Thoughts on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady

Saint Anne conceiving the Virgin Mary Douai, Musée de la Chartreuse

Saint Anne conceiving the Virgin Mary
Douai, Musée de la Chartreuse

Pope Benedict ⅩⅥ, the Bishop of Rome, has said that “on the path of Advent shines the star of Mary Immaculate”, and without her part in history we should not have received our Blessed Lord as the Child-King of Bethlehem. Without Our Lady saying, “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let what you have said be done to me” to the angel Gabriel, in today’s Gospel,  there would have been no conception of Jesus, no Incarnation, no Passion, no Cross, no Resurrection, and no Ascension, and today we would not be waiting for the Second Coming of Christ.

Read the rest of my thoughts here

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Fr Bernard Lynch – a real friend to all showing God’s love to the people the Church tries to exclude

Father Bernard Lynch: ‘The Vatican has told them to get rid of me’

He claims that half of all Catholic priests are gay – and has himself been married to his husband for 14 years. He believes celibacy is to blame for many of the Church’s problems – and that the Vatican must take responsibility for the paedophilia in its midst. Is it any wonder so many people want rid of Father Bernard Lynch?

Read the rest on the Independent‘s website.

I have met Fr Lynch and know him to be a true friend of all who the institutional Church tries to exclude. I can only hope and pray to be a priest as good as he.

Doing the work—not being seen to do the work—is much more important

The daily Rosary is one personal devotion which has been with me for many years. No matter how long I have been saying it, I still have to look up which set of mysteries is said on which day. None of this has been made any easier since the introduction of an extra set by Blessed Pope John Paul Ⅱ which he suggested be said on Thursdays. I have never been a fan of the Luminous Mysteries (not the name that I am told some English seminarians gave them…) and so I stick to the three traditional sets…

Sundays, Wednesdays and Saturdays – The Glorious Mysteries

  1. The Resurrection
  2. The Ascension
  3. The Descent of the Holy Ghost on the Apostles
  4. The Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven
  5. The Coronation of Our Lady and the Glory of all the Saints

Mondays, and Thursdays – The Joyful Mysteries

  1. The Annunciation
  2. The Visitation
  3. The Nativity
  4. The Presentation
  5. The Finding in the Temple

Tuesdays and Fridays – The Sorrowful Mysteries

  1. The Agony in the Garden
  2. The Scouring of Our Blessed Lord at the Pillar
  3. The Crowning of Our Blessed Lord with Thorns
  4. Our Blessed Lord carrying His Cross
  5. The Crucifixion

I often find myself saying the Rosary as I walk. I don’t always have my beads out as I do so, but it is a good witness for the Faith when we do. As Fr Southwell of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales once said, “If the Muslims can wander our streets with their beads out, there is no reason why the Catholics of England ought not to do so as well. We are after all Our Lady’s Dowry.” I’m not sure that I would have put it in quite that manner, but a good practice it remains. However, we don’t want to become like those who parade their Faith, it is better to do the work than to be seen to do the work.

The rosary is the book of the blind, where souls see and there enact the greatest drama of love the world has ever known; it is the book of the simple, which initiates them into mysteries and knowledge more satisfying than the education of other men; it is the book of the aged, whose eyes close upon the shadow of this world, and open on the substance of the next. The power of the rosary is beyond description. — Venerable Fulton J. Sheen.

A man not an angel…

Priest

Priest (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At the weekend, I bought a book Vademecum which has inspirational thoughts for every day of the year on the subject of priests and priesthood. As a young priest, I hope that it will help to inspire me to be the best that I can.

Today’s reading is from Karl Rahner SJ and he writes

A priest is a human being, a member of holy Church, a Christian, just as you are… when the bishop lays his hands on them in blessing … he does not turn them into angels.

Each of us is not an angel. We are all men. And we all have our failings, our weaknesses but we also have our strengths.

Today I pray that I my weaknesses will not hinder my administration of the sacraments nor the witness of the Church.

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