Where there's a Will, there's a Way: Via Crucis!

The VerbumQUO for today is "hereditátem" which is Latin for "inheritance", the theme of today's Epistle and the Gospel with hutspah of the Mother of the sons of Zebedee. But our inheritance from God can only come through penance and carrying our cross.
Michael Cain
Editor, DailyCatholic

      Editor's Note: This is a new series the editor has launched 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 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 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.

    The VerbumQUO for Wednesday in the Second Week of Lent is hereditátem which in English translates to "inheritance" and this is the recurring theme throughout the Epistle from Esther 13, 8-11, and 15-17:
      Léctio libri Esther. In diébus illis: Orávit Mardochæus ad Dóminum, dicens: Dómine, Dómine rex omnípotens, in ditióne enim tua cuncta sunt pósita, et non est qui possit tuæ resístere voluntáti, si decréveris salváre Israël. Tu fecísti Cælum et terram, et quidquid cæli ámbitu continétur. Dóminus ómnium es, nec est qui resístat majestáti tuæ. Et nunc, Dómine rex, Deus Abraham, miserére pópuli tui, quia volunt nos inimíci nostri pérdere, et hereditátem tuam delére. Ne despícias partem tuam, quam redemísti tibi de Ægypto. Exáudi deprecatiónem meam, et propítius esto sorti et funículo tuo, et convérte luctum nostrum in gáudium, ut vivéntes laudémus nomen tuum, Dómine, et ne claudas ora to canéntium, Dómine, Deus noster.
      In those days Mardochai prayed to the Lord, saying, O Lord, Lord, almighty King, for all things are in Thy power; and there is none that can resist Thy will, if Thou determine to save Israel. Thou hast made Heaven and earth, and all things that are under the cope of Heaven. Thou art Lord of all, and there is none that can resist Thy majesty. And now, O Lord, O King, O God of Abraham, have mercy on Thy people, because our enemies resolve to destroy us, and extinguish Thy inheritance. Despise not Thy portion, which Thou hast redeemed for Thyself out of Egypt. Hear my supplication and be merciful to Thy lot and inheritance, and turn our mourning into joy, that we may live and praise Thy name, O Lord: and shut not the mouths of them that sing to Thee, O Lord our God.

    Inheritance is translated into Latin above as both hereditátem and funiculo. The latter is actually the translation of a cord, as a "funiculus," which is, in essence, an umbilical cord. We all know that such a cord is the lifeline of a child in the womb - the inheritance of life on this earth which God has given us. But He gives us so much more and that is everlasting life, an inheritance of eternal bliss. Let us look at Webster's definition of inheritance:

    "inheritance" - noun, [From the Latin hereditás;from verb "to inherit" [From the Latin in + hereditáre to inherit for the verb; as in heir or inheritor for the noun. 1. An inheriting. 2. That which is or may be inherited; that which is derived from an ancestor or as a legacy or which is transmissible to an heir or to an offspring. 3. A possession or blessing, esp. one received by gift or without purchase; a benefaction. 4. Possession; ownership. - Syn. See HERITAGE, or HEREDITARY."

    So we see the greatness of inheritance when applied to today's Proper of the Mass. It is also repeated in today's Gradual from Psalm 27: 9, 1:

      Salvum fac pópulum tuum, Dómine, et bénedic hereditátì tuæ. V. Ad Te, Dómine, clamávi, Deus meus, ne síleas a me, et ero símilis descendéntibus in lacum.
      Save Thy people, O Lord, and bless Thy inheritance. V. Unto Thee, have I cried, O Lord, my God, be not Thou silent to me, lest I become like to them that go down into the pit.

    Inheritance here is God's and rightfully so. We see from Monday where Christ warned the Jews that "you shall die in your sins" - "moriemini in peccatis vestris". Let us see what the renowned Abbot Dom Gueranger says on the meaning of today's Epistle:

    "The almighty King, had given sentence against mankind: 'Ye shall die the death.' Who was there there that could induce Him to revoke the sentence? Esther made intercession with Assuerus, her lord; and she was heard. Mary presented herself before the throne of the eternal God: and it is she that, by her divine Son, crushes the head of the serpent, who was to have tormented us for ever. The sentence, then, is to be annulled; all shall live that wish to live.

        Today we have the Church praying for her children who are in the state of sin. She trembles at seeing them in danger of being eternally lost. She intercedes for them, and she uses Mardochai's prayer. She humbly reminds her divine Spouse, that He has redeemed them out of Egypt: and, by Baptism, has made them His members, His inheritance."

    This promised inheritance is affirmed and clarified in the Gospel so that there is no confusion as our Lord makes it clear to the mother of the sons of Zebedee that one must earn their inheritance. Again we see the minister - "servant" which we saw in yesterday's VerbumQUO from the Gospel of St. Matthew 23. Today we see it three chapters prior in Chapter 20: 17-28:

      In illo témpore: Ascéndens Jesus Jerosólymam, assúmpsit duódecim discípulos secréto, et sit illis: "Ecce ascéndimus Jerosólymam, et Fílius hóminis tradétur princípibus sacerdótum, et scribis, et condemnábunt cum morte, et tradent cum géntibus ad illudéndum, et flagellándum, et crucifigéndum, et tértia die resúrget." Tunc accéssit ad cum mater filiórum Zebedæi cum fíliis suis, adórans et petens aliquid ab eo. Qui dixit ei: "Quid vis?" Ait illi: Die ut sédeant hi duo fílii mei, unus ad déxteram tuam, et unus ad sinístram in regno tuo. Respóndens autem Jesus, dixit: "Nescítis quid petátis. Potéstis bíbere cálicem quem ego bibitúrus sum?" Dicunt ei: Póssumus. Ait illis: "Cálicem quidem Meum bibétis: sedére autem ad déxteram Meam vel sinístram, non est Meum dare vobis, sed quibus parátum est a Patre Meo." Et audiéntes decem, indignáti sunt de duóbus frátribus. Jesus autem vocávit eos ad se, et ait: "Scitis quia principes géntium dominántur eórum: et qui majóres sunt, potestátem exércent in eos. Non ita erit inter vos: sed quicúmque volúerit inter vos major fíeri, sit vester miníster: et qui volúerit inter vos primus esse, erit vester servus. Sicut Fílius hóminis non venit ministrári, sed ministráre, et dare ánimam suam, redemptiónem pro multis."
      At that time, Jesus going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples apart, and said to them, "Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and the Son of man shall be betrayed to the chief priests and the scribes, and they shall condemn Him to death, and shall deliver Him to the gentiles to be mocked, and scourged, and crucified: and the third day He shall rise again." Then came to Him the mother of the sons of Zebedee with her sons, adoring and asking something of Him. Who said to her, "What wilt thou?" She saith to Him, Say that these my two sons may sit, the one on Thy right hand, and the other on Thy left, in Thy kingdom. And Jesus answering, said, "You know not what you ask. Can you drink the chalice that I shall drink?" They say to Him, We can. He saith to them, "My chalice indeed you shall drink: but to sit on My right or left hand, is not Mine to give to you, but to them for whom it is prepared by My Father." And the ten hearing it, were moved with indignation against the two brethren. But Jesus called them to Him, and said, "You know that the princes of the Gentiles lord it over them; and they that are the greater, exercise power upon them. It shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be the greater among you, let him be your minister; and he that will be first among you, shall be your servant. Even as the Son of man is not come to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a redemption for many."

   As a side note, you'll note the pro multis which translates to "for many" and is the crux of the alteration of the necessary words for confecting the wine into the Blood of Christ at the Consecration. The Abbot has much to say about this passage from Matthew so we want to share his words with you:

    "It is Jesus, the Son of the new Esther, and the Son of God, Who comes forward to humble the pride of Aman, at the very time when this perfidious enemy of ours is making sure of his victory. He goes up to Jerusalem, for it is there that the great battle is to be fought. He foretells to His disciples all that is to happen. He will be delivered up to the chief priests, who will condemn Him to death, and hand Him over to the Roman governor and soldiers. He will be mocked, scourged, and crucified; but He will rise again on the third day. The apostles heard this prophecy, for the Gospel says, that Jesus took the twelve apart, in order to tell them these things. Judas, consequently, was present; so were Peter, James and John, the three that had witnessed the Transfiguration of their Master on Thabor [as we saw in Sunday's Gospel], and had a clearer knowledge of His Divinity. And yet, all abandoned Him. Judas betrayed Him, Peter denied Him, and the whole flock fled away in fear, when the Shepherd was in the power of His enemies. Not one of them recollected how He had said that on the third day He would rise again: unless it were Judas, who was perhaps encouraged to commit his crime by the reflection that Jesus would soon triumph over His enemies and be again free. The rest could see no further than the scandal of the cross; that put an end to all their faith, and they deserted their Master. What a lesson for all future generations of Christians! How very few there are who look upon the cross, either for themselves or for others, as a sign of God's special love."

    This explains why Protestants removed the corpus from crosses after the Protestant Revolt of the 1500's and why the conciliar church has not only done that as well in many occasions, but also bypassed the crucifixion for the resurrection with the resurrexis which shows the Risen Christ with arms outstretched on the cross fully robed. This is a result of caving to politically correctness, of being ashamed of "the scandal of the cross" and the suffering Christ went through for us. Because those who embrace Vatican II have turned their backs on the total suffering of Christ, and the daily reminder of His propitiatory sacrifice with the True Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, they eschew that "negative theology" and instead brashly and in non serviam mode, have refashioned the Holy Sacrifice into a "Eucharistic Celebration" where penance, fasting and self-denial are abandoned for the heresy that all are saved by just proclaiming love for each other and of course God, but in reverse order. The verticality of worship has been removed as the central focal point of the church: the Tabernacle of God on the holy altar has been removed, and in its place a plain table and the sedes hominis - the seat of man now takes prominence; in other words, man has replaced God in the New Order church. The high spires and buttressed ceilings that indicate that we must look up to Heaven has been replaced by obtuse shapes and architecture that more readily resembles gymnasiums and mausoleums than churches. The thick walls and beautiful stained glass windows are replaced by stark brick or steel or clear glass windows that open to the world, rather than heavenly thoughts. Finally, lost in the new Novus Ordo lodges is the iconography that has always been synonymous with Catholicism. The beautiful statues and paintings, reliefs and stained glass windows remind one not only of Heaven, but edify the faithful and bring a familiarity of heavenly things and a comfort towards asking the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph and a plethora of saints to intercede for them. We trust and depend on the Church Triumphant through God's encouragement to help us in eventually joining their company. They want to help us and God so wills that they do. Therefore, not to ask their intercession would be pride that we can do it alone. All this week in the Gospels, Christ has emphasized humility. Protestants will argue that we can go directly to Jesus, and don't need the saints. Then why are their saints? And every true Catholic does go directly to Jesus at every Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, receiving Him, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity as a visible sign of our inheritance in the precious gift of our Catholic Faith.

    That is our earthly inheritance - our Faith, the unadulterated One True Faith established by Christ on the Rock of Peter in Matthew 16: 18-19. Our heavenly inheritance is only possible through the cross for without it, without the ultimate sacrifice of the Cross we could never have the opportunity to inherit eternal salvation but through the merits of the Son of God Who became man, like us in all things except sin. And that has been the reminder in the Gospels this week: we saw it Monday with our Lord's words moriemini in peccata vestris - "you shall die" in your sins. The holy Abbot Gueranger puts it so well in Volume 5 for today's Gospel from The Liturgical Year:

       "We are men of little faith; we cannot understand the trials God sends to our brethren, and we are often tempted to believe that He has forsaken them, because He sends them the cross. We are men of little love, too; worldly tribulation seems an evil to us, and we think ourselves hardly dealt with, at the very time when our God is showing us the greatest mercy. We are like the mother of the sons of Zebedee: we would hold a high and conspicuous place near the Son of God, forgetting that we must first merit it, by drinking of the chalice that He drank, that is, the chalice of suffering. We forget, too, that saying of the apostle: 'That we may be glorified with Jesus, we must suffer with Him!" (Romans 8: 17). He, the just and All holy, entered not into His rest by honors and pleasures: the sinner cannot follow Him, save by treading the path of penance."

    So you can see, the only way we can follow Christ is by taking up our crosses. He has reiterated that in Holy Writ numerous times and has reinforced that the cross is a contradiction to the world and unless one accepts his cross, he will not inherit Heaven.

    "Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father, Who is in Heaven. But whosoever shall deny Me before men, I will deny him before My Father, Who is in Heaven. Do not think that I am come to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and daughter against her mother, and daughter-in-law against here mother-in-law. And a man's enemies shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than Me, is not worthy of Me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me, is not worthy of Me. And he that taketh not up his cross, and followeth Me, is not worthy of Me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for My sake, shall find it. He that receiveth you, receiveth Me: and he that receiveth Me, receiveth Him that sent Me. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet, shall receive the reward of a prophet: and he that receiveth a just man in the name of a just man, shall receive the reward of a just man. And whosoever shall give drink to one of these little ones, a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple: Amen, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward" (Matthew 10: 32-42).

    We can see here the promise of inheritance, but there is a price to pay for this inheritance, and that is the cross, our own crosses which Dom Gueranger admits we may not always understand. That is why faith is so vital in assuring our inheritance, and the reminder of the saints and their virtues and the stern reminder of the consequences of sin as chronicled in Holy Scripture give us hope of that inheritance if we practice Christian charity by loving God above all. If we do, then loving our neighbor isn't as heavy a cross as we might think, and by adhering to all He asks, it will go much better for all of us when the Last Will is read at our Particular Judgment and we are found worthy of the everlasting inheritance. It is God's will that be the case, but God has given us a free will to choose. So it's up to us: Where there's a Will, there's a Way: Via Crucis!

Michael Cain, editor, DailyCatholic