The VerbumQUO (feb24quo.htm)

February 24, 2006
vol 17, no. 42

The Sweet Yoke of Strength

The Verbumquo for today is "confortatus", the Latin word for "strengthened" which is so appropriate considering this is the Double of the Second Class Feast of Saint Matthias, chosen to replace the weak link: Judas. Through the grace of the Holy Ghost, the Apostles were indeed strengthened and we, too, can be if we willingly take on the sweet yoke.

Michael Cain
Editor, The Daily Catholic

      Editor's Note: This is a new series the editor is launching 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 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 Septuagesima and 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.

    On this Double of the Second Class Feast of Saint Matthias, the holy Apostle chosen by lots, the verbumQUO is "confortatus", which means "strengthened." It is taken from both today's Introit Mihi autem nimis and Gradual from Psalm 138: 17.
Mihi autem nimis honorati sunt amici tui, Deus : nimis confortatus est principatus eorum.
To me Thy friends, O God, are made exceedingly honorable : their principality is exceedingly strengthened.

    We can easily see in today's Epistle, written by Saint Luke how "their principality is exceedingly strengthened" for the ranks of the Apostles were strengthened with the selection of Matthias. This Epistle deals with the weakest link in the chain of Twelve personally hand-picked by our Lord in His public ministry. Christ's purpose was to strengthen the Church, as Psalm 138: 18 states: "Dinumerabo eos, et super arenam multiplicabuntur" - "I will number them, and they shall be multiplied above the sand." The God-Man established twelve for a purpose, to replace in the New Covenant the Twelve Tribes of Israel with Twelve Apostles who would, as our Lord's promise in Matthew 19: 28 confirms in today's Communion verse:
Vos, qui secuti estis me, sedebitis super sedes, judicantes duodecim tribus Israel.
You who have followed Me shall sit on seats judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

    We know from Holy Writ and the Teachings and Traditions of Holy Mother Church that those who sit on the seats judging must be of the character to emulate Christ in virtue and value, they must be strong in their Faith, strengthened through the trial of fire as we saw in the Epistle for the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter at Antioch and highlighted in our VerbumQUO Rock of All Ages When one is tried, they become stronger, thus strengthened.

    The Latin root for strengthened is fortificare. The word "strength" per se is an Anglo Saxon derivation, but its meaning is to strengthen from which we get fort and fortify. The Latin confortatus is translated "against the fort" or to fortify the walls, thus reinforcing and improving facilities against all attacks that would be launched; hence it would be strengthened. The Latin adverb con which is an abbreviation of the Latin contra means "against" or "in opposition to." Combined with the Latin noun fortis and the verb in conjunction with the preceding ficare meaning "to make", we derive the Latin word con-fortatus from the verb fortificare: to make a fort against, or to make strong. Webster's defines fortificare thusly:

        fortify - "To give physical strength; to invigorate; to add mental and moral strength to; to confirm; to enrich;" and finally, "to strengthen and secure by forts or batteries."

    We can see just from today's Epistle how the Apostles needed some good news, to be strengthened themselves. The man they had come to trust with handling the finances - for they too had to earn their daily bread even if they were living in community - that very man whom the Master Himself had selected had betrayed not only Christ but them as well. They had to realize this as, other than the beloved disciple the Apostle John, the rest were cloaked in fear of also being discovered as His followers. After all they had been in those very same locales that Jesus and Judas had been. Surely someone would be able to identify them. The Holy Ghost was strong, but considering man's fallen human nature and their track record as cowards up until the descent of the Advocate upon them, they had to be feeling like everything was falling apart. Consider how they might possibly have written off the last three years while they huddled in hiding as their Master, the Man they had placed all their trust and lives in, was being treated like a villain, like an animal being led to the slaughter along the Via Dolorosa. Even if in their hearts they still believed, outside they could hear the reality of the moment: The crowds were in a frenzy, the same people who had heaped so much praise and hope on the Carpenter from Nazareth Who had so strengthened their hopes, were now dashing those very hopes and fear had to have set in with those in hiding. If not, why were they hiding?

    The apostles had been in on a good thing - everlasting life - and had invested their lives in seeing it through. Now it seemingly had all fallen apart. While their hearts ached so and their minds raced in confusion and hindsight, on the summit of Golgotha no compassion was shown, no heart whatsoever, merely wicked sport by both Roman and Jew to please the people and to assuage the miserable despots in the temple, not to mention politics with the mighty empire. Judas had placed all his bets on Christ being the great leader Who would rise up and lead His motley band of apostles, rallying the mass of people to revolt and overthrow both Rome and the hypocrites among the Scribes and Pharisees. But the Iscariot had turned traitor. Who else among them could they trust? If Judas sold out, what hope was left of their fortunes? After all if Christ were truly the Messiah and all-knowing, would He have invited a snake like Judas into His close company? Surely He couldn't make that mistake, yet He did in their eyes. Can you imagine the doubts that must have slithered into their troubled and somewhat guilty minds and hearts during those long, "dark nights of the soul" while Christ lay in the sepulchre? I'm sure despair raised its ugly head with more than just Judas. The difference: Judas gave in, the others held out just as so many saints and sinners since right up to our present day.

    We see this same confusion on the faces and remarks of so many Catholics today who say, "Surely the Pope will not allow this heresy and apostasy, these aberrations to continue. Soon he'll right the ship and rid the church of these rotten rascals." But those who know, those who have remained faithful despite all the innovations and ambiguities that have reduced the once majestic Catholic Church to a country club or a joke (take your pick) can attest that the same was said of John XXIII, then Paul VI, then John Paul II for 28 long, grueling years, and now Benedict XVI. And still these conciliar popes continued the course of weakening, not strengthening the ranks. When will we learn? So many ask why and the answer is simple: free will. Just as Judas had a free will, so also the men who have gained power within the Vatican over the past 50 years and have had an integral role in the destruction of the Faith had a free will. Not only the Vatican, but the College of Cardinals, chanceries, deaneries, and parishes were well-instructed in Catholic Truth. Consider all the bishops and periti in attendance at the ignominious Council of Vatican II. Few were dummies. Everyone of them had a college degree, most doctorates in one or more studies. Every last ordained had not only had at least three years of moral theology but had vowed to God that they would not violate the Oath they had taken - the Oath Against Modernism. And yet...

    Were these men all men of bad will? No, I can't say that. Some were and had long planned the infiltration, the sabotage of the sacred, but most trusted. That was the problem, they let down their guard and what was a strong chain of the hierarchy became weaker because a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. And as the years progressed and the abuses mounted, a man of good will would have questioned what was going on just for his own spiritual survival, but few did. Oh, we know the names today of those who resisted the revolt; men who today have been villified by the same calibre of men who shouted in the Roman courtyard "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" The names are the heroes of our times to those who, like the Apostles, hold out hope, faith and love that all Christ said was true and that their efforts were not in vain: Men like Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Bishop Antonio Castro de Meyer, Abbe Georges de Nantes, Archbishop Pierre Marie Ngo Dinh Thuc, Dietrich von Hildebrand and Father Gommar De Pauw to name just a few traditional giants who, without their contributions, the True Roman Catholic Church would definitely be much, much weaker.

    Like the Apostles, these modern apostles were strengthened in their Faith because they not only knew their Faith, but had faith that God would not fail them. No matter that the vast majority turned on them, they did not surrender. The Gospel for today's Mass, taken from Matthew 11: 25-30 attests from the Lord Himself:
"Confiteor Tibi, Pater, Domine Caeli et terrae, quia abscondisti haec a sapientibus et prundentibus, et revalasti ea pavulis. Ita Pater: Quoniam sic fuit placitum ante te. Omnia Mihi tradita sunt a Filium, nisi Pater: neque Patrem Quis novit Filiu, nisi Paer: neque Patrem Quis novit, nisi ilius, et cui voluerit Filiusrevelare. Venite ad Me omnes, qui lareficiam vos. Tollit jugum Meum super vos, et discite a Me, quia mitis sum, et humulis corde: et invenietris requiem animabus vestries. Jugum enim Meum usave est, et onus jeum leve."
"I praise Thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little ones. yea, Father: for so it hath seemed good in Thy sight. all things are delivered to Me by My Father; and no one knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither doth anyone know the Father, but the Son, and he to whom it shall please the Son to reveal Him. Come to Me, all you that labor, and are burdened; and I will refresh you. Take up My yoke upon you, and learn of Me, because I am meek, and humble of heart, and you shall find rest to your souls: for My yoke is sweet and My burden light."

    To those men listed and the noble cadre of leaders and faithful among the clergy and laity in the traditional movement today who refuse to compromise, they are the "little ones" who care not for glory or perks, care not for what the world thinks but realize the fruits of their labor will be well rewarded in Heaven for their fiat on this earth is refreshed - "strengthened" if you will - and they have learned through trial of fire (as we saw in Wednesday's Epistle for the Feast of the Chair of Peter). The renowned Abbot Dom Gueranger writes in Volume 4 of The Liturgical Year for the Time of Septuagesima on what we must gird ourselves with to be strengthened:

    "Faith and knowledge. Faith humbles her, and then exalts and rewards her; and the reward is knowledge. Here we have a summary of what the Church teaches us during the two seasons of Septuagesima and Lent. Let us thank the holy apostle, on this his feast, for leaving us such a lesson of spiritual wisdom and fortitude."

    In this way, through humility of Faith we will find that we are soothed and get plenty of spiritual R&R while yet being fortified. The heaviness of the unknown and worries and concerns of the world will melt away the irreligious fat we carry around; the same flab that weighs us down with temporal things that tend to blind us because our cheeks are so puffed up with pride and keep us from seeing, truly seeing, the sweet yoke of strength.

Michael Cain, editor, The Daily Catholic

    February 24, 2006
    vol 17, no. 42