the greatness of God and the ties that unite us to Him: there must be, on the part of man, a real homage of adoration, respect and love towards God: that is worship.

We must honor and respect all people who are superior to us, either for their merits, for their dignity, or their power. Worship is the honor, the respect, the praise that we owe to God. Worship, then, is nothing other than the exercise or practice of religion that certain authors define: The worship of God. 

1. Internal worship consists of the homages of adoration, of love and submission that our soul offers to God, without manifesting them externally through sensible acts. 

This internal worship constitutes the very essence of religion; therefore, it is as necessary and as obligatory as religion itself. Any external tribute that does not derive from the feelings of the soul, would be nothing more than a hypocritical demonstration, an insult more than a tribute. God is a spirit, and above all, he wants worshipers in spirit and in truth. 

The first act of internal worship is to do all things for the love of God; referring everything to God is a duty, not only for pious souls, but also for all men who want to act in accordance with the laws of reason, because reason tells us that, being God's servants, we must do everything for his glory . 

2. External worship consists of manifesting, through religious and sensitive acts, the feelings we have for God. IT IS THE WORSHIP OF THE BODY, which put its hands together, bows, prostrates, kneels, etc., to proclaim that God is its Lord and Owner. Thus, vocal prayer, the singing of psalms and hymns, pleading postures and gestures, religious ceremonies, and sacrifices are acts of external worship. These acts suppose the feelings of the soul, and are in relation to God, the signs of respect and love that a son gives to his father. 

3. Public worship is nothing more than the external worship rendered to God, not by a one person, but by a family, a society, a nation. This is social worship. 

Certain deists seek to rise above popular concerns, accepting no more worship than that of thought and feeling, and no more temple than that of nature. They have, according to them, religion at heart, and they reject as useless all external and public worship. Nothing is more false than this theory, as it will be proven in the next two questions. 

68. Q. Is external worship necessary? 
A. Yes; external worship is absolutely necessary for several reasons: 
1. The body is the work of God like the soul; it is fair, therefore, that the body takes part in the tributes that man pays to God. 

2. Man must render to God a worship in accordance with his own nature; and since it is natural for man to express, through sensible signs, the inner feelings he experiences, outer worship is the necessary expression of inner worship. 

3. External worship is a means of sustaining and developing the internal one. If it weren’t for the exteriorities of religion and its practices, inner piety would disappear and our soul would never unite with God. 

a) Through external worship, man pays the homage of the entire Creation, whose pontiff he is. By building churches and adorning sanctuaries, man associates matter with the cult of the spirit and, through him, material creation pays legitimate homage to its Creator. 

b) External worship is natural to man. This, as we have seen, is a compound of two substances, so closely united to each other, that it cannot experience intimate feelings without manifesting them externally. The words, the lines of the face, the gestures naturally express what happens in his soul. Man cannot, therefore, have true religious feelings that are directed to God, if he does not manifest them through prayers, songs and other sensible acts. A man who lives without external religion shows, for that very reason, that he lacks it in his heart. What son, filled with love and respect for his parents, does not show his filial piety?... 

c) But there is more still: external worship is an effective means of developing internal worship. The soul, united with the body, struggles with great difficulties to rise to spiritual things without the help of sensible things. She receives impressions from the outside through the senses. The beauty of the ceremonies, the emblems, the singing, etc., contribute to awakening and enlivening the feelings of religion. Let a man stop kneeling before God, omit vocal prayer, stop attending church, and very soon he will cease to have religion in his soul. Experience proves this. It has been rightly said: "Wanting to reduce religion to the purely spiritual is wanting to relegate it to an imaginary world."