Wednesday, December 10, 2014


J.M.J. Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Loreto. The first-half of the article from www.newadvent.org gives the traditional view of how the Holy Hour of Nazareth left Palestine and traveled to Loreto, Italy.


"Since the fifteenth century, and possibly even earlier, the 'Holy House' of Loreto has been numbered among the most famous shrines of Italy. Loreto is a small town a few miles south of Ancona and near the sea. Its most conspicuous building is the basilica. This dome-crowned edifice, which with its various annexes took more than a century to build and adorn under the direction of many famous artists, serves merely as the setting of a tiny cottage standing within the basilica itself. Though the rough walls of the little building have been raised in height and are cased externally in richly sculptured marble, the interior measures only thirty-one feet by thirteen. An altar stands at one end beneath a statue, blackened with age, of the Virgin Mother and her Divine Infant. As the inscription, Hic Verbum caro factum est, reminds us, this building is honored by Christians as the veritable cottage at Nazareth in which the Holy Family lived, and the Word became incarnate. Another inscription of the sixteenth century which decorates the eastern fa├žade of the basilica sets forth at greater length the tradition which makes this shrine so famous. ;Christian pilgrim', it says, 'you have before your eyes the Holy House of Loreto, venerable throughout the world on account of the Divine mysteries accomplished in it and the glorious miracles herein wrought. It is here that most holy Mary, Mother of God, was born; here that she was saluted by the Angel, here that the eternal Word of God was made Flesh. Angels conveyed this House from Palestine to the town Tersato in Illyria in the year of salvation 1291 in the pontificate of Nicholas IV. Three years later, in the beginning of the pontificate of Boniface VIII, it was carried again by the ministry of angels and placed in a wood near this hill, in the vicinity of Recanati, in the March of Ancona; where having changed its station thrice in the course of a year, at length, by the will of God, it took up its permanent position on this spot three hundred years ago [now, of course, more than 600]. Ever since that time, both the extraordinary nature of the event having called forth the admiring wonder of the neighboring people and the fame of the miracles wrought in this sanctuary having spread far and wide, this Holy House, whose walls do not rest on any foundation and yet remain solid and uninjured after so many centuries, has been held in reverence by all nations.' That the traditions thus boldly proclaimed to the world have been fully sanctioned by the Holy See cannot for a moment remain in doubt. More than forty-seven popes have in various ways rendered honor to the shrine, and an immense number of Bulls and Briefs proclaim without qualification the identity of the Santa Casa di Loreto with the Holy House of Nazareth. As lately as 1894 Leo XIII, in a Brief conceding various spiritual favors for the sixth centenary of the translation of the Santa Casa to Loreto, summed up its history in these words: 'The happy House of Nazareth is justly regarded and honored as one of the most sacred monuments of the Christian Faith; and this is made clear by the many diplomas and acts, gifts and privileges accorded by Our predecessors. No sooner was it, as the annals of the Church bear witness, miraculously translated to Italy and exposed to the veneration of the faithful on the hills of Loreto than it drew to itself the fervent devotion and pious aspiration of all, and as the ages rolled on, it maintained this devotion ever ardent.' If, then, we would sum up the arguments which sustain the popular belief in this miraculous transference of the Holy House from Palestine to Italy by the hands of angels, we may enumerate the following points: (1) The reiterated approval of the tradition by many different popes from Julius II in 1511 down to the present day. This approval was emphasized liturgically by an insertion in the Roman Martyrologium in 1669 and the concession of a proper Office and Mass in 1699, and it has been ratified by the deep veneration paid to the shrine by such holy men as St. Charles Borromeo, St. Francis de Sales, St. Ignatius Loyola, St. Alphonsus Liguori, and many other servants of God. (2) Loreto has been for centuries the scene of numerous miraculous cures. Even the skeptical Montaigne in 1582 professed himself a believer in the reality of these (Waters, 'Journal of Montaigne's Travels', II, 197-207). (3) The stone on which the original walls of the Santa Casa are built and the mortar used in their construction are not such as are known in the neighborhood of Loreto. But both stone and mortar are, it is alleged, chemically identical with the materials most commonly found in Nazareth. (4) The Santa Casa does not rest and has never rested upon foundations sunk into the earth where it now stands. The point was formally investigated in 1751 under Benedict XIV. What was then found is therefore fully in accord with the tradition of a building transferred bodily from some more primitive site."


Our Lady of Loreto, pray for us.

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