Rosary for Priests: decade one – The Annunciation

TheAnnunciationThe Angel Gabriel announces to Mary, that she will become the Mother of God, Word made Flesh. For all centuries to come, Jesus will become flesh in the Holy Eucharist to nourish us in a most intimate union with Him.

The words above I found in a leaflet published by the Coalition in Support of Ecclesia Dei, inside the Roman Martyrology which I had re-found on my bookshelves. For those that don’t know, my library is just making it out of boxes and onto shelves, and so is all round the house, on the floor, on shelves, on the stairs, on my desk, beside my bed, wherever I can put it.

The leaflet encourages us to pray a Rosary for Priests, and I am sure that all of us who use this devotion pray it for all sorts of needs and intentions. For the next fifteen days, it is my intention to pray especially for the intentions in the leaflet. Today, we begin with those for the first Joyful Mystery: The Annunciation.

  • We pray for all priests who daily, through the words of the consecration at Mass, and through Holy Communion, bring us the Body and Blood of Christ.
  • We pray for all future priests now being formed in the wombs of their mothers, that they may be safe from physical and spiritual harm, and come to Ordination as God intends.
  • We pray for all future generations of priests.
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Christmas Message to Scouts

World Scout BadgeThe good news that the holy angels first told to the shepherds in the fields outside Bethlehem over two thousand years ago, is still the greatest story to be told.

Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

The Scout Movement spreads a message of peace across the world as it was asked to do by its Founder, Robert Baden-Powell OM,

To-day I send you out from Arrowe to all the world, bearing my symbol of Peace and Fellowship, each one of you my ambassador, bearing my message of Love and Fellowship on the wings of Sacrifice and Service, to the ends of the world. From now on the Scout Symbol of peace is the Golden Arrow. Carry it fast and far that all men may know the Brotherhood of Man”—B.-P. Scouting for Boys, Camp Fire Yarn No. 28.

Scouts all over the world are taking part in the Scout Messengers of Peace programme as part of the Movement’s aim to ‘Create a Better World’.

AMOP_enll over the world, Scouts are running projects that help people. They solve conflicts in school by preventing bullying, lead peer education programs, help the poor and the hungry, create solutions to environmental problems, and run countless other service projects. Messengers of Peace is the initiative that brings all of this work together.

As we continue to celebrate the coming of the Prince of Peace and to follow His teaching, my brother Priests in the Fraternity and I pray that all Scouts and those connected to them have a happy and blessed Christmas and that the Peace of the newborn Christ Child will descend upon all and remain with us all throughout the year.

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A brutal reminder of the harshness of some…

English: The Massacre of the Innocents by Giot...

English: The Massacre of the Innocents by Giotto. 1304-1306. Fresco. Capella degli Scrovegni, Padua, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here we are within the Octave of Christmas and we find ourselves confronted with the brutality of King Herod. Having been told by three visiting stargazers that a king had been born in his territory, he could not allow there to be one such as this to be raised in opposition. So, he called for mass infanticide.

Fortunately the Holy Family had been warned not to stay – and were on their way to Egypt into exile. But for how many parents was there heartache to come? We may never know how many, but we do know that although they did not have tongues to say so, they were dying for Christ.

Holy Innocents, first martyrs of Christ, pray for us.

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O radix Jesse — ‘to you all nations shall have recourse’

O Root of Jesse, you stand as a sign for the peoples; before you kings shall keep silence and to you all nations shall have recourse.  Come, save us, and do not delay.1

We remember the words of Isaiah,

Behold my servant shall understand, he shall be exalted, and extolled, and shall be exceeding…2

He shall sprinkle many nations, kings shall shut their mouth at him:…3

And he shall grow up as a tender plant before him, and as a root out of a thirsty ground:…4

who prophesied a restoration of the throne of King David — this is the ‘tender plant’. Indeed our blessed Lord whose coming we are now waiting for expectantly is the root of Jesse in, not one sense, but two. He is the descendant of David, the youngest son of Jesse; and He inherited the Throne.

This is He who we believe is the ‘God of Love sitting on a Throne of Grace’, this is Jesus, son of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for as the angel said to Our Lady:

… and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end.5

As we come closer and closer to the great Feast of the Nativity of our Lord, we come closer and closer to His reign on earth at the second coming. Of course, as Catholics we believe that He reigns now, we have only a few weeks ago celebrated the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, and today we remember that again, but in a more urgent, expectant, way.

For me, this is a reminder of our mission in the world, taking the Gospel of Jesus Christ among the people, letting them see and hear Him through us. I pray that I may be a worthy instrument of that Gospel.

Notes
1. Antiphons of Advent
2. Is. 52.13
3. Is. 52.15
4. Is. 53.2
5. Lk 1.32–33
6. All Scriptural references are from the Douai-Rheims translation.

Take this holy medal; wear it with faith, and handle it with due devotion

Medal of Mary

Miraculous Medal of Our Lady (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s Feast which is commonly called ‘of the Miraculous Medal’, commemorates the manifestation of the Immaculate Virgin Mary to St Catherine Labouré DC. Our Blessed Lady showed St Catherine the pattern of a medal, that has worked many miracles since.

An English translation of the Collect at Mass is

O Lord Jesus Christ, who wast pleased that the most Blessed Virgin Mary Thy Mother, immaculate from her first conception, should shine resplendent with miracles beyond number: grant, that, ever imploring her patronage, we may attain the joys of everlasting life: Who livest and reignest….

As children of Mary, like St Catherine Labouré, we all should remember that Our Lady was given to us as our mother by Our Blessed Lord on the Cross. Jesus said to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour the disciple took her to his own. (John 19.27) His Mother became Mother of the Church.

A practice recommended by many confessors is to consecrate oneself to Our Lady. One prayer whereby we can do this is by saying the prayer below. Any priest will be able to bless the medal and invest you with it using the prayers from the Roman Ritual. After this you may wish to consecrate yourself to Our Lady.

Act of Consecration to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal

O virgin mother of God, Mary immaculate, we dedicate and consecrate ourselves to you under the title of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal.
May this medal be for each one of us a sure sign of your affection for us and a constant reminder of our duties towards you. Ever while wearing it, may we be blessed by your loving protection and preserved in the grace of your son.
O most powerful Virgin, mother of our saviour, keep us close to you every moment of our lives. Obtain for us, your children, the grace of a happy death; so that, in union with you, we may enjoy the bliss of heaven forever.
Amen.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you. (say this line three times)

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“more fraternal than authoritative”: an epistle to the Corinthians

When we hear of an Epistle to the Corinthians, most people will instinctively think of the St Paul the Apostle’s Epistles that are in the Canon of the New Testament, however epistles were being sent from many early Christian leaders to each other all over the known Christian world. This continues to this day, in each diocese all over the world, bishops can and do send pastoral letters to their flocks.

Today we celebrate the Feast of St Clement I, Bishop of Rome and Martyr. While many will regard a letter issued by him to be a letter with the authority of a Pope as the Roman Church understands that authority now, this may not be the case. It has been suggested by some scholars that St Clement’s epistle was “more fraternal than authoritative” – that is that he was not necessarily claiming that Rome was anything other than primus inter pares (first among equals). This is often the position that those of us who are independent Catholics find ourselves adopting or believing. We acknowledge the position of the Holy Father, Benedict ⅩⅥ, but we take his words as we would take the words of another bishop.  Continue reading

Our Lady and the Saints lead us to Christ

Mary Mother Of Jesus Vector Illustration

Mary Mother Of Jesus Vector Illustration (Photo credit: Vectorportal)

I exult for joy in the Lord, my soul rejoices in my God, for he has clothed me in the garments of salvation like a bride adorned in her jewels.

Responsory, Office of Readings, Nov. 21.

Today, the Church celebrates the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Today, we remember as St John Damascene says that truly Mary becomes the Lady above all creation in her role as the Mother of the Creator. Born in Joachim’s house near the Probatica, she was presented in the Temple. Thereupon “planted in the house of God” and nurtured by the Holy Spirit, like a fruitful olive tree she flowered forth in all virtues.

In today’s Office of Readings, we read from a sermon by St Augustine, By faith she believed; by faith, conceived, where St Augustine says that

Indeed the blessed Mary certainly did the Father’s will, and so it was for her a greater thing to have been Christ’s disciple than to have been his mother, and she was more blessed in her discipleship than in her motherhood. Hers was the happiness of first bearing in her womb him whom she would obey as her master.

Whilst many of us have devotions to many saints, and especially to Our Lady, we ought to be obeying Christ as they did. For it is by following Him, and following His commandments that we will find true life and true happiness. Each of the many saints that we know and love are most happy when we find through them something of the love of Christ.

I pray that, today, through the intercession of blessed Mary, we will all find ourselves worthy to be presented in the temple of glory. (cf Collect from Roman Missal 1962).

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Prayer for a Happy Death

Português: Brasão Cardinalício de John Henry N...

Oh, my Lord and Saviour, support me in that hour in the strong arms of Thy Sacraments, and by the fresh fragrance of Thy consolations. Let the absolving words be said over me, and the holy oil sign and seal me, and Thy own Body be my food, and Thy Blood my sprinkling; and let my sweet Mother, Mary, breathe on me, and my Angel whisper peace to me, and my glorious Saints … smile upon me; that in them all, and through them all, I may receive the gift of perseverance, and die, as I desire to live, in Thy faith, in Thy Church, in Thy service, and in Thy love. Amen.

—Blessed John Henry, Cardinal Newman, Cong.Orat.

I am the Resurrection and the Life… Believest thou this?

English: Jesus at the house of Mary and Martha

We all find it difficult when our friends and family pass from this life to the next. But Jesus understands this, as is illustrated by the Gospel in the Mass on the Day of Burial, when Martha complains to Our Lord that her brother, Lazarus, would have not died if Jesus had been there. Our Lord tells her,

I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in Me, although he be dead, shall live; and everyone that liveth, and believeth in Me, shall not die for ever. 

He then questions her (and, through this Gospel reading, us):

Believest thou this? 

Martha’s reply is surely our reply too.

Yea, Lord, I have believed that Thou art Christ the Son of the living God, who art come into this world.

And so, today, while I mourn for the passing of a great friend for whose soul I celebrated the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass together with my confrère, Fr Charles FSDM, I know that my Redeemer liveth as he is the Resurrection and the Life and that we who believe in him will have eternal life. November is a month full of requiem Masses from the Commemoration of all the Faithful Departed on All Souls’ Day, to Remembrance Day, the daily Masses for the Holy Souls, and also any for the soul of those who pass during at present. However, tonight’s Mass was the first that I celebrated with the intention being the happy repose of the soul of a friend. The first ever. It was humbling but deeply moving.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.

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