| Fast on the straight and narrow|
The Verbumquo for today is "jejunare", the Latin verb for "to fast" for that is the focus of Lent and the reason for penance. It is both a verb and a noun and, if one is looking for a faster way to Heaven, fasting is the fastest way. by
Editor's Note: This series highlights one word from the Proper of the day's Mass. Taking the Latin Verbum and Quotidianum, which mean respectively "Word" and "Daily", we we have coined the word "Verbumquo" by contracting quotidianum to quo and running it together as VerbumQUO for this feature series, thus "The Daily Word," as in the sum of the message, the 'quotient', if you will. It is also our hope that in choosing the Latin word with its meaning and etimology more will be attuned to hearing the word read at the altar and better comprehend the beauty of the Mother tongue. Hopefully in this Time of Lent we can gain a higher appreciation and contemplation on how the Daily Proper of the Holy Mass applies in our lives in alignment with the will of Christ and His Blessed Immaculate Mother and His Mystical Bride, His Holy Roman Catholic Church.
e have seen cineres
, "ashes" on Wednesday, yesterday clamarem
, "I cried", and today we concentrate on the means to accomplish our Lenten goals through fasting. Only in doing penance and denying ourself can we expect God to acknowledge our sincerity in fasting and almsdeeds or almsgiving as Christ
asserts in today's Gospel.
And that is why we chose, as the VerbumQUO today, the Latin word jejunare for there are various forms and and uses in today's Epistle specifically that bring home the importance of fasting. We begin with today's Collect:
| Inchoáta jejúnia, quæsumus, Dómine, benígno favóre proséquere: ut observántiam, quam corporáliter exhibémus, méntibus étiam sincéris exercére valeámus. |
| May Thy kindly favor, we beseech Thee, O Lord, accompany the fast we have begun, that we may be able to practise with a single heart the observance which we bodily perform. |
Here it is used as a noun, but takes on many other forms in today's Epistle from Isaias 58: 1-9:
|Hæc dicit Dóminus Deus: Clama, ne cesses: quasi tuba exálta vocem tuam: et annúntia pópulo meo scélera eórum, et dómui Jacob peccáta eórum. Me étenim de die in diem quærunt, et scire vias meas volunt: quasi gens, quæ justítiam fécerit, et judícium Dei sui non derelíquerit: rogant me judícia justítiæ appropinquáre Deo volunt. Quare jejunámus, et non aspexísti: humiliávimus ánimas nostras, et nescísti? Ecce in die jejúnii vestri invenítur volúntas vestra, et omnes debitóres vestros repétitis. Nolíte jejunáre sicut usque ad hanc diem, ut audiátur in excélso Ecce ad lites, et contentiónes jejúnátis, et percútitis pugno ímpie. clamor vester. Numquid tale est jejúnium, quod elégi, per diem afflígere hóminem ánimam suam? numquid contorquére quasi círculum caput suum, et saccum et cínerem stérnere? numquid istud vocábis jejúnium, et diem acceptábilem Dómino? Nonne hoc est magis jejúnium, quod elégi? dissólve colligatiónes impietátis, solve fascículos depriméntes: dimítte eos, qui confrácti sunt, liberos, et omne onus dirúmpe. Frange esuriénti panem tuum, et egénos, vagósque induc in domum tuam: cum víderis nudum, óperi eum, et carnem tuam ne despéxeris. Tunc erúmpet quasi mane lumen tuum, et sánitas tua cítius oriétur, et anteíbit fáciem tuam justítia tua, et glória Dómini cólliget te. Tunc invocábis et Dóminus exáudiet: clamábis, et dicet: Ecce adsum. Quia miséricors sum, Dóminus Deus tuus. |
| Thus saith the Lord God: Cry, cease not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show My people their wicked doings, and the house of Jacob their sins. For they seek Me from day to day, and desire to know My ways, as a nation that hath done justice, and hath not forsaken the judgment of their God: they ask of Me the judgments of justice: they are willing to approach to God. Why have we fasted, and Thou hast not regarded: have we humbled our souls, and Thou hast not taken notice? Behold in the day of your fast your own will is found, and you exact of all your debtors. Behold you fast for debates and strife, and strike with the fist wickedly. Do not fast as you have done until this day to make your cry to be heard on high. Is this such a fast as I have chosen: for a man to afflict his soul for a day? Is this it, to wind his head about like a circle, and to spread sackcloth and ashes? Wilt thou call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the Lord? Is not this rather the fast that I have chosen? Loose the bands of wickedness, undo the bundles that oppress, let them that are broken go free, and break asunder every burden. Deal thy bread to the hungry, and bring the harborless into thy house; when thou shalt see one naked, cover him, and despise not thy own flesh. Then shall thy light break forth as the morning and thy health shall speedily arise, and thy justice shall go before thy face, and the glory of the Lord shall gather thee up. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall hear: thou shalt cry, and He shall say: Here I am. Because I the Lord thy God am merciful. |
You can readily see "fast" is the theme of Isaias' words. One might wonder why the root "jejunare" would be used for "fast" and it is an interesting proposition that takes on even more light in its etimology:
From jejunare we get the English word "jejune", an adjective that most have most probably never heard of, but which Webster's defines as follows:
"jejune" - "[From Latin jejunus, hungry, barren.] 1. Lacking nourishing quality. 2. Void of interest or satisfaction; dry; insipid. -jejunely, adv. - jejuneness, n.
jejunum, n. [From Latin jejunus, empty, dry.] Anatomy The middle division of the small intestine, between the duodenum and ileum - so called because formerly supposed to be empty after death."
Now there, I'll bet, except for physicians among our readers, that is a word few ever realized and we can see why Saint Jerome in translating the Latin Vulgate utilized the root jejunare for the concept of fasting. Notice, a fast leaves one hungry, and you may lack nourishing quality and very well feel the hunger pains in the jujunum. Quite possibly that is when it hurts most and helps because penance is self-denial, self-mortification and it should hurt in a good sense. The hunger pains should remind us that we cannot be fulfilled in this world, but only after death will we be empty of the pain in the jejunum, if you will, for our soul shall no longer feel pain but be freed of all hunger for, as Saint Augustine says, it will no longer be restless for "it will rest in Thee."
The poor are often the ones who suffer from hunger, one reason Christ emphasized the need to feed the hungry, nourish the poor. In fact, today's Station in Rome was on Mount Coelius where nearby was a hospice for pilgrims where the holy Christian senator Pammachius in the fifth century spent his entire fortune on feeding and providing for the poor.
The noted theologian and Abbot Dom Gueranger writes in The Liturgical Year, volume 4 for Friday After Ash Wednesday the following insight on the Epistle on why we must fast:
"We are told, in this lesson from the prophet Isaias, what are the dispositions which should accompany our fast. It is God Himself Who here speaks to us - that God Who had Himself commanded His people to fast. He tells us that the fasting from material food is a mere nothing in His eyes, unless they who practice it abstain also from sin. He demands the sacrifice of the body; but it is not acceptable to Him, unless that of the soul goes along with it. The living God can never consent to be treated as were the senseless gods of wood and stone, which the Gentiles adored, and which were incapable of receiving any other than a mere external homage. Let, then, the heretic cease to find fault with the Church for her observance of practices, which he pretends to scorn as being material; it is he that grows material by his system of letting the body have every indulgence. The children of the Church fast, because fasting is recommended in almost every page of both the old and the new Testament, and because Jesus Christ Himself fasted for forty days; but they are fully aware that this practice, which is thus recommended and urged, is then alone meritorious, when it is ennobled and completed by the homage of a heart that is resolved to reform its vicious inclinations. And after all, it would be an injustice, if the body, which has been led into guilt solely through the malice of the soul, were to be made to suffer, and the soul herself be allowed to continue her sinful course. Hence it is that they whose ill-health prevents them from observing the bodily austerities of Lent, are equally bound to impose on their soul that spiritual fast, which consists in the amendment of their life, in avoiding everything that is sinful, and in the zealous performance of every good work in their power."
If only the "Church" of today still believed and practiced what the wise and holy Abbot expressed should be observed. In fact, the very "heretic" he refers to is today those in the conciliar church who have abandoned God's command to fast, thinking they can have their cake and eat it too. Could it be that other parts of their bodies other than the jejunum are hurting, are empty? Just a thought. And in thought Dom Gueranger refers to "every good work in their power" and here he dovetails into the Gospel which is about almsgiving for most eschew this except out of guilt. Few realize how many graces are provided a soul who gives from his heart not for humanitarian purposes, but for love of God to those who are in need. This definitely does not refer to the twisted "peace and justice" program of the church of Vatican II in moving toward a communistic One World Order and One World Religion for they broadcast it to the world and strive to please man, whereas our Lord in today's Gospel from Matthew 5 and 6 addresses the necessity of doing things for God and leaving it to Him alone to reward, not man as Jesus clearly says in Matthew 6: 3-4:
|"Cum ergo facis eleemósynam, noli tuba cánere ante te, sicut hypócritse fáciunt in synagógis, et in vicis, ut honorificéntur ab homínibus: Amen dico vobis, recepérunt mercédem suam. Te autem fáciente eleemósynam, nésciat sinístra tua, quid fáciat déxtera tua, ut sit eleemósyna tua in abscóndito, et Pater tuus, Qui videt in abscóndito, reddet tibi." |
|"Therefore when thou dost an almsdeed, sound not a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be honored by men. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when thou dost alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doth, that thy alms may be in secret, and thy Father Who seeth in secret will repay thee."|
Dom Gueranger puts it in beautiful perspective and we have to ask why no one in authority in the conciliar church is not willing to speak like he does. Oh, never mind, they are not Catholic and, like he pointed out prior, they scorn the observance of practices and all other traditions that are in harmony with what the infallible, perennial Magisterium of the Church has always taught and upheld - and still does!
Almsdeeds is the third of the great penitential works: it is the sister virtue of prayer and fasting. For this reason, the Church puts before us, today, the instructions given by our Savior on the manner in which we ought to do works of mercy. He puts upon us the duty of loving our fellow-men, without distinction of friends or enemies. God, Who has created them all, loves them Himself; this is motive enough to make us show mercy to all. If He bears with them even when they are His enemies by sin, and patiently waits for their conversion even to the end of their lives, so that they who are lost are lost through their own fault, what ought not we to do, we who are sinners as they are, and their brethren, and created like them out of nothing?"
Rich or poor we are all children of God and no one better than the next. Unless we walk in another's heart, and only God can do that, we cannot judge the heart, but the actions and words? That is another story and yet, we are sinners just as those we accuse of sinning. Who among us will throw the first stone? We are all quick to pick it up and think about it, but to hurl it is to indict ourselves. Once you let go, you cannot play it in rewind. It's gone, the projectile aimed at the object and we will suffer the consequences. Remember what the Abbot said about those who are condemned to hell are those who choose to go there by deliberate disobedience to God, and yet God does not give up on even the most decrepit sinner. So, yes, there is hope for the latter and that includes the leaders of the conciliar church. Through our prayers and penance, our fasting, we make expiation for these men that they will repent of their heresies and apostasy and return to the fold of the True Church that will never compromise her Truths and Traditions. Besides prayers and fasting, almsgiving is a way we can help the True Church, not by contributing to the conciliarists, but to those causes dedicated to upholding Catholic truth. Dom Gueranger further writes:
"And finally, we must in our almsdeeds follow the counsel our blessed Savior gives us; it is the one He recommended to us, whern He bade us fast: we must do it in secret, and shun ostentation. Penance loves humility and silence; it has a dread of being noticed by men; the only One Whose applause it seeks, is He Who seeth in secret."
Truly, we can see, as the good Abbot points out, that in secret we should carry out our Lenten observance and fittingly that is the theme of today's Secret:
Sacrifícium, Dómine, observantiæ quadragesi mális, quod offérimus, præsta quæsumus: ut tibi et mentes nostras reddat accéptas, et continéntiæ promptióris nobis tríbuat facultátem.
| Grant, we pray Thee, O Lord, that the sacrifice of the Lenten observance, which we offer, may both render our souls acceptable and give us the power of a readier self-denial. |
This is reinforced in the Communion Prayer taken from Psalm 2: 11-12 in which the prophet David says:
| Servite Dómino in timóre, et exsultáte ei cum tremóre: apprehéndite disciplínam, ne pereátis de via justa. |
| Serve ye the Lord with fear: and rejoice unto Him with trembling. Embrace discipline, lest you perish from the just way. |
Powerful words that remind us that unless we pray, do penance, fast and give alms, we are not embracing the necessary discipline and if we do not, we could very well perish because God is a just judge and He will arbitrate according to our hearts. In today's Postcommunion we plead for God's love and mercy, something He gives so freely and so plentiful if we but do what He asks. In truth praying, fasting and almsgiving is a very small price to pay for all He has done for us and what He is offering. Why are so many blinded to this loving truth?In the Postcommunion Prayer we see that we can be soul-beautiful, abs of heavenly steel, through fasting. What great rewards await those who are dedicated to this steady "diet", if you will, of the heavenly Manna provided to us through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
| Spiritum nobis, Dómine, tuére caritátis infúnde: ut, quos uno Pane Cælésti satiásti, tua fácias pietáte concórdes. |
| Pour forth upon us, O Lord, the spirit of Thy love, that by Thy mercy, Thou mayest make those to be of one mind, whom Thou hast fed with the one Bread from Heaven. |
And it is His Heart - His Most Sacred Heart that beats so lovingly for His children that He has given us all the nourishment we need to withstand the pains in the jejune of the body and soul, with the Manna from Heaven that never grows stale. And there is only one way to obtain this miraculous Manna and that is in the infrangible Latin Mass of Tradition established by Christ, formatted by His Apostles and set in stone by the infallible, dogmatic Council of Trent and codified in perpetuity by His Holiness Pope Saint Pius V for all time. Accept no substitutes, there is only One true Holy Eucharist that can only be confected from the bread and wine offered and consecrated with the exact words St. Pius identified: HOC EST ENIM CORPUS MEUM and HIC EST ENIM CALIX SANGUINIS MEI, NOVI ET AETERNI TESTAMENTI: MYSTERIUM FIDEI: QUO PRO VOBIS ET PRO MULTIS EFFUNDETUR IN REMISSIONEM PECCATORUM "FOR THIS IS MY BODY" and "FOR THIS IS THE CHALICE OF MY BLOOD, OF THE NEEW AND ETERNAL TESTAMENT: THE MYSTERY OF FAITH: WHICH SHALL BE SHED FOR YOU AND FOR MANY UNTO THE REMISSION OF SINS."
Accept no substitutes. The Anglican rite is invalid as Pope Leo XIII proved and decreed; so also the Novus Ordo for to change the words alters the Sacrifice and true essence of the Holy Mass. The bread remains bread, or cookies as we can see in the aberrations in the Novus Ordo today with every shape, size and ingredient, gravely violating Pope St. Pius V's De defectibus and rendering it not the Blessed Sacrament, but a sacrilege, all the more a sacrilege because it is not pleasing to God and, as we can see from Holy Writ, worthless.
Lent has a purpose to condition us, and to sustain us, we have the true bread of Heaven confected only on Traditional Catholic altars, where only through the sacred and absolute words above the Transubstantiation can take place. Maybe that is why the conciliar church has de-emphasized, nay, done away with the whole concept of fasting and penance. Strange, though, they have not chucked almsgiving. Interesting how they pick and choose, hey? Those serious Authentic Roman Catholics know there is a price to pay to get our souls fit and our bodies conditioned as well so that we do not fall into temptation, and to sustain us in our fasting the only power-up is the Holy Eucharist, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity - the one and only Supplement that is not only everlasting but provides for us the ideal regimen to keep us fast on the straight and narrow. Michael Cain, editor, DailyCatholic
VerbumQUO for Friday after Ash Wednesday