“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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How could I say ‘No’, when Our Lady said ‘Yes’?

Dove of the Holy Spirit (ca. 1660, alabaster, ...

Dove of the Holy Spirit (ca. 1660, alabaster, Throne of St. Peter, St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As Fr Charles FSDM said in his meditation on yesterday’s readings at Mass, ‘we know not the hour, nor the day’ when the Lord will come. We must live everyday as though it is our last, and prepare to meet our Maker each night before we take our sleep. This is the reason that during Compline there is time for recollection of events from the day past and confession for those.

As was stated on our Fraternity’s website, on Friday evening, the Fraternity was inspired by the Holy Spirit to elect me as their first Ordinary for a term of three years. This is a new beginning. When elected, I was asked, ‘Do you accept election?’ I could have said ‘No.’, but would how would that have been saying ‘Yes’ to God? Our Fraternity is under the Protection of Our Blessed Lady, the Mother of God. If she, as a young woman could say ‘Yes’ to the message of the angel, then could I refuse the question raised by my confrères. I believed then, as now, that I could not. And so, somewhat surprisedly I said,

If that be the will of God and of this Fraternity, I accept election. I will be at the service of the Fraternity, I am not to be served, but to serve.

I ask that you pray for me as I begin my term of office that I may carry out my duties as our Ordinary with care, diligence, humility and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and Our Blessed Mother, the Queen of All Creation.

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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.