The Pardon Crucifix: Indulgenced by Pope St. Pius X

Do you know about the Pardon Crucifix?

Catholics have many treasures that have been “buried” in the long history of the Church and are now little known. Fr. Richard Heilman, the creator of the Combat Rosary (the official rosary of the Swiss Guard), said that when the devil hates something, “he simply tries to hide it from people.” The Pardon Crucifix, which is not well known to the faithful, is one such treasure.

The origin of this type of crucifix is unknown, but it first became well-known in 1904, when some French priests introduced it to a cardinal at the Marian Congress. In the following year, devotion to this crucifix was encouraged with an indulgence promulgated by Pope St. Pius X.

Sometimes the Pardon Crucifix is flanked by the Miraculous Medal of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the St. Benedict Medal. Any one of these sacramentals would be hateful to the devil, but the three combined form a powerful weapon against evil.

The Prayers and Indulgences of the Pardon Crucifix

The indulgence attached to the Pardon Crucifix, like all indulgences, offers reduction of penance, not absolution of sin. For a moment I thought it was absolution (as if I didn’t have to go to confession) and other such imprudent thoughts.

In the early sixteenth century, there was some confusion about the exact nature of indulgences, but this matter (along with many others) was clarified at the Council of Trent in 1563. Since then, an indulgence has been clearly defined as “a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, §1471).

With regard to the Pardon Crucifix, Pope St. Pius X granted the following indulgences:

§  Whoever carries on his person the Pardon Crucifix, may thereby gain an indulgence.

§  For devoutly kissing the Crucifix, an indulgence is gained.

§  Whoever says one of the following invocations before this crucifix may gain each time an indulgence: “Our Father who art in heaven, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” “I beg the Blessed Virgin Mary to pray to the Lord our God for me.”

§  Whoever, habitually devout to this Crucifix, will fulfill the necessary conditions of Confession and Holy Communion, may gain a Plenary Indulgence on the following feasts: On the feasts of the Five Wounds of our Lord, the Invention of the Holy Cross, the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the Immaculate Conception, and the Seven Dolors of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

§  Whoever, at the moment of death, fortified with the Sacraments of the Church, or contrite of heart in the supposition of being unable to receive them, will kiss this Crucifix and ask pardon of God for his sins, and pardon his neighbor, will gain a Plenary Indulgence.

The feast days mentioned by the Pope are as follows:

– February 6 (in Lisbon, the Friday following Ash Wednesday): The Feast of the Five Sacred Wounds of the Lord

– May 3: Feast of the Discovery of the Holy Cross

– September 14: Feast of the Holy Cross

– December 8: Feast of the Immaculate Conception

– Friday before Palm Sunday, and September 15: Feast of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Also, he wrote this:

 “Pontifical Rescript of June 1905,
to M.M. the Abbes Lemann:

Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Indulgences

To the faithful, who devoutly kiss this Crucifix and gain these precious indulgences, we recommend to have in view the following intentions: To testify love for Our Lord and the Blessed Virgin; gratitude towards our Holy Father, the Pope, to beg for the remission of one’s sins; the deliverance of the souls in Purgatory; the return of the nations to the Faith; forgiveness among Christians; reconciliation among members of the Catholic Church.”

By another Pontifical rescript of November 14, 1905, Pope Pius X declared that the indulgences attached to the Pardon Crucifix are applicable to the souls in Purgatory.

The Pardon Crucifix, a lost indulgence

In the wake of the Second Vatican Council, Paul VI published a new Handbook of Indulgences, dated June 29 (the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul), 1968.

Near the beginning of that book, it states: “suppressed are all general grants of indulgences not incorporated into the new Enchiridion [Handbook] as well as all the legislation on indulgences of the Codex Iuris Canonici…” and so on. In other words, all indulgences were cancelled, except for the ones contained in the new book.

The thicker of the two books is the pre-Vatican II Handbook of Indulgences, and the thinner one is the post-Vatican II Handbook. You can see for yourself that there has been a drastic reduction in the number of indulgences. The Pardon Crucifix indulgence is not contained in the new book.

On the other hand, however, the Pardon Crucifix (like every crucifix), the Miraculous Medal of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the St. Benedict Medal, are all powerful sacramentals; and prayers to the saints and prayer before a crucifix still carry the benefit of indulgences. In short, the Pardon Crucifix, and the medals in some cases attached to it, together form a great spiritual treasure. I believe that it is a blessing from God, an inevitability in the name of coincidence.

The Pardon Crucifix in the Scapular

I came to know about this crucifix thanks to a priest who sent one to me from Japan. I had never heard of the Pardon Crucifix until then. As I mentioned earlier, it combines (in this case) three powerful sacramentals in one. It gave me great strength as a person with chronic family problems.

The crucifix that was sent to me was also placed in the scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. I think it is a very good idea to put the Pardon Crucifix in the Scapular, because if you are allergic to metal, as I am, you can wear it without worrying about your allergy, and you will receive the added benefit of the Scapular. I am very grateful.

Although the Pardon Crucifix no longer carries an official indulgence, it still symbolically carries the body of our Lord. I sincerely hope that this powerful sacramental will become more widely known.

Source for Papal documents: The Pardon Crucifix | Catholicism Pure & Simple (

St. Patrick: The Life of St. Patrick by Muirch (2)

The Life of St. Patrick by Muirchu goes on to tell about the first person that St. Patrick baptized in Ireland. That person was a man named Dichu, a pig keeper. After baptizing Dichu, St. Patrick set out for his former master’s house, where he had been enslaved. He wanted to baptize the master who had enslaved him. But before Patrick got there, someone told the slave master something to the effect that Patrick had now returned to become his master. The slave master was so infatuated with the devil that he gathered all his possessions around him in his house, and set fire to it all, rather than let Patrick become his master. He committed suicide.

St. Patrick’s Prophecy

Patrick arrived in time to see the slave master’s house burning, but too late to save him. He looked at the burning house and just cried for a while. He left a prophecy from God about the slave master’s family, namely, that this man’s sons would not rule over others, but rather, would be subject to others, from generation to generation forever.

“I do not know, God knows.” Patrick repeated several times, meaning, “It was never a curse. It is a prophecy from God.” For Christians, suicide is one of the most serious sins and a terrible temptation from the devil. The slave master rejected God’s salvation, was tempted by the devil, and chose death rather than humility, or than the giving of his worldly wealth to anyone.

I believe that this legend, though adapted, could possibly have been true. It is not a common miracle story. It is more realistic than most legends, in that Patrick, who was trying to bring salvation, was just crying, and the slave master’s family received a prophecy of a dark future from God. What happened to that family afterwards is unknown. However, the fact that there are no further stories of miracles or other subsequent events makes me think that it is highly likely that they met an unfortunate end, as St. Patrick foretold.

St. Patrick’s grave

St. Patrick`s Tomb, Downpatrick, Northern Ireland

St. Patrick’s grave is in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland. Legend has it that before Patrick died, he left a wish about where his body should be buried.

He instructed the people (so the legend says) that, when he died and his body was in its coffin, they should put the coffin on an oxcart, and then let the ox pull the cart wherever it wanted to go. Wherever the ox stopped, that is where Patrick was to be buried. The people followed Patrick’s wish, and the ox pulled the cart to the top of a hill, where, accordingly, Patrick was buried. A stone was set up to mark the spot, and it soon became a popular site for pilgrimages.

Later, in the twelfth century, St. Patrick’s relics were moved to the Church of the Holy Trinity (Down Cathedral Church), where they remain today, together with those of St. Bridget and St. Columba. The hill, however, remains a major pilgrimage site.

However, the traditional story that St. Patrick’s relics are now in Down Cathedral seems to be only legend: according to E. Sellner, no one knows where he was buried.

Seeing (online) the tomb of St. Patrick, I was reminded of the gravestones at the small but historic St. Patrick’s Church (which is now closed) in a certain town I once visited. There were several graves in the back of that church. Being a history buff, one day I went to see the graves out of curiosity. I found out that the graves belonged to the past priests of the church, and among them was the grave of a young priest who died when he was in his 30s. Since he was in his 30s, I wondered what life had been like for him; it must have been hard to accept death at such a young age. I am sure that, like St. Patrick, he left his hometown, followed God’s will, and became one of the unknown saints.

St. Patrick’s Feast Day during Lent

Every year, when the Feast of St. Patrick comes around, which means that Lent will be over in a few weeks, I am encouraged—mainly for the not very spiritual reason that I refrain from sweets as much as possible during Lent, and I want to eat as much sweet food as I can on Easter.

During Lent, the feast days are purposely kept few (in the Novus Ordo calendar). Reflecting on the life of St. Patrick, a life of continuous hardship, I feel that he is a saint suitable for the Lenten season. Someday, I would like to visit the places in Ireland related to St. Patrick, and attend Mass there.

Image: Saint Patrick statue in Downpatrick

Source for the life of Patrick: Davies, Oliver: Celtic Spirituality. PaulistPress, 1999.

Source for St. Patrick’s burial place: Sellner, Edward: Wisdom of the Celtic Saints. Ave Maria Press, 1993.

St. Patrick: Irish Apostle whose Symbol is a Clover (1)

The feast day of St. Patrick, March 17, is here again this year. St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. Many Americans have Irish ancestry. For this reason, he is a popular saint in the United States.

Traditionally, three-leaf clovers (shamrocks) are used in decorations on St. Patrick’s Day. This is because, according to legend, Patrick used a three-leaf clover to explain to people about the Trinity, a mystery of God that is incomprehensible to the human mind. In fact, this story seems to have been invented in the 18th century. However, we can learn a little about the actual life of St. Patrick from his “Confessions” (meaning, his autobiography) and his “Letter to the Soldiers of the Coroticus”.

The Life of St. Patrick: his journey to becoming a missionary in Ireland

The dates of the birth and death of St. Patrick, who spread Christianity to Ireland, are unknown. It is believed that he was probably born in England in the late 4th or early 5th century. According to Patrick’s own recollections, he was the son of a Christian deacon, but was not a deeply religious man. The following is a brief account of Patrick’s journey to Ireland, where he was led to become a missionary.

Patrick was about 16 years old when an event occurred that would change his life forever. He was captured by Irish raiders, enslaved, and sold as a shepherd. Regarding his being placed in such a difficult situation, he wrote in his Confessions: “I deserved it because I had turned away from God and had not kept His commandments. I did not listen to the priests who advised me on how to be saved.” Being a shepherd in those days was a demanding job that constantly put one’s life in danger. Patrick continues that such an ordeal was not a punishment from God, but a blessing from God, who instilled in him more faith than he had had.

God’s Mysterious Guidance

His life in Ireland consisted of tending sheep and praying. One day, while he was sleeping, he heard a mysterious voice telling him that he would return to his homeland. Finally, the mysterious voice said, “Behold, your ship is ready.” And so, at the age of 23, Patrick traveled more than 200 miles, as a fugitive slave, to the landing place. When Patrick finally made it to the ship, the captain refused to let him aboard. Undeterred, Patrick prayed to God. Through God’s action, he was allowed to board the ship.

Three days later, Patrick and the other passengers got off the ship in England and began traveling through the wilderness. After 28 days in the wilderness, they finally ran out of food. The captain of the ship asked Patrick to pray to the all-powerful and great Christian God. Patrick prayed, and a herd of pigs appeared; Patrick and his companions killed the pigs, ate the pork, and regained their strength. Patrick also describes how he was attacked by demons that night and was saved by prayer.

In the past, travel in Ireland was safer by boat than by land. Patrick’s account of his wilderness journey is proof of the dangers and difficulties involved, which would be unthinkable today. It is unclear whether Patrick made it safely to his hometown or whether he gave up the journey and remained in a different place for a while.

France to Ireland

A few years later, Patrick was captured a second time. Finally, he escaped again and returned to his parents in England. However, due to his lack of education and his harsh experiences, he found it difficult to return to a normal life. Patrick felt a strong sense of mission from God and decided to go to Rome, even though his parents and relatives tried to stop him. On his way to Rome, he met St. Germanus. Patrick was to study for the priesthood under St. Germanus in Auxerre, Gaul (France).

It was during this time that he also received some mysterious guidance. He had a dream in which a man named Victoricus brought him countless letters from Ireland. With God’s guidance, Patrick decided to return to Ireland.

The rest of Patrick’s life is not from his own autobiography, but is a legend that has been passed down from generation to generation. What can be stated as historical fact is that Patrick introduced Christianity to Ireland, as well as the written word, the Roman calendar, and church traditions. The Christianity spread by Patrick took root throughout Ireland. After his death, Ireland became one of the most monasticized countries in the world, a storehouse of knowledge, and a training center for priests, monks, and nuns. Even monks and nuns from Rome came to study there.

A Strange Druidic Prophecy.

These stories are from the Life of St. Patrick by Muirchu, which was written about 150 years after Patrick’s death:

After arriving in Ireland, Patrick, who was now a bishop, went to Tara, which was ruled by a pagan king (the son of Nial) who had many Druids with him.
About two or three years before the arrival of Patrick, the Druids began prophesying to the king that someone was coming to their island who would try to destroy their way of life. The Druids’ prophecy, in poetic form (as was customary at the time), describes Patrick and Christianity with remarkable accuracy. It went like this:

The Druids’ Prophecy

A new way of life is about to come to Ireland from the outside.
It will be like a kingdom; it will come from far away across the seas;
It will bring an annoying teaching with it.
This teaching will be given out by a handful, yet received by many,
And it will be held in honor by all.
It will overthrow kingdoms, kill the kings who resist it,
And seduce the crowds.
It will destroy all our gods, and cast out our Druidic skills and works;
And this kingdom will have no end.
One with shaven head will come here with his curled-headed stick.
He will sing foul things from his home with perforated head.
From his table in the front part of his house,
His whole family will reply to him, “Let it be, let it be!”

Is the Druidic prophecy real?

I love myths, legends, and folk tales. One reason for this is that some of the tales passed down to us are based on fact, albeit adapted or exaggerated.

The ancient Druids were famous for sacrificing human beings in a cruel manner and for being able to foretell the future. Clearly, the Druids practiced a satanic religion. If the Druids’ prophecies were made with the help of demonic forces, it would explain why the content of those prophecies sometimes reminds me of the stories of demons who do not want to (or cannot) describe holy things, and who use the names of everyday objects to describe them.

In William Caxton’s translation of The Golden Legend, there is a story about an exorcist’s chalice, which the devil calls a “pot.” Of course, the stories in The Golden Legend are not always historically true, but it seems to me that all the descriptions of holy things in the Druidic prophecies are quite similar, using the names of everyday objects.

Exorcist Fr. Vincent Lampert stated in one interview that demons avoid talking about holy things. The Druidic prophecy describes a Catholic bishop with a shaved head and a staff, but it does so indirectly. And the final “may it be so” is a translation of the Hebrew word “Amen.”

Although this story may have been invented later, I think it is a very interesting prophecy because of the cultural background of Ireland at that time.

Continued in part two.

Image: Scenes from the Life of Saint Patrick. National Gallery of Ireland

Source for the life of Patrick: Celtic Spirituality. Oliver Davies : PaulistPress, 1999.

Overcoming the Devil’s Temptations – Fr. Edward Meeks

This week marks the third week of lent. The Lenten season is a time when we often hear about temptations and evil spirits. In the first week of Lent, Fr. Edward Meeks of Christ the King Church in Towson, Maryland, uploaded a video about demonic spiritual attacks. He was once in the news for his opposition to the coronavirus vaccine mandates. According to LifeSite News, Fr. Meeks described abortion, transgender mutilation, pornography, and library drag queens as “demonic insanity.”

A Blanket of Demonic Insanity– Fr. Edward Meeks

Reading the headline, I wondered if Fr. Meeks was speaking strongly in condemnation of recent world events. But upon viewing the video, I found that such was not the case.  When I listened to him from the beginning, I noticed that the main part of the sermon was about resisting the devil’s temptation. The impression I got from that sermon was very different from the impression I got from just reading the LifeSite News headline. In the final part of the sermon, Fr. Meeks gives us an explanation that is easy to understand, to help us discern the spiritual attacks of the devil.

What is the Devil’s Temptation? Lessons from Adam and Eve and Jesus

First, in the first half of his sermon, Fr. Meeks mentions that the devil tempted Adam, Eve, and Jesus Christ in a similar manner. He then discusses how we can learn “negative lessons” and “positive lessons” from Adam, Eve, and Jesus when they were tempted. Here are some of the points made by Fr. Meeks.

The Creation of Eve (Hours of Catherine of Cleves, ca. 1440).

1. Eating. – The Temptation to Forbidden Fruit and Bread

In Eden, the devil, disguised as a serpent, encouraged Eve to eat a certain fruit.

God had clearly told Adam and Eve that if they ate the forbidden fruit, they would die. But Eve was convinced by the serpent’s words that eating the fruit would not kill her, and she fell into the devil’s trap.

After 40 days of fasting, the hungry Jesus was urged to try turning stones into bread. Jesus said to the devil, “Man shall not live by bread alone,” and did not fall into the devil’s trap.

2. You will be like God.

The serpent told Eve, “If you eat this fruit, you will be like God.” In fact, Adam and Eve had been made in the image and likeness of God, who has eternal life, and they did not need to be made “like God.”

The devil told Jesus, “Jump down from the pinnacle of the temple. Then you can prove that you are God.” The devil then tempted him, saying, “I will give you all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, if you worship me.”

Jesus said to the devil, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.” Again, though tempted, he did not fall into the devil’s trap.

Father Meeks’s sermon teaches us that Scripture, the Word of God, is essential for us to overcome the temptations of the devil.

Exorcists issue commands to demons, and cast them out, but they do not (or should not) converse with them. This is because talking with the devil (who knows all the secrets of human weakness and unspeakable evil) gives the devil an opportunity to take advantage of the one talking to him. When the devil, in the form of a serpent, tempted Eve, she answered him in her own words; Jesus replied to the devil’s temptations with the words of Scripture.

Satanic Temptations and Attacks in the World

In the latter part of the sermon, Fr. Meeks did, indeed, say something that was in the LifeSite News headline.

First, Fr. Meeks states that the devil almost always “overplays his hand.” Then, Fr. Meeks noted, “There are signs that the devil is doing so in our world today.” And here is where the statement found in the headline comes from.

The following is an excerpt from his sermon:

“Anytime I see millions of otherwise rational people doing irrational things, I look for the demonic element in what’s going on. A blanket of demonic insanity has fallen upon the earth, and you and I are witnessing it before our very eyes.”

 (From the English expression “a blanket of fog,” it would seem to mean that the madness of evil descends like a mist upon the earth and covers it.)

Fr. Meeks says that such demonic insanity is manifested in:

  1. The assault against the unborn,
  2. The assault against those who defend the unborn,
  3. Surgical mutilation of children in the name of gender ideology,
  4. Drag queens reading to children in public libraries,
  5. Pornographic books in public school libraries,
  6. Prime-time TV shows celebrating Satanism,

And so on.

In contrast to the United States, in Japan, almost nothing happens in society that reflects either a Christian worldview or an anti-Christian worldview. Unfortunately, however, it is clear that some of the same works of demonic insanity mentioned by Fr. Meeks are already taking place in Japan. One cannot help but be concerned about the negative effects that such demonic insanity will have on a country like Japan, where most people willingly embrace many aspects of Western culture, while remaining entirely ignorant of the difference between Christian Western culture and anti-Christian Western culture.

To Avoid the Devil’s Trap

To avoid such temptations of the devil, the Bible says, in Proverbs 4:14-15, “Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil men. Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on.” It is a very simple answer. Often, however, I find it difficult to follow even this simple Biblical teaching. I feel social pressure to conform, and I fall into the temptation to pretend that I agree with those around me. At such times, it is very important to have a priest who tells us clearly that sin is sin, and gives us the courage to choose the right path.

A priest’s job is to warn us of spiritual dangers, for the salvation of our souls. However, some of the truths that priests try to convey, such as the existence of invisible demons, sound (to many) like old superstitions, and are often ignored. In his Introduction to Christianity,(P.39-40) Benedict XVI, referring to a story by Kierkegaard, compared the priests and theologians who are continually ignored in this way to a clown trying to warn people of a dangerous fire.

In his book An Exorcist Explains the Demonic, Vatican exorcist Fr. Gabriel Amorth describes the process of discerning whether an unexplained physical or mental illness is an attack of the devil. Speaking of medical doctors, he says (p. 85), “in fact, many of them cannot even imagine the existence of evil spirits.

I think it is difficult for most people to realize in their hearts that there is something invisible, even if they understand it in their heads. In my case, for example: every Sunday, I attend Mass at a church. In his sermon, the priest sometimes talks about the horror of mortal sin. And yet, even though I believe what the Church teaches, I often find myself not concentrating on the priest’s sermon. Sometimes we don’t feel the real horror of the sins that will send us to hell. I need to listen more carefully to what the priest is saying.

In my daily life, no matter what I am doing, I need to remember to pray. Prayer is the turning of our hearts toward God, so that we can make better choices when we are tempted by the devil. I would like to ask for God’s grace to overcome the devil’s attacks. I sincerely pray that God’s will be done in me and in the world.

The Devil Hates Latin: The Mass as a Treasury of Prayer

Experienced exorcist Fr. Gary Thomas confirms that “The devil hates Latin,” and adds that this opinion is based on his own experience and that of others. (See here.)

Following the implementation of Pope Francis’s Motu Proprio “Traditionis Custodes,” it will be even more difficult to attend a Latin Mass. It seems that reducing the number of Latin Masses has been made a top priority in the Vatican, but the number of traditionalists, as given in the National Catholic Register, is very small: 2.5 percent of Mass-goers in those dioceses where they are most numerous, and about one percent on average elsewhere.

All things holy are a threat to the devil, but the various elements of the traditional Latin Mass must be very powerful indeed. Apparently, for it to be attended by even one or two percent of all faithful parishioners is intolerable to the devil, and he wants it gone at all costs.

Latin Mass, where you can focus on prayer

I started attending the Latin Mass after I came to the U.S. Before that, I had attended the Novus Ordo (the new form of the Mass that was promulgated in 1969). So, before I came to the U.S., I knew almost nothing about the Latin Mass.

As I kept attending the Latin Mass, and gradually grew more familiar with it, I found that I was better able to concentrate on prayer at that Mass than I had been at the Novus Ordo Mass.

The Novus Ordo is almost always in the vernacular, and often uses music that sounds like secular music. One of the reasons why I could not concentrate at the Novus Ordo was because of that kind of music. The church where I attended Novus Ordo Mass used a type of music that they called “folk music,” but it did not consist of actual centuries-old folk melodies. It sounded a lot like secular pop music, or poorly-written show tunes. That type of music often interfered with my prayers.

Difficulty in praying at Novice Ordo

So, for example, I would hear the lyrics or the melody and think, “Why are they using the word ‘alleluia,’ when it is Lent, a season when ‘alleluia’ is not supposed to be said? Did they stop caring after Vatican II? Why did they choose such a cheerful song?” My thoughts would constantly turn to things like this, not to things in keeping with the meaning of the liturgy. And then, to top it all off, I would start thinking things like, “Oh, the guitarist just played the wrong chord.” I could not concentrate on my prayers at all.

At every Mass, we should be focused on praying to and communing with God. That is not always easy, even at the best of times. It is extremely hard to do when one is being assailed by jangling and clattering sounds that have no sense of mystery. There is a serenity to the Traditional Mass. In it, we can concentrate on our prayers.

Latin Mass and Gregorian Chant for the Worship of God

Why is such secular-sounding music encouraged? Most of it is easy and (for some people) fun to sing. I suppose the liturgical reformers thought that the easy singing and easy-going atmosphere of the Mass had the advantage that anyone could join in immediately without feeling self-conscious.

But is such an easygoing atmosphere actually suitable for the Mass? Shouldn’t the highest and holiest of earthly activities, when God himself is present on the altar, be celebrated by something a little more solemn? Wouldn’t more silence be appropriate? If people want to hear pop music or show tunes, they can do so outside of church, seven days a week.

There is a fundamental difference between music for entertainment in the secular world and music for prayer to God. 

The Bible tells us to “put on the armor of God” (Ephesians 6:11) in order to resist the devil. Part of the armor of God is prayer (Ephesians 6:18). The texts of the Traditional Mass are part of the Church’s centuries-old treasure trove of prayers. The ancient and original music for the Latin Mass, Gregorian chant, is a kind of prayer in melodic form. The melodies move slowly and bring out the meaning of the words.

Missa cum jubilo – Kyrie – YouTube

My mysterious experience with Gregorian chant

I used to participate in the Gregorian chants of the Latin Mass. And once I had a strange experience that made me realize the difference between secular music and Gregorian chants.

One Saturday, I was rehearsing the Gregorian chants that I was going to sing the next day (Sunday). I had put off rehearsing until the last moment. The movement of notes in Gregorian chant is unique and completely different from that of modern music. Therefore, I always had a hard time learning it. That Saturday, I had to spend the whole day practicing the chants over and over again, in order to get them learned in time for Sunday Mass. Finally, by nighttime, I had managed to bring my chant-singing up to an acceptable level of competence. I remember joking to my husband, “I’ve been practicing Gregorian chants all day long, and my whole body is filled with prayer.”

“Finally, I can relax,” I thought, as I was drinking my tea. Then I glanced at my husband and saw that he was on the Internet researching something about his hobby. As soon as I saw that, I suddenly felt a sudden surge of anger toward my husband for being so easygoing, and not thinking about the financial burden he was placing on me.

I remember that deep down, I was almost 100 percent sure that my husband was wrong, so the anger took over and quickly turned into hatred. Demonic images of hatred floated around in my head, and I felt as if the blood in my body was being poisoned.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I felt, “This abnormal anger is strange. It is dangerous.” But still, I thought to myself, “Of course it is. This anger is justified. That is why it has become so terrible,” and I ignored the warnings of my heart. On the other hand, I prayed for a moment (saying, in my mind “May God take this anger”). It was only for a moment, and for a somewhat selfish reason (“tomorrow is Sunday,” I thought to myself, “and with this anger I probably will not be worthy to receive communion”).

Then something unexpected happened. Suddenly, a soft feeling the opposite of hatred, welled up in my heart. Perhaps it was the love of God. As the anger faded, I began to see my own stubbornness, my unwillingness to trust people, my unwillingness to do anything but be angry. Also, the difficult situation was not a curse, I realized, but a gift from God. It was strengthening my patience, which I needed. I also realized that my greatest anger was not at my husband, or at the fact that I had to go through a difficult situation, but at God for seeing me in that difficult situation and not fixing it.

After that, without knowing why, I could not stop crying for a while. Then I fell into a strong drowsiness and went to sleep shortly thereafter. The next morning, I woke up feeling very refreshed, both physically and emotionally.

When we sing Gregorian chant, we are vividly reenacting the prayers of old. I cannot prove it, but I believe that the mystical power of Gregorian chant and Latin prayer purged the evil that had been lurking deep within me.

Increasing use of Gregorian chant

The Traditional Mass consists of prayers that have been handed down through the ages, together with Gregorian chant, which complements them. But now the Vatican is trying to eliminate the Traditional Mass as much as possible. The essential problem is that, by restricting the ancient Mass, the Vatican is restricting the ancient prayers within it that foster communion with God. On the other hand, it is interesting to note that, at least in my own parish church, now that the Latin Mass has been eliminated, the Novus Ordo Masses include more Gregorian chant than ever before. What will happen in the future? Only God knows; but now that it has become more difficult to receive the benefits of the Latin Mass, I strongly feel the need for all of us to trust God and deepen our faith even more.

Image of Close-up of a Book of Gregorian Chants in an Italian Cathedral Dreamstime