Advent: a time of refreshing the spiritual and material workflow

You know how it is, there’s always more paperwork to be done, more letters and email to be read, and what is the next action that needs doing. Well yesterday, today, and tomorrow have been blocked out of my diary to sort collect all that is going on in my life, and then decide how to proceed. The simple way can be shown by questions below

  • Is it actionable?
    • No?
      • Trash
      • Someday
      • Reference
    • Yes
      • What’s the next action?
        • if under 2 minutes to do it, then do it.
        • if over 2 minutes,
          • delegate
          • defer to calendar
          • next actions list
English: Logo of Ikea.

Thanks to IKEA I have a number of large boxes which are going to the dump full of trash. 

But to get to the beginning, it is necessary to collect everything, so I have been going through the mountain of paperwork in stages and doing the above process rather than doing it all at once. Yesterday I was really only able to the first sort – Is it actionable, Yes or No, and if no, is it trash or not? One very large IKEA box of rubbish is heading to the dump today.

Of course, it is not just our material lives that need to have a clear out and a new way of working, we need to do that with our spiritual lives as well. We need to factor that in when planning our work schedule. Making sure that we have time to examine our consciences at the end of each day is important. The Sacrament of Penance is where we can right ourselves with the community of Faith and with God. Talking over what we are doing with our lives with a priest is always useful.

Often people take Spring as the time to clean out their houses, but for me, Advent is a bit like Spring but in the Church’s year, it is the first season, so for me it is the perfect time to make new liturgical year resolutions. One for me has been to take the time each day to pray the Divine Office without hurry. Being able to commit to this involves working a better way of working for everything else… which is why it is back to ‘Is it actionable?’ for me now.

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Quote

The Ceremonial of Bishops – by Abbot Cuthbert Johnston OSB

In the Rule of St Benedict chapter 48 the Abbot is instructed to give each monk at the beginning of Lent “a book from the library, which shall read be through consecutively” from cover to cover, during the days of Lent.

While the Ceremonial of Bishops is not a book that I would readily give to a monk for his Lenten reading, but it is a work which if read from beginning to end will provide valuable insights. Such an undertaking might appear to be a rather daunting task and the fact that the Ceremonial of Bishops has been presented as a resource book for those responsible for planning and directing the liturgical ministry of the Bishop, has also contributed towards deterring anyone reading it from cover to cover.

Read the rest here…. 

Bishops and other prelates are permitted the use of a mitre.

Abbot Johnston explains about how ceremonial is important not just for Bishops but for all in the Church. Although he was suggesting that the Ceremonial of Bishops would not be quite a book he would give to a monk for Lenten reading, it will probably form part of my reading as we prepare for the great Feast of Christmas and for the whole new liturgical year that comes after it. As a simple priest, I thought that it didn’t really concern me—but now, as Ordinary of FSDM, I am told that it does. For although I am not a bishop, in some respects I look after my confrères in the way that a Bishop looks after his flock. Some things are allowed to me. These external things are merely pointing towards the internal, that of caring for, and being responsible for the Fraternity. The sheep elected their shepherd. I must act — and look — like one.

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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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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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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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