Weapons of Love|
The VerbumQUO for today is "exp˙gna" which is the Latin demonstrative verb for "overthrow" or "expunge" taken from today's Introit for Monday in Holy Week in which the Psalmist David cries out to the Lord to "overthrow them that fight against me." What martyr has not prayed this plea while still praying for their persecutors' conversion? They know love and forgiveness will overthrow our fiercest enemy and expunge sin from their souls.
Editor, The Daily Catholic
Editor's Note: This is a new series the editor has launched in highlighting one word from the Proper of the day's Mass. Taking the Latin Verbum and Quotidianum, which mean respectively "Word" and "Daily", 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 etymology 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 Holy Week 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.
Michael Cain, editor, The Daily Catholic
The VerbumQUO for today's Proper of Monday in Holy Week is "exp˙gna" - pronounced EX-POOG-NYAH with the emphasis on the accent and the phonetic bolded part. It is the Latin noun for "overthrow" or "expunge", and is taken from today's Introit from Psalm 34: 1-2 in which David the Psalmist cries out to God to expunge the prophet's adversaries:
Judica, Domine, nocentes me ;
exp˙gna impugnantes me.
Apprehende arma et scutum,
et exsurge in adjutorium mihi. (ibid. 3)
Effunde frameam, et conclude adversus eos qui persequuntur me ;
dic animŠ meŠ : Salus tua ego sum. Judica, Domineů REPEAT: Judica, Domine...
Judge Thou, O Lord, them that wrong me: overthrow them that fight against me. Take hold of arms and shield: and rise up to help me.
(ibid. 3) Bring out the sword, and shut up the way against them that persecute me: say to my soul: I am thy salvation. REPEAT: Judge Thou, O Lord...
This theme is carried through today's Epistle from Isaias 1: 5-10 for Fear of the Lord rules and we have nothing to fear of them that assault us if we are firmly planted in our Faith and doing the will of God. This is the essence of the Gospel today as well, but with a different twist, the New Covenant that emphasizes the two greatest commandments - to love God with our whole heart and soul, and to love our neighbor as ourselves for love of God. With today's scripture passage from John 12: 1-9 we revisit Mary Magdalene anointing Christ's feet and whole body, including His head this time. Again, she feared not and was "not confounded" by man (as the very phrase Isaias refers to in today's Epistle). She didn't care that she might be rebuked by man for she trusted fully in her Master and Savior Jesus Christ. Judas has other ideas for the expensive perfume she is "wasting" on our Lord's feet. Christ overthrows Judas' objection by approving of Mary's actions and plainly telling those gathered that "the poor you will have always with you, but Me you have not always." In that one comment, He had overthrown the intentions of the devious Jews and the jealous Judas. He had expunged and exposed the insincerity of the Iscariot.
The English word "expunge" comes naturally from the Latin expungere - pronounced EX-PUNGE-EH-RAY to erase, wipe away, or force out. Let's then look at Webster's definition:
"Expunge", verb [From Latin expungere, from Latin ex out of, or away + pungere to prick; thus to prick out, to mark for erasure.] To blot out, as with a pen; to rub out. Syn. See ERASE. expunger, noun. expunction, noun Act of expunging." "Pungent", adjective [From Latin pungens, -entis present participle of pungere, punctum, to prick.] 1. Causing a sharp sensation, as of the taste, smell, or feelings; pricking, acrid. 2. Sharply painful; piercing; poignant. 3. Of speech, etc. caustic; biting; also; stimulating. 4. Botany Prickly-pointed; hard and sharp. - pungently, adverb. pungency, noun Quality or state of being pungent; keenness; sharpness; poignancy."
From this we gain a greater insight into today's Gospel for we, in our fallen human nature, think how will God receive me without thinking how will something I do hurt God? What Mary was doing was both fulfilling Scriptures and pleasing Him. The venerable, holy Benedictine Abbot Dom Prosper Gueranger offers the following insight into what Mary is doing:
"Mary Magdalene, whose conversion was the subject of our meditation a few days ago, is a prominent figure in the Passion and Resurrection of her divine Master. She is the type of a soul that has been purified by grace, and then admitted to the enjoyment of God's choicest favors...One of the three gifts offered by the Magi to the divine Infant, was myrhh; it is an emblem of death, and the Gospel tells us that it was used at the burial of our Lord. Magdalene, on the day of her conversion, testified the earnestness of her change of heart by pouring on the feet of Jesus the most precious of her perfumes. She gives Him today the same proof of her love. Her divine Master is invited by Simon the leper to a feast: His blessed Mother and His disciples are among the guests: Martha is busy, looking after the service. Outwardly, there is no disturbance; but inwardly there are sad forebodings...The fragrance of the ointment fills the whole house...The evangelist does not say that this time she shed tears. St. Matthew (26: 7) and St. Mark (14: 3) add that she poured the ointment on His head also. Whether or not Magdalene herself understood the full import of what the Holy Ghost inspired her to do , the Gospel does not say; but Jesus Himself revealed the mystery to His disciples, and we gather from His words that this action of Magdalene was, in a certain manner, the commencement of His Passion: 'She, in pouring this ointment upon My body, hath done it for My burial.' (St. Matthew 26: 12)"
The Abbot's account shows again the tie-in with prior events that all have meaning in the Scriptures such as the gift of the Magi. With the discernment of the Word, we can better understand the beauty of our Catholic Faith and the inspired wisdom of the architects of the liturgy designed for this time of year and why the Son of God not only overthrows death and sin, but teaches us how to do the same by following His teachings which are so rewarding. Judas does not understand this and it is most evident in today's Gospel for he has been overthrown by mammon in thinking only of avarice and greed. Our Lord knows this for He knows and sees the tainted heart of this apostle whom Jesus loves and so much wants to be with Him in Heaven. But here we see again that God does not interfere with man's free will. Even though this is the sharpest rebuke of Judas to this point, it is still done in elegance and charity. Instead of telling Judas he's a thief and an avaricious man and embarassing the Iscariot in front of those gathered in this home, Jesus elevates Mary Magdalene and her gesture. Dom Gueranger says it so well:
"His [Judas] base avarice deprives him of feeling and respect for his divine Master. His opinion is shared in by several of the other disciples, for they are still carnal-minded. For several reasons Jesus permits Magdalene's generosity to be thus blamed. And firstly, He wishes to announce His approaching death, which is mystically expressed by the pouring of this ointment upon His body. Then, too, He would glorify Magdalene; and He therefore tells those who are present, that her tender and ardent love shall be rewarded, and that her name shall be celebrated in every country, wheresoever the Gospel shall be preached (St. Matthew 26: 13). And lastly, He would console those whose generous love prompts them to be liberal in their gifts to His altars; for what He here says of Magdalene is, in reality, a defense for them, when they are accused of spending too much over the beauty of God's house."
How our hearts are saddened! The beauty of God's house has been overthrown by the vulgar banalities of modern architecture, foisted on the faithful by the destructors of His churches, who have sacked the holy places and, as Christ foretold in Matthew 24: 15, set up "the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel, the prophet, standing in the holy place, he that readeth let him understand." The money spent today is on the sacrilegious and blasphemous, while the poor remain with us as Christ says in today's Gospel and are being ravaged by the Judases of the conciliar church whose greed, avarice and betrayal are most evident in their words and actions. Like the Pharisees plotting against our Lord, they do the same, raping souls of the Faith that Christ established out of love to overthrow sin and hatred. Just as Christ prayed for the Jews, so also we should pray for these Judases in our midst today, that they will repent as Peter did and be welcomed into Christ's presence rather than the course they are on to expunge themselves on the rotting tree of Vatican II and have their souls garroted with the noose of mammon. The Abbot adds this poignant advice to stay the course and learn from this Proper today:
"Let us prize each of these divine teachings. Let us love to honor Jesus, both in His Own person, and in His poor. Let us honor Magdalene and imitate her devotion to the Passion and death of our Lord. In fine, let us prepare our perfumes for our divine Master: there must be the myrhh of the Magi, which signifies penance, and the precious spikenard of Magdalene, which is the emblem of generous and compassionating love."
The holy Doctor of the Church Saint Francis de Sales writes in his sermon for Palm Sunday some points brought up in today's Gospel regarding the poor and how they are regarded by the rich, such as Judas in his day thought; so also today's arrogant. We see then, from St. Francis' perspective, Christ's intent on entering Jerusalem as He did:
"This ass and colt had only the Apostles' cloaks laid on them; then Our Lord mounted them; and in this abjection and humility He made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. In this He confounded the world, which overthrows all the maxims of the Gospel, relishing neither humility nor abjection.
"It never ceases to say: 'Unfortunate are the poor and suffering. But how happy that wealthy one is!' ... This girl is also happy because she too is rich, well dressed and covered with jewels.' Others are considered happy because their hair is well curled or daintily braided, or they have a fancy gown. How childish all this is!
"Nevertheless, these are the kinds of people the world considers happy and fortunate. Our Lord turns all such ideas upside down today by His entrance into Jerusalem."
"Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seem to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. - the works thereof are evil - 1 Corinthians 3:18; John 7:7."
Saint Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13: 11, "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But, when I became a man, I put away the things of a child."
We know the strategy needed. The Church Militant then, has its marching orders, if you will, for Holy Week: to overthrow our selfish inclinations and move out of that childish comfort zone that prevents us from giving of ourselves in body, mind and soul to honor our Lord and Savior. We do this by overthrowing our own sins and overthrowing our enemy by doing good to those who hate you. Not easy, but then we should never forget Christ's words from the Cross: "Father, forgive them". Let us go forth this week armed in God's grace, not so much in the vindictive manner Isaias speaks of in today's Epistle, but with the steadfast assuredness of our Catholic Faith, reinforced by the beautiful prayers that enhance the meaning of this week's Propers, encouraged by the humility of our Lord and Savior, the example of Mary Magdalene, and a renewed resolution to conquer those who do not believe, do not love Thee, do not adore Thee, and do not trust Thee, by using the simple, but effective, weapons of love.