The VerbumQUO (mar13quo.htm)

March 13, 2008
vol 19, no. 73

The Sole Formula for Soul Success

The VerbumQUO for today is "peccávimus" meaning "we have sinned" taken from today's Introit from Daniel 3: 31 and the root of the word carried out in the Gospel of St. Luke for Thursday in Passion Week on the greatest of sinners Mary Magdalene, who literally threw herself on the mercy of Jesus Christ at His feet; anointing them with sweet ointment to show her true contrition for her sins. We can all learn the lesson of today's Gospel for we are all sinners and need to repeatedly ask for our Lord's forgiveness for offending Him; for, indeed, we have sinned and cause Him to weep in the Garden, to be scourged, nailed, and crucified for our sins. Will we continue to abuse Him or stand repentant with His Blessed Mother, St. John, and Mary Magdalene at the foot of the Cross?

Michael Cain
Editor, The Daily Catholic

      Editor's Note: The editor has re-launched this series up to Holy Thursday in order to highlight 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 Passiontide 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.

    The VerbumQUO for today's Proper of Thursday in Passion Week is peccávimus the past tense participle for "we have sinned" taken from today's Introit of Daniel 3: 31:
Omnia, quæ fecísti nobis, O Dómine, in vero judício fecísti: quia peccávimus tibi, et mandátis tuis non obedívimus: sed da glóriam nómini tuo, et fac nobíscum secúndum multitúdinem misericórdiæ tua. (Ps. 118, 1.) Beáti immaculáti in via: qui ámbulant in lege Dómine. REPEAT: Omnia ergo...
Wherefore, all that Thou hast done to us, O Lord, Thou hast done in true judgment: because we have sinned against Thee, and have not obeyed Thy commandments: but give glory to Thy name, and deal with us according to the multitude of Thy mercy. (Ps. 118: 1) Blessed are the undefiled in the way: who walk in the law of the Lord. REPEAT: Wherefore, all that Thou...
The root of peccáre, "to sin" is carried out in today's Gospel from St. Luke 7: 36-50 as both "sinner" (peccátrix) and "sins" (peccáta) :
In illo tempore : Rogabat autem illum quidam de pharisæis ut manducaret cum illo. Et ingressus domum pharisæi discubuit. Et ecce mulier, quæ erat in civitate peccátrix, ut cognovit quod accubuisset in domo pharisæi, attulit alabastrum unguenti : et stans retro secus pedes ejus, lacrimis cœpit rigare pedes ejus, et capillis capitis sui tergebat, et osculabatur pedes ejus, et unguento ungebat. Videns autem pharisæus, qui vocaverat eum, ait intra se dicens : Hic si esset propheta, sciret utique, quæ, et qualis est mulier, quæ tangit eum : quia peccátrix est. Et respondens Jesus, dixit ad illum : "Simon, habeo tibi aliquid dicere." At ille ait : Magister, dic. "Duo debitores erant cuidam fœneratori : unus debebat denarios quingentos, et alius quinquaginta. Non habentibus illis unde redderent, donavit utrisque. Quis ergo eum plus diligit ? Respondens Simon dixit : Æstimo quia is cui plus donavit. At ille dixit : "Recte judicasti." Et conversus ad mulierem, dixit Simoni : "Vides hanc mulierem ? Intravi in domum tuam, aquam pedibus meis non dedisti : hæc autem lacrimis rigavit pedes meos, et capillis suis tersit. Osculum mihi non dedisti : hæc autem ex quo intravit, non cessavit osculari pedes meos. Oleo caput meum non unxisti : hæc autem unguento unxit pedes meos. Propter quod dico tibi : Remittuntur ei peccáta multa, quoniam dilexit multum. Cui autem minus dimittitur, minus diligit." Dixit autem ad illam : "Remittuntur tibi peccáta." Et cœperunt qui simul accumbebant, dicere intra se : Quis est hic qui etiam peccáta dimittit? Dixit autem ad mulierem : "Fides tua te salvam fecit : vade in pace."
At that time one of the Pharisees desired Jesus to eat with him. And He went into the house of the Pharisee and sat down to meat. And behold a woman that was in the city, a sinner, when she knew that He sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment. And standing behind at His feet, she began to wash His feet with tears and wiped them with the hairs of her head and kissed His feet and anointed them with the ointment. And the Pharisee, who had invited Him, seeing it, spoke within Himself, saying: This man, if He were a prophet, would know surely who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth Him, that she is a sinner. And Jesus answering, said to him: "Simon, I have somewhat to say to thee." But he said: "Master, say it." "A certain creditor had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence and the other fifty. And whereas they had not wherewith to pay, he forgave them both. Which therefore of the two loveth him most?" Simon answering, said: "I suppose that he to whom he forgave most." And He said to him: "Thou hast judged rightly." And turning to the woman, He said unto Simon: "Dost thou see this woman? I entered into thy house: thou gavest Me no water for My feet. But she with tears hath washed My feet; and with her hairs hath wiped them. Thou gavest Me no kiss. But she, since she came in, hath not ceased to kiss My feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint. But she with ointment hath anointed My feet. Wherefore, I say to thee: Many sins are forgiven her, because she hath loved much. But to whom less is forgiven, he loveth less." And He said to her: "Thy sins are forgiven thee." And they that sat at meat with Him began to say within themselves: Who is this that forgiveth sins also? And He said to the woman: "Thy faith hath made thee safe. Go in peace."

    From the root verb of peccáre we get peccátrix, sinner. The word "sin" or "sinner" per se, is an Anglo Saxon derivation of synn and so we look for English words formed by peccáre and we have "peccavi" - meaning "I have sinned" which has become a common term in the English language as in "I must admit my peccavi." There is also the noun "peccadillo" and the adjective "peccant" which means prone to sin. Peccávimus is pronounced PAKE-CAHV-EE-MOOSE; peccáre is pronounced PAKE-CAR-AY; and peccátrix is pronounced PAKE-CAH-TRICKS. Let's see how Webster's defines these variations of peccáre:

    "Peccavi" [L.] I have sinned. Hence: noun; plural "peccavis". A confession or acknowledgment of sin. "Peccant", adjective - [From the Latin peccans, -antis, present of peccáre to sin.] 1. Sinning; guilty of transgression. 2. Violating a principle or rule, as of taste or propriety. 3. [OF.] Morbid; inducing disease. - peccancy, noun - peccantly, adverb. "Peccable" [See PECCANT] Liabor or prone to sin; susceptible to temptation. - peccability, noun. "Peccadillo", plural "peccadilloes" [From Spanish pecadillo; Diminutive of Spanish pecado a sin. from Latin peccatum. See PECCANT.] A slight offense; a petty fault."

    While the latter might be considered Venial sin - "slight offense" - it is serious sins - mortal sins - that offend God and keep us from the salvific refuge of sanctifying grace. For the catechumens who have been preparing during Lent, it will be their Baptism on Easter. For the Baptized, it is only through the infirmary of divine Mercy - worthily with a fervent amendment in participating in the Sacrament of Penance in the Confessional - that we can shed the shackles of sins. It was to Saint Mary Magdalene to whom our Lord said, "Go, and now sin no more" (St. John 8: 11).

    St. Mary, the former harlot, who had seven devils in her, has become the ideal role model for each and every one of us, for she turned her back on her former life, shedding her lascivious ways and apparel and put on the cloak of humility, even to draw the ire of the rich and, quite possibly, her former clients. There is only one Person Who has her full and undivided attention, and that is Jesus. There have been many scurrilous accounts - most notably in the spurious The DaVinci Code - of an affair between our Lord and the Magdalen and that is blasphemous. Christ loved Mary with a brotherly, agape love, just as He loved His disciples, just as He loves us.

    The venerable Benedictine Abbot Dom Prosper Gueranger writes a beautiful account of today's Gospel in the Sixth volume of his fifteen-volume The Liturgical Year:

        "Magdalene had led a wicked life: as the Gospel tells us elsewhere (St. Mark 16: 9), seven devils had taken up their abode with her. But, no sooner has she seen and heard Jesus, then immediately she is filled with a horror for sin; divine love is enkindled within her heart; she has but one desire: to make amends for her past life. Her sins have been public; her conversion must so too. She has lived in vanity and luxury; she is resolved to give all up. Her perfumes are all to be for her God, her Jesus; that hair of hers, of which she has been so proud, shall serve to wipe His sacred feet; her eyes shall henceforth spend themselves in shedding tears of contrite love. The grace of the Holy Ghost urges her to go to Jesus. He is in the house of a pharisee, who is giving an entertainment. To go to Him now would be exposing herself to observation. She cares not. Taking with her an ointment of great worth, she makes her way in to the feast, throws herself at Jesus' feet, washes them with her tears, wipes them with the hair of her head, kisses them, anoints them with the ointment. Jesus Himself tells us with what interior sentiments she accompanies these outward acts of respect: but even had He not spoken, her tears, her generosity, her position at His feet, tell us enough; she is heart-broken, she is grateful, she is humble: who but a pharisee could have mistaken her?"

    Here this former prostitute, known by so many who wouldn't admit it are shocked that she has crashed the party so to speak. Imagine their horror for she knows their sin as well. Will she tell all? That has to be going through the minds of these pharisees in attendance for they fear exposure. Little do they realize that by their very actions they have exposed themselves only too well, and little do they realize that Jesus can read their hearts. That is why He has so much pity and love for Mary, and rebukes those who object to her actions. We are all sinners, no exceptions, but if we try to hide our sin, it will come out. In the process of trying to hide our sins, we commit so many more because we are governed not by our conscience to obey God and be totally honest with Him, but because we fear what man will think. We place man's opinion higher than God and in that very state we are committing another sin just as the Apostle Paul says in Galatians 1: 10, "Or do I seek to please men? If I did yet please men, I should not be the servant of Christ." If you are honest with God, you will be honest with yourself and have no fear whatsoever of man or the opinions of men. It doesn't amount to a hill of beans as Humphrey Bogart said in Casablanca. He of course was speaking in secular terms, we speak in heavenly terms. That is why St. Mary Magdalene's actions were so pleasing to God, and such an aversion to mammon. The Abbot adds further insight on this:

       "The pharisee, then is shocked! His heart has within it much of that Jewish pride which is soon to crucify the Messias. He looks disdainfully at Magdalene; he is disappointed with his Guest, and murmers out his conclusion: This man, if He were a Prophet would surely know who and what manner of woman this is! Poor pharisee! If he had the spirit of God within him, he would recognize Jesus to be the promised Savior, by this wonderful condescension shown to a penitent. With all his reputation as a pharissee, how contemptible he is compared with this woman! Jesus would give him a useful lesson, and draws the parallel between the two - Magdalene and the pharisee. He passes His Own divine judgment on them, and the preference is given to Magdalene. What is it that has thus transformed her, and made her deserve, not only the pardon, but the praise, of Jesus? Her love: She hath loved her Redeemer, she hath loved Him much; and, therefore, she was forgiven much. A few hours ago this Magdalene loved but the world and its pleasures; now, she cares for nothing, sees nothing, loves nothing, but Jesus; she is a convert. Henceforward she keeps close to her divine Master; she is ambitious to supply His wants; but, above all, she longs to see and hear Him. When the hour of trial shall come, and His very apostles dare not be with Him, she will follow Him to Calvary, stand at the foot of the cross, and see Him die Who had made her live. What an argument for hope is here, even for the worst of sinners! He to whom most is forgiven, is often the most fervent in love! You, then, whose souls are burdened with sins, think of your sins and confess them; but, most of all, think how you most love. Let your love be in proportion to your pardon, and doubt it not: Your sins shall be forgiven."

    We, who are sinners, who have sinned, have this failsafe method to "get out of jail" so to speak by prostrating our heart and soul before Christ and, in the same humble manner of the courageous, unafraid Magdalene, wash our sins away in our tears and sincerity of heart in the refreshing, cleansing Sacrament of Penance. Whether saint or sinner, everyone is in need of this vital Sacrament. No exceptions. If we think sin isn't that devastating, which so many today are falsely led to believe in the conciliar church and secular society, let us listen to Dom Gueranger's sobering words:

    "This spectacle of a whole people bearing on itself the curse of God for having crucified the Son of God, should make a Christian tremble for himself. It teaches him that divine justice is terrible, and that the Father demands an account of the Blood of His Son, even to the last drop, from those that shed it. Let us lose no time, but go at once, and, in this precious Blood, cleanse ourselves from the share we have had in the sin of the Jews; and, throwing off the chains of iniquity, let us imitate those among them whom we see, from time to time, separating themselves from their people and returning to the Messias: let us, also, be converts, and turn to that Jesus, whose hands are stretched out on the cross, ever ready to receive the humble penitent."

    If we open our arms wide to our neighbor to forgive him, how much more will Christ forgive us? Let us remember the words of the Act of Charity all say every morning: "O my God, I love Thee above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because Thou art all good and deserving of all my love. I love my neighbor as myself for love of Thee. I forgive all those who have injured me, and I beg pardon for all those for whom I have injured." For all we who have sinned, forgiveness and repentance in the Sacrament of Penance is the sole formula for soul success!

Michael Cain, editor, The Daily Catholic

    March 13, 2008
    vol 19, no. 73