Well, I wonder how you are doing in your preparation for Easter? I know that I have kept to my Lenten penance thus far, no alcohol for me – not even on St Patrick’s Day – but as we all know, it is not just about keeping off something that we enjoy. That is the physical aspect, but the internal, the Spiritual aspect is much more important. Have we been keeping in touch with our heavenly Father, with Our Lady?
As we find ourselves in Passiontide, let us renew, again, our resolve to keep saying our prayers and, more importantly, listening to God.
Today, I found myself approving the booklets for our Fraternity’s celebration of the Easter Triduum next week. The Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Thursday evening, the Solemn Liturgy of the Passion of the Lord on Friday afternoon, and the Easter Vigil on Saturday night are three long services, but they are important. They remind us, of what our Lord did for us on each day. I know that I am looking forward to celebrating this major Festival with my brother priests in the FSDM. In a week’s time, we will be together, and will probably have said Compline before bed after travelling from our different residences. I pray that God will watch over all travellers in the next week.
The Cardinals need our help; and a recent website has just been set up that allows users to log in and adopt a randomly-selected (one presumes!) Prince of the Church for the Conclave. It is a bit of fun, but has its serious side: we can be encouraged to focus prayer on one man as the Cardinals meet to choose the next Bishop of Rome.
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?
What’s the next action?
if under 2 minutes to do it, then do it.
if over 2 minutes,
defer to calendar
next actions list
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you. (say this line three times)
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 →
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).
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.