Propers of the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

Introit   Clap your hands, all you nations: shout unto God with the voice of joy. Psalm. For the Lord is high, He is terrible; a great King over all the earth. ℣. Glory be to the Father … Clap your hands, all you nations

Collect O God, whose providence fails not in its designs, we humbly entreat You: put from us all that might be harmful and give us all that will be profitable. Through Our Lord …

 Epistle (Romans 6:19-23) Brethren, I speak a human thing, because of the infirmity of your flesh; for as you have yielded your members to serve uncleanness and iniquity unto iniquity, so now yield your members to serve justice unto sanctification. For when you were the servants of sin, you were free men to justice. What fruit therefore had you then in those things, of which you are now ashamed? For the  end  of  them  is  death.  But  now  being made free from sin, and become servants to God, you have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end, life everlasting. For the wages of sin is death. But the grace of God is life everlasting; in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Gradual   Come, children, hearken to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Come to Him and be enlightened; and your faces shall not be confounded. Alleluia, alleluia. (Ps. 46:2.) Clap your hands, all you nations; shout unto God with the voice of joy. Alleluia

Gospel (Matthew 7:15-21) At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit, and the evil tree brings forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that brings not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them. Not every one that says to Me: ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter into the Kingdom of heaven: but he that doeth the will of My Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the Kingdom of heaven.”

Offertory   As in holocausts of rams and bullocks, and as in thousands of fat lambs; so let our sacrifice be made in Your sight this day, that it may please You: for there is no confusion to them that trust in You, O Lord

 Secret  O God, who has justified the variety of sacrifices of the Law by the perfection of this one Sacrifice: accept the Sacrifice of Your servants who are dedicated to You, and sanctify it with a blessing like to that which You did bestow upon the gifts of Abel: that what each one of us has offered to the honour of Your Majesty, may profit us all unto salvation.

Communion Bow down Your ear, make haste to deliver me.

Postcommunion May Your healing work, O Lord, both mercifully free us from all our waywardness and lead us to all that is right.


 A Fifth Extract from Fr P. Joseph: “Healing the Family Tree”

Benefits of trials        It is a mistake to think that every illness and trial is contrary to the gracious will of God. Normally we never know in this life how much good our crosses are doing to ourselves and to others. Practices of self-denial and the generous acceptance of suffering offered to God do much for the Church, for in this way, as St Paul says, “in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of His Body, that is, the Church” (Col 1:24).

The Church is the dispenser of the treasures of the Redemption, and Christ in a mysterious and awesome fashion has made Himself dependent on us, so to speak. Pius XII sums it up so powerfully in Mystici Corporis: “This is truly a tremendous mystery and one which can never be sufficiently meditated: namely, that the salvation of many souls depends upon the prayers and voluntary mortifications offered for that intention by the members of the mystical Body of Jesus Christ”. To escape all suffering is to flee salvation.

Exorcisms      In downplaying curses, I am not denying the power of the Evil One. I have written before on his power to cause disturbances, false visions and false miracles. Apart from genuine exorcisms, which are always beneficial, what about benefits claimed through healing your family tree? In some cases, it might be the removal of demonic influence through renunciation of a sin (e.g., attending seances) – and then the peace and release obtained is mistakenly ascribed to the departure of some deceased ancestor. In fact, the Church’s classic rules for exorcism issued in 1614 specifically say that the exorcist “should not believe the demon if he pretends to be the soul of a deceased person” (Rule 14). At other times, where something genuine seems to take place – the instantaneous removal of a malady, for example – this can be explained by the devil removing what he himself had caused, as a ploy to make people fall for the whole ancestral spirits business. It is the same game when unauthorised people try to cast out demons. The devil then is free to play all sorts of tricks on them, even pretending to leave, since he is being commanded without authority. Read Acts 19:13-17 where Jewish exorcists were overpowered by the demon when they tried to use the name of Jesus without authority.

Canon 1172 lays down that only a priest lawfully deputed by his bishop may perform an exorcism. It is presumptuous, dangerous and disobedient for a layman to undertake such a ritual. Lacking authority from the Church to exorcise, he may expose himself to the power of the demon, whom he imitates by disobedience. The well-known lengthy prayer of Pope Leo XIII against Satan and the rebellious angels is not for use by the laity, said the Holy Office in 1985. I am aware of lay Catholics claiming to have a charismatic gift to deliver people from evil spirits. However much they may be in good faith, their good faith will not protect them. If you know of anyone who might need an exorcist, inform your parish priest or bishop.

Baptising miscarried babies   Another thing doing the rounds is a ritual for baptising aborted or miscarried babies (months or even years after the event), involving recital of a prayer and sprinkling Holy Water into the air. I have met people who have followed this ceremony in good faith. But I must say here that baptising miscarried babies is pure fantasy. Sacraments are for the living. No one can baptise the dead. That idea comes straight from the Mormons. Mormons try to baptise all their dead ancestors, back as far as one can go!

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