Introit We have received Thy mercy, O God, in the midst of Thy temple; according to Thy Name, O God, so also is Thy praise unto the ends of the earth: Thy right hand is full of justice. Psalm. Great is the Lord, and exceedingly to be praised, in the city of God, in his holy mountain. ℣. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. — We have received Thy mercy.
Collect Graciously grant to us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the spirit to think and do always such things as are rightful: that we, who cannot exist without Thee, may be enabled to live according to Thy will.
Epistle (Romans 8:12-17) Brethren, We are debtors, not to the ﬂesh, to live according to the ﬂesh; for if you live according to the ﬂesh, you shall die; but if by the Sprit you mortify the deeds of the ﬂesh, you shall live. For whosoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For you have not received the spirit of bondage again in fear, but you have received the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry: Abba (Father). For the Spirit Himself giveth testimony to our spirit, that we are the sons of God; and if sons, heirs also; heirs indeed of God, and joint heirs with Christ.
Gradual Be Thou unto me a God, a protector, and a place of refuge, to save me. (Ps. 70. 1.) In Thee, O God, have I hoped: O Lord, let me never be confounded. Alleluia, alleluia. (Ps. 47:2.) Great is the Lord, and exceedingly to be praised, in the city of our God in His holy mountain. Alleluia.
Gospel (Luke 16:1-9) At that time, Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable: There was a certain rich man who had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods; and he called him, and said to him: How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship, for now thou canst be steward no longer. And the steward said within himself: What shall I do, because my lord taketh away from me the stewardship? To dig I am not able: to beg I am ashamed. I know what I will do, that when I shall be removed from the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. Therefore calling together every one of his lord’s debtors, he said to the ﬁrst: How much dost thou owe my lord? But he said: A hundred barrels of oil. And he said to him: Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write ﬁfty. Then he said to another: And how much dost thou owe? Who said: A hundred quarters of wheat He said to him: Take thy bill, and write eighty. And the lord commended the unjust steward, for as much as he had done wisely: for the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light. And I say to you: Make unto you friends of the mammon of iniquity, that when you shall fail, they may receive you into everlasting dwellings.
Offertory Thou will save the humble people, O Lord, and wilt bring down the eyes of the proud; for who is God but Thou, O Lord?
Secret Accept, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the gifts of Thine own bounty, which we bring Thee: that these holy and sacred Mysteries may by the working of the power of Thy grace, sanctify us in our conduct of this present life and bring us to everlasting joys. Through our Lord …
Communion Taste and see that the Lord is sweet: blessed is the man that hopes in Him
Postcommunion May this heavenly Mystery avail us, O Lord, for renewal of mind and body: that we may enjoy the fruits of that which we celebrate.
more from Fr Peter Joseph’s paper on so-called “Generational Spirits” and related Issues
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.
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!
No one knows for sure what St Paul is referring to when he mentions Corinthians “baptising on behalf of the dead” (1 Cor 15:29) – but the Church’s teaching rules out any ceremony of baptism administered to those dead and buried. To attempt to do so is the illicit practice of simulating a sacrament.
I have even seen a pamphlet saying that women worrying about miscarriages are impeding the happiness of their babies. Nonsense! Babies who die in the womb are in the hands of God. They are certainly not being detained from happiness because of their mothers’ worry. The author was probably unaware that he had implied in that pamphlet that such babies were suffering in Hell or Purgatory. Both are impossible here.