Preparing for Easter…

passiontide2Well, 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.

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Prayer request

mass_holy_souls_purgatory293Of your charity, please pray for the repose of the soul of M— who died on February 28th after a long illness. She was buried today with her loving earthly family all around.

Eternal Rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

The Most Holy Name of Jesus: some pious practices

Jesus H. Christ

Jesus H. Christ (Photo credit: angelofsweetbitter2009)

All too often, we hear the Most Holy Name of Jesus being used not devoutly, but blasphemously. Those of us who believe in Him and put our trust in Him can help to honour Him by using His Name devoutly. The Church has traditionally rewarded those who do so with the granting of various indulgences for many practices. Although the rules surrounding indulgences have been reformed, we know that what the Church has endowed in times past may still be used as good and wholesome private devotions, and in some cases are still indulgenced.

 

Most of what follows is from “The RaccoltaContinue reading

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.

O Adonaï — ‘come and redeem us’

The second of the great ‘O Antiphons’ O Adonai

O Adonai and Ruler of the House of Israel, you appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush and on Mount Sinai gave him your law.  Come, and with outstretched arm redeem us.1

Our God indeed reaches from the beginning of time, He was there in the burning bush appearing to Moses, gave the Ten Commandments forming the basis of the Law, and will come and redeem us all in due course. He was at the beginning, and is to be at the end, and in the middle He comes to redeem us all if we will let him.

Notes

1. Antiphons of Advent

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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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.

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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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