Carissimi: Sunday’s Mass; St Charles Borromeo

St Charles Borromeo, Bishop Confessor; Commemoration of Sunday IV Post Epiphany: Missa “Statuit ei Dominus

No age of the Catholic Church’s history is without its share of confusion and corruption. Still, even in moments when disorder may seem overwhelming, individuals and movements eventually arise to propose the faith with clarity and demonstrate it in action. St. Charles Borromeo, a central figure in the Council of Trent, is remembered on November 4, as a model of such leadership in difficult times.

The circumstances of Charles’ birth, in 1538, could have easily allowed him to join the ranks of corrupt Renaissance-era clergy. He was born into luxury, the son of noble parents, with a guaranteed income comparable to modern “trust funds.” Early on, however, the young man signaled his intention to go against the cultural grain. He announced his desire to serve the Church with sincerity, asking his father to give away the majority of the fund’s money to the poor.

Charles could not escape a certain degree of wealth and prestige, which were expected due to his social class, but he insisted on using these forms of leverage to benefit the Church, rather than himself. When he was 22, his opportunity came: the young lawyer and canonist’s uncle was elected as Pope Pius IV. Charles soon assumed staggering responsibilities, serving as a papal diplomat and supervisor of major religious orders.

The young man relaxed from these tasks through literature and music, taking no interest in the temptations abounding in Rome during the late Renaissance. He considered renouncing even this temperate lifestyle, for the strict observance of a monastery – but found himself more urgently needed in the work of concluding the Council of Trent.

The Council had begun in late 1545, but experienced many delays. Its twofold mission was to clarify Catholic doctrine against Protestant objections, and reform the Church internally against many longstanding problems. As a papal representative, Charles participated in the council’s conclusion in 1563, when he was only 25. He also played a leading role in assembling its comprehensive summary, the Roman Catechism (or Catechism of the Council of Trent).

In reward for his labors, Charles received even greater responsibilities. Ordained a priest during the Council, he was named as archbishop and cardinal only months later. He found his diocese of Milan in a state of disintegration, after two generations of virtually no local administration or leadership. The new bishop got straight to work establishing schools, seminaries, and centers for religious life.

His reforms of the diocese, in accordance with the decrees of the council, were dramatic and effective, so much so that a group of disgruntled monks attempted to kill him. His survival was called miraculous. The new archbishop’s efforts for catechesis and the instruction of youth were especially fruitful, initiating the work of the Confraternity for Christian Doctrine and the first “Sunday School” classes. He also gave important pastoral attention to English Catholics who fled to Italy to escape new laws against the Catholic faith.

St. Charles Borromeo’s amazing diligence, frequent travel and ascetic living eventually took their toll. The once young prodigy of the Papal Court also died young at the age of 46 on November 3, 1584. He was canonized 26 years later, in 1610. He is the patron of catechists and catechumens.

INTROIT Sir 45:30

The Lord made a covenant of friendship with him, and made him a prince; that he should possess the dignity of priesthood forever. Ps. 131:1 Remember, O Lord, David and all his meekness. v. 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.

COLLECT

Safeguard Your Church, O Lord, under the continual protection of St. Charles, Your Confessor and Bishop, so that just as his concern for his flock made him glorious, so his intercession may make us ever fervent in loving You. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.

Commemoratio Dominica IV quae superfuit Post Epiphaniam I. Novembris
O God, You Who know that our human frailty cannot stand fast against the great dangers that beset us, grant us health of mind and body, that with your help we may overcome what we suffer on account of our sins.

For the Octave of All Saints
Almighty, eternal God, Who granted us to honor the merits of all Your Saints in a single solemn festival, bestow on us, we beseech You, through their manifold intercession, that abundance of Your mercy for which we yearn.

For Ss. Vitalus and Agrícola Martyrs
Grant, almighty God, we beseech You, that we who keep the feast of Your blessed Martyrs, Vitalis and Agricola, may be helped by their intercession with You.
Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
R. Amen.

EPISTLE Sir 44:16-27 45:3-20.

Lesson from the book of Ecclesiasticus: Behold, a great priest, who in his days pleased God, and was found just; and in the time of wrath he was made a reconciliation. There was not found the like to him, who kept the law of the Most High. Therefore, by an oath, the Lord made him to increase among his people. He gave him the blessing of all nations, and confirmed His covenant upon his head. He acknowledged him in His blessings; He preserved for him His mercy; and he found grace before the eyes of the Lord. He glorified him in the sight of kings, and gave him a crown of glory. He made an everlasting covenant with him, and gave him a great priesthood; and made him blessed in glory. To execute the office of the priesthood, and to have praise in His name, and to offer Him a worthy incense for an odor of sweetness.

GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Sir 44:16; 44:20

Behold, a great priest, who in his days pleased God. V. There was not found the like to him, who kept the law of the Most High. Alleluia, alleluia. Ps 109:4 You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchisedec. Alleluia.

GOSPEL Matthew 25:14-23

At that time, Jesus spoke this parable to His disciples: A man going abroad, called his servants and handed over his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his particular ability, and then he went on his journey. And he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more. In like manner, he who had received the two gained two more. But he who had received the one went away and dug in the earth and hid his master’s money. Then after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; behold, I have gained five others in addition.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; because you have been faithful over a few things, I will set you over many; enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had received the two talents came, and said, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; behold, I have gained two more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; because you have been faithful over a few things, I will set you over many; enter into the joy of your master.’

OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 88:21-22

I have found David, My servant; with My holy oil I have anointed him, that My hand may be always with him, and that My arm may make him strong.

SECRET

May Your Saints, we beseech you, O Lord, everywhere make us joyful: so that, while we reflect upon their merits, we may enjoy their help. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.

Commemoratio Dominica IV quae superfuit Post Epiphaniam I. Novembris
Grant, we beseech You, almighty God, that the offering of this sacrifice may always cleanse and strengthen the weakness of our nature.

For the Octave of All Saints
We offer You, O Lord, the gifts of our service; may they be pleasing to You for the honor of Your just ones and, through Your mercy, bring us salvation.

For Ss. Vitalus and Agrícola Martyrs
Be appeased, O Lord, we beseech You, by the gifts we offer, and by the intercession of Your holy Martyrs, Vitalis and Agricola, protect us from all dangers. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.

PREFACE of the Holy Trinity

It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God; Who, together with Thine only-begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost, art one God, one Lord: not in the oneness of a single Person, but in the Trinity of one substance. For what we believe by Thy revelation of Thy glory, the same do we believe of Thy Son, the same of the Holy Ghost, without difference or separation. So that in confessing the true and everlasting Godhead, distinction in persons, unity in essence, and equality in majesty may be adored. Which the Angels and Archangels, the Cherubim also and Seraphim do praise: who cease not daily to cry out, with one voice saying: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth!

COMMUNION ANTIPHON Luke 12:42

The faithful and prudent servant whom the master will set over his household to give them their ration of grain in due time.

POSTCOMMUNION

Grant, we beseech You, almighty God, that as we thank You for the favors we have received, we may, by the intercession of blessed Charles, Your Confessor and Bishop, obtain still greater blessings. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.

Commemoratio Dominica IV quae superfuit Post Epiphaniam I. Novembris
May Your gifts, O God, free us from the attraction of earthly pleasures and give us new strength through Your heavenly nourishment.

For the Octave of All Saints
Grant Your faithful people, we beseech You, O Lord, ever to rejoice in the veneration of all the Saints, and to be protected by their unceasing prayers.

For Ss. Vitalus and Agrícola Martyrs
May this Communion, O Lord, cleanse us of sin and make us partakers of heavenly healing. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.

PROPER LAST GOSPEL Matthew 8:23-27

At that time, Jesus got into a boat, and His disciples followed Him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was covered by the waves; but He was asleep. So they came and woke Him, saying, Lord, save us! we are perishing! But He said to them, Why are you fearful, O you of little faith? Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the sea, and there came a great calm. And the men marvelled, saying, What manner of Man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?
R. Thanks be to God.

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