Saturday, 31 January 2009
How to write a Morrissey song.
1. Be Catholic, probably essential.
2. Be incredibly conflicted, guilty, tormented.
3. Write your incredibly conflicted, guilty, tormented emotions into song.
4. Pick up a guitar/play piano and string a few chords together.
5. Be honest, absurdly exhibitionist and yet at heart, really rather shy.
Friday, 30 January 2009
About 5 or 6 years ago I visited Ampleforth Abbey and thought it was delightful. Here is their schedule of prayer. Getting up at six 'o' clock in the morning seems rather civilised for a monastery! Lightweights! I wonder if they have TLM there. Apparently all the Brothers there train to be Priests and many of them serve the local communities around the Abbey. There are so many Abbeys around the UK. I visited Pluscarden Abbey, which was lovely too, nice chant there, then there was a brief visit to the Abbey of St Michael in Farnborough last week which was very lovely, oh and Worth Abbey for a short stay. Then there was The Friars in Aylesford, who were Carmelites and the Franciscans of the Renewal in Canning Town. I mean, seriously, if you felt called, where on earth would you start?!
Religious life in the UK doesn't seem to be waning so much as vocations to the Priesthood. I guess the secular Priesthood is possibly more lonely sometimes and isolating. I suppose that given I am still largely unemployed I could try a day 'peppered with prayer' as the Abbot told me on the phone all those years ago...wonder what would happen! Chances of me getting up at 6am seem minimal right now, but will try and give it a go one day.
This is sometimes called ‘Vigils’ and some communities get up in the middle of the night to pray it, while all around them sleep. As well as psalms it includes a couple of substantial readings, one from Scripture, another from the early Church Fathers. It lasts about 40 minutes. This gives us fuel for the private prayer that follows.
This is the main Morning Prayer, and the tone is celebratory, full of praise and thanksgiving. Lauds and Vespers are the two most important ‘hours’ of the day. It lasts about 25 minutes. Breakfast follows.
Little Hour, 8.45am
For us this replaces the old Prime, Terce, Sext and None, the short offices that punctuated the day. It lasts a mere ten minutes, and consecrates the working day.
This is not part of the series of prayer services, because it is in a category of its own. It is the sacrament of the day, in which we offer ourselves to the Eternal Father with Our Lord Jesus Christ, and commune with Our Blessed Lord Himself. Lunch follows.
This is the second principal office of the day, the Evening Prayer. At Ampleforth we sing it in Latin, in Gregorian Chant. It lasts 25 minutes and is followed by half an hour of Lectio Divina, and then supper.
This is Night Prayer. It begins with a reading from the Rule. All the psalms, readings and prayers are about protection, safety and the love of God. It lasts 15 minutes and is followed by an antiphon to Our Lady in Gregorian Chant. Silence lasts from the end of this office until Matins the next day.
Thursday, 29 January 2009
Just posted a children's short story I wrote a few years ago entitled The Miraculous Apple Tree. If you'd like to read it click here. If you know any publishers who you think would like it let me know and actually if you like it, let me know. If you don't like it, let me know, but with charity. If your children like it, definitely let me know!
If you want to read that post on my first impressions of the Latin Mass at St Mary Magdalen's, only this time in German, click here. Thanks Michael Charlier, glad you liked it. Good Lord, nobody's ever translated anything I've written into any other language until today. Now its in German maybe the Holy Father will read it and make me his Vatican enforcer, crushing heresy through the power of the blog. I'll be known as 'God's Jack Russell.'
Imagine that the jockeys are the homeless who gather outside my window to have a can of beer and chat and the 'Artist Formerly Known as Prince' is a Community Support Police Officer.' A***holes! Why can't they go out and catch some real criminals? I mean, what do other people pay their taxes for!?
"I must spend some time in prayer this morning...I'll just check my blog, oh how exciting a comment...nice one...S**t, I've left my car down the road, bloody traffic wardens, still haven't paid the last two, better move it...right back, time for some OJ, hmm delicious...right...must say my prayers...look at all that washing up, better do it...right, prayers...Oh, I'll just check Father's blog, oh that's interesting, what about Damien Thompson's, ah same old same old...need a fag, can't believe I'm still smoking through the flu...right, back, must say my prayers, oh but I need a cup of tea, I'll have a cup of tea then say my prayers, yes siree, any minute now, just have a nice cup of tea...lovely stuff, oh I need another fag...right back...Oh my, would you credit it a red wine stain on my desk, s**t, that must have been there for ages, that looks awful, just clean that up and say my prayers...oh my, better have a shower, I feel right groggy, like death...right, shower done...oh my would you credit it? I haven't had lunch yet, lucky I got that soup in yesterday I feel awful, couldn't bear to go out again, yes carrot soup, that'll be good for my cold...need another fag, just have this fag and then I'll say my prayers...oh look, that icon would look much better there, yes, oh that's sweet...just check my bank balance, oh holy s**t, I am so screwed...got to get a job, got to...s**t forgot to clean my teeth...right, oh the post, do I have a letter, do I? do I? No. Nothing, not even a frigging bill, nobody loves me...God, I'm feeling horny, no I shouldn't, oh ...Oh no, I've done it again, I'm such a wretch, O Lord, have mercy, I can't face prayer now, not in this state...if only I'd said my prayers this morning...and on...and on...and on..."
There's nothing quite like a stream of consciousness to remind me how useless I am. I remember the Penny Catechism saying as soon as we wake we should get up, dress modestly and say our prayers. As you can see, if you don't do that endless faffing may be the result. O Christian, beware of faffing, it is the enemy of your soul and an obstacle to your salvation!
Wednesday, 28 January 2009
Apotheosis of St Thomas Aquinas, by Francisco De Zurbaran
Today is the Feast of St Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church. Doctors of the Church are people whose writing, inspired by the Holy Spirit, builds up the Church, teaches the truths of the Catholic Faith and inspires others to seek the Face of God. The word doctor also suggests their works had some kind of healing or balming effect on the Church. Don't know, the last one's a shot in the dark.
St Thomas is known to have written vast reams of treatises on Catholic Dogma only to on his deathbed have proclaimed, "Burn everything! God is Love!" His devotees then went out and torched the whole town. When they came back, St Thomas said, "No, I meant the books." Alright, I'm joking, but seriously, he is said to have intimated that the sumnation of Christian belief was exactly what St John said it was in his letters and compared to the profundity of that theological fact, his works, he believed, paled into comparison.
Thank God, however, his disciples did not burn his literature. I remember reading some of Summa Theologica years ago and assuming it was a dictated conversation between him and a sceptic. Talking with Fr Ray yesterday, turned out he was literally playing Devil's Advocate and opening up the Faith of the Church to critical analysis and then guided by the Holy Spirit, refuted all the scepticisms. What a clever blighter!
As you can see from the picture above, St Thomas was a giant theologian of the Church and even up in Heaven, St Thomas has leapt up from his place exclaiming, "Aha! I've got it!" while the other Doctor Saints are saying, "He's at it again, look. Oh, do sit down, Thomas, I think we've got it worked out too...Oh, Good Lord...he always has to be right doesn't he!?"
HQ of City of Edinburgh Council
Now there's a headline of which the Daily Mail would be proud!
I began calling Social Services 'the SS' a while after I left an organisation where we came into contact with them a lot in London. While obviously there were then and there remain now many exceptions to the rule, Social Services are inherently middle class, highly judgmental and often brutish, ill-mannered bureaucrats, unable to look upon people's poverty or misery without looking down on them patronisingly, and who have an uncanny knack of ensuring that all sensitive issues relating to families are tackled in the only way they know how: with a pen, a sheet of paper and some boxes to tick.
Ultimately, the families we worked with said that it wasn't just the fact that Social Services had taken their children away and put them into care, adopted them out, or put them into middle class foster homes because they were deemed to have been neglectful - even though they tried their hardest in excruciating poverty - it was the total lack of respect from the Social Services they encountered. Respect...a small thing but highly valuable at any time and really rather necessary if you are going to dedicate your life to working with poor families. I don't think they ever thought of running a training course in it in the Social Services diploma.
The Telegraph runs a story today about how Social Services in Edinburgh have removed two young children from the care of their grandparents only for them to be adopted by a homosexual couple. The article, without sensationalism, claims that, 'The five-year-old boy and his four-year-old sister were being looked after by their grandparents because their mother, a recovering drug addict, was not considered capable. But social workers stepped in after allegedly deciding that the couple, who are aged 59 and 46, were "too old" to look after the children. They were allegedly stripped of their carer's rights and informed they would be barred from seeing the children altogether unless they agreed to the same-sex adoption.'
The article continues, 'The distraught grandfather said: "It breaks my heart to think that our grandchildren are being forced to grow up in an environment without a mother-figure. We are not prejudiced, but I defy anyone to explain to us how this can be in their best interests. The ideal for any child is to have a loving father and a loving mother in their lives."
There is nothing controversial about grandparents wanting the best for their grandchildren, yet, we are living in an age in which this view is seen as a new variant of criminal insanity. Regardless of the plain and simple fact that children should not be exposed to the homosexual lifestyle and should be protected from such an adult issue while they still have their innocence, the SS are clearly showing brazen disregard both for the love and commitment shown by the grandparents in their duty to the children and their heartfelt wishes for the best interests of the children being removed from them unjustly.
The article continues, 'The grandfather is a farmhand who has angina while his wife is receiving medication for diabetes. The children have been in foster care for two years while their grandparents battled the social services department in court. However, the cost of legal bills forced them to drop the case and relinquish their rights. The grandparents reluctantly agreed to adoption, provided the children were found a "loving mother and father".' They then learned that the children would be given to a gay couple and are quite understandably aggrieved. Yet, 'when he protested to social workers, the grandfather alleges he was told: "You can either accept it and there's a chance you'll see the children twice a year, or you can take that stance and never see them again."'
What right do the Social Services have to storm in and remove people's children when they are deemed unfit by their standards? I know there have been some tragic cases where they have not acted but this does not appear to be a case of abuse! What right do Social Services have to hand the children over to a gay couple against the wishes of the blood family?! What right do Social Services have to then use the children as pawns in a bullying and threatening fashion in order to maximise their quota for their annual report to the Government on how many times they have stripped families of their rights and pleased the gay community?! What right do they have to stop the grandparents even having contact with the children?! Since when did the State become the natural parent? They don't have any right do it at all! But then, that's why I always call them the SS nowadays...
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
Post-Latin Mass Interview hosted by Franciscan Friar
"Congratulations on a marvellous result. How do you think that went, Ron?"
"Well, you know, at the end of the day, I can't complain. The boys gave 110% out there, I can't ask for much more. At the end of the day, there were three altar servers and a Priest out there fighting for Sacred Tradition against the weight of so many stubborn Bishops dragging their feet. We just got into our game and there was little they could do to stop us. I'm proud of the lads. Some of the Bishops were blocking us for a while, you know, they have a formidable defence, a 'magic circle' if you like, but we just kept hammering away at it and in the end, got the result we were after."
"But you came away with a cracking result and what a sublime finish at the end there at the 'Ite Missa Est'. Can you take us through that one more time? We've got it here on slow motion action replay."
"Yes, as you can see, I turned on a sixpence having finished cleaning the Sacred Vessels, faced the congregation and gave them the Dismissal, telling them Mass was ended in Latin. The crowd loved it. It was like 1966 all over again. Magic stuff, you know, as a Priest, you live for times like this. Great Mass, cracking finish, and many of the crowd stayed behind afterwards for more prayer, which is always a good sign. Pure poetry."
"This puts you in a great position for the rest of the season. Where do you think you'll be at the end of the liturgical year?"
"Well, I shouldn't pontificate, but yes, well, you know, we've still got the Holy Father to come back from injury after that SSPX scare, nasty metatarsal from that awful Williamson challenge, but he's come through it well and the Physio is wonderful. I think in time people will see the wisdom there of leaving Fellay and Williamson out for a while, loose cannons, mavericks if you will, but then gradually bringing them back into the Fold and gently healing the rifts. But, you know, the number XVI is our big hitter and I don't think at the end of the season, there will be anyone to challenge us."
"You're really knocking back all-comers when it comes to the Cup."
"Yes, yes, well we're concentrating on the Divine League, 'Sponsored by Sacred Species Under One Kind', you know, and I think you'll find us on top at the end, challenging for honours and Blessed Hosting a sensational victory for true piety, reverence and heartfelt devotion."
"Great stuff, at one point there I thought your backs were really up against it."
"Yes, they were, but sometimes when it looks like your backs are up against it, really, you know, you're all facing the same way, towards the Lord. You know, why go West when you can face East? "Keep facing East!" That's what I tell the lads, and they just respond in kind. If it was good enough for the Early Christians it is good enough for us. It's a different formation, you know, a new system, not what the lads are used to, but we've had good advice that it will work and as you can see, its already paying dividends."
"There was one point there when the crowd were literally on their knees, silent in holy prayer, literally waiting for the Precious Body of Christ, like hungry lambs."
"Yes, well when Holy Mass is done so attentively to remind people they're in the Presence of God, that's what happens. But you know, I can't take all the credit, the boys have given it their all and you've got to say the Almighty played a huge role in this Mass too, coming down from on High and really rescuing us from a lot of trouble, redeeming us when really we didn't deserve it and sustaining us with His Salvific Love, under the guise of bread."
"Marvellous stuff...People are saying your team are similar to the Tridentine team of the 1950s and some are even calling this brand of Mass, 'Total Mass'. Many are unfamiliar with it and others say they haven't seen Mass done so beautifully and reverently since the early 60s in those heady halcyon days of Pius X, who as we all know was a great Leader and Shepherd."
"Yes, you know, we're trying our best. We take a leaf out of his book, you know. We agree with his belief that, "Mass isn't a matter of life and death, it's more important than that: its the Lord's Death and Resurrection." We practice a lot on the training ground, but when the boys know what they're doing, it all flows. Great team work and you can really see that connection with the will of the Holy and Immortal God, and the sense that yes, the Sacrifice of the Mass comes right from Heaven. This was how it was meant to be done and we'll just keep working hard on pleasing God and things should hopefully work out for us."
"An Extraordinary claim, but then it was Mass in the Extraordinary Form and I don't think you'll have too many doubters this evening. Great result, Ron. I'm sure they'll be dancing in the streets of the Vatican tonight. Not sure about Eccesleton Square though...."
"Cheers. A lot of people didn't give us a prayer a few seasons ago when we got His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI on a transfer after his stalwart and inspirational predecessor, Pope John Paul the Great, but you have to say the man has star quality. He's our talisman, our lynchpin, our Rock and I think we can trust him to guide us safely to honours and glory. He really digs in, gets stuck in when times are hard and he's sharp you know, clever, prudent and wise. He's got vision. You can't buy that stuff, you know, its Heaven sent. Who knows? Next year, maybe bigger and better things. This Mass is getting really popular now and who knows, maybe next year, we'll be running encyclicals around all the competition. It would be nice to put a string of Latin Masses together and go on a long unbeaten run for a while."
"Is there anyone you want to dedicate this Mass to?"
"Yes, that was for the People of the Parish."
"Well, Rome will certainly be taking these boys seriously now. Over to you, Trevor, from a stunning Mass here which left many of the congregation breathless and when there were many who doubted too. However, in the end it really was a case of 'It'll be Old Rite on the night.'"
From Asia News
The Iraqi Chaldean bishops have given Benedict XVI the liturgical robe of Archbishop Paul Faraj Rahho and the stole belonging to Fr. Ragheed Ganni. Both men were killed in Mosul, Archbishop Rahho in 2008, Fr. Ragheed in 2007. The gifts were given during the concluding audience for the ad limina visit made recently by the Eastern bishops. The pope received the relics "with emotion," and recalled the "victims of violence in Iraq during these years" - and in particular the two martrys and the many other priests and faithful - saying that "their sacrifice is a sign of their love for the Church and their country."
In his address to the bishops, the pontiff emphasized the "irreplaceable" value of the Chaldean Church in the history of the East, and of Iraq in particular, and exhorted them to continue this mission in the service "of the human and spiritual development" of the country. For this reason, he said that "it is necessary to promote a high cultural level among the faithful, especially among the young. A good formation in the various areas of knowledge, both religious and secular, is a valuable investment for the future."
He also asked the Iraqi faithful to carry out "a role of moderation" in the construction of the country, in order to shape relationships of understanding among Christians and Muslims, specifying that "the Christians who have always lived in Iraq are full-fledged citizens with the same rights and duties as all, without distinction of religion."
The pope addressed more directly the "daily violence" directed against the Christians. He asked the bishops to support their faithful by "urging them to love the land of their ancestors, to whom they remain profoundly attached." At the same time, the bishops must "appeal to the authorities responsible for the recognition of their human and civil rights."
To the problem of violence in the country is also connected the problem of the diaspora and of emigration. Benedict XVI thanked all of those who in various countries are welcoming the Iraqis who "for a certain period of time must unfortunately leave Iraq," and asked the bishops to care for the faithful of the diaspora. "It is indispensable," the pontiff specified, "for the faithful to preserve their cultural and religious identity, and for the young people to discover and appreciate the rich heritage of their ancestral Church. In this perspective, the spiritual and moral assistance required by the faithful scattered throughout the world must be taken into serious consideration by their pastors, in fraternal relations with the bishops of the local churches."
The pope also emphasized the importance of synod assemblies among the bishops, urging them to "communion and to living interepiscopal charity" in order to "elaborate common pastoral directives." In this regard, the synod of Chaldean bishops scheduled for last December was delayed until May of 2009, despite all of the urgencies presented by the situation in the country.
Finally, Benedict XVI asked the bishops to be close to their faithful, and to urge them on by example, to "remain close to the people in need or in difficulty, the sick, the suffering," and praised the efforts of many Christians who are giving a "testimony of unselfish charity . . . without distinction of origin or religion."
The pope concluded with a wish: "May the prayer and help of your brothers in the faith and of many people of good will accompany you, so that the loving face of God may continue to shine upon the Iraqi people who have known such great suffering."
Monday, 26 January 2009
Someone please stop these sick b****rds. Personally, I pledge to raise awareness of the distubring cult of personality that surrounds President Obama and his sickening disregard for human life in the womb. It is adverts like this that lead me to think this guy could be the new Hitler. I laughed out loud when I heard the celebrity who said, "I pledge to flush only after a deuce!" O my, that was classic. And then there's the lady who pledges to "reduce my use of plastic." Well, if she's a Hollywood celebrity she could start with her face! And then there is the frightening mantra at the end of the ad, which really makes you want to punch them and start daubing anti-Obama graffiti all over your hometown.
Sunday, 25 January 2009
Well its been one of 'those' weekends and entertaining as it has been I have fallen deeply into the mire of sin. It's a wonder I dare to show my face at Mass somedays, but then on Sundays it is obligatory and God wants us there whatever we have done. There are only three moral goods that can emerge from falling into sin, even though we should never promote it and should hate sin. Firstly, falling brings humility in realising one's great and urgent need for God and for His salvation. Secondly, falling means once again we can experience the forgiveness of God through the Sacrament of Penance, because God brings good out of every human evil. Thirdly, having an attachment to sin and falling into it makes one more compassionate about the weaknesses of others. God knows, I try not to go looking for trouble but every now and then trouble finds me, takes me home etc...I hope I don't sound like an heretic, I'm only trying to show the compassionate face of Catholicism: Reconciliation with God and Reparation for sin.
Unfortunately, all this has been lost on the Community Support Police Officers who wander through Brighton pouring away the drinks of beggars and the homeless who are sat peacefully around town. Outside my window on Saturday were four homeless people sitting down against a wall, out of sight of the main road, having a can and chatting. Next time I looked out of the window two CSPOs were confiscating their cans, pouring the contents on the floor, taking their names for identity checks and moving them on to God alone knows where. I remember a trip to Barcelona I made last year, how at night lots of people walked down the street with a can of beer in their hands. I did it myself. Both the smoking ban and the ban on consumption of alcohol on the street are viciously puritan, tyrannical and hypocritical. When I went outside to talk to the officers one of the chaps who was being moved on thanked me that I had argued against what the CPSOs were doing. My main point was this: Why is it okay to get legless sitting outside a pub at a table, but you can't have a can of beer on the pavement, out of sight, even, of 'respectable' Joe Public?
The CSPO concerned told me that they had had complaints from members of the public because people find it intimidating when they see people having a drink during the day and chatting with their friends by a wall. I told the CSPO that that surely was the problem of the people who found it so offensive. Unsightliness, like beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It appears more and more that society is being run by stasi-esque traffic wardens whose existence revolves around the execution of council bye-laws which are transparently aimed at hounding the poor around town and treating them as social pariahs.
Meanwhile, everyone in Brighton is getting smashed in the evenings in bars across town, throwing up into the street and getting lairy. But that is okay because it is all taking place at a respectable public house for drinking. Sadly, the protestant revolution is echoing even unto this very day. Whenever I see a CPSO mercilessly pouring someone's drink away I always think of the words of Our Lord, "Go and learn the meaning of the words, 'It is mercy I desire, not sacrifice.'" I remember my Priest's homily once in which he said, "As Christians we are on the side of the crucified, not the crucifiers." The very poor know about society's innate ability to hound them, criminalise them and crucify them. It is up to us to help change people's prejudices and attitudes towards the poor. I have a cunning plan and it involves bongos, guitars and a can of Special Brew.
Bartolome Esteban Murillo's 'Conversion of St Paul'
Today the Church calendar marks the Conversion of St Paul, the incredible man who spread the Gospel far and wide and who was martyred in Rome. The Acts of the Apostles tell of how the man Saul was present at the stoning of St Stephen, the first Christian martyr and persecuted the early Church, only to astonishingly be converted when on the road to Damascus. I love the paintings of his conversion, as he was blinded by the light of Christ who said to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" Saul became Paul and Paul became St Paul, who wrote the Letters which expound the love of God, the Grace of God and the formation of the early Church. He wrote this on love:
Love is patient; love is kind
and envies no one.
Love is never boastful, nor conceited, nor rude;
never selfish, not quick to take offense.
There is nothing love cannot face;
there is no limit to its faith,
its hope, and endurance.
In a word, there are three things
that last forever: faith, hope, and love;
but the greatest of them all is love.
I am fond of incredible conversions to the Catholic Faith and of course history is littered with them. I like the idea that a raging Saul is on his way to Damascus on his horse thinking of new and exciting ways of killing Chistians and God looks at him and thinks, "He's got potential...I think I'll use him." Ah, but of course, St Paul was chosen before the foundation of the World.
Saturday, 24 January 2009
Courtesy of Catholic Online
Born in France in 1567, Francis was a patient man. He knew for thirteen years that he had a vocation to the priesthood before he mentioned it to his family. When his father said that he wanted Francis to be a soldier and sent him to Paris to study, Francis said nothing. Then when he went to Padua to get a doctorate in law, he still kept quiet, but he studied theology and practiced mental prayer while getting into swordfights and going to parties. Even when his bishop told him if he wanted to be a priest that he thought that he would have a miter waiting for him someday, Francis uttered not a word. Why did Francis wait so long? Throughout his life he waited for God's will to be clear. He never wanted to push his wishes on God, to the point where most of us would have been afraid that God would give up!
God finally made God's will clear to Francis while he was riding. Francis fell from his horse three times. Every time he fell the sword came out of the scabbard. Every time it came out the sword and scabbard came to rest on the ground in the shape of the cross. And then, Francis, without knowing about it, was appointed provost of his diocese, second in rank to the bishop...(for more click here...)
- I can invite a non-Catholic friend to Mass and I don't have to 'hold his hand' to help him or guide him through the responses for the Holy Mass, because the emphasis has been taken away from the congregation's audible participation. If he asks me what he has to do in the Mass I can tell him: Pray.
- Mass becomes more about the interior than the functions of the exterior. I can reflect more humbly and more reverently on Who is to be consecrated on the Altar, Who I am about to receive, Who I have just received and Who now dwells within me.
- It is all too easy to forget that for over 2000 years the Church has been churning out Saints and Blesseds like a holy factory, even though She is a hospital for sinners. I am quite certain that the more exposure men and women have to TLM, the more Saints and Blesseds will be the result, because it draws the communicant deeper into the mystery of God and the Communion of the Saints. If the Church isn't churning out Saints and Blesseds, then we will know why, because like the British Government we've destroyed our manufacturing base. I guess what I am saying, is that it is easy to forget that the Saints of the Church prayed the Mass reverently, always experienced the interior devotion of TLM and would have taken it for granted that TLM was the only Mass and were they to walk into a Church today they might have a very big shock and have a few things to say to the Priest!
- This is one reason why an English Bishop's comments regarding the Mass being about the 'community' in worship is disappointing. So often, protestants talk about a 'personal relationship' with the Lord Jesus and they are often derided as a result. Yet the great irony is that the majority of protestant worship does take place in assembly, does involve a great deal of corporate singing, does involve a sense of the corporate over-riding the sense of private devotion and solemnity. If you are really seeking a personal relationship with Christ then TLM is the place to find it. If you want to go to a disco on the other hand, there's always somewhere down the road in Brighton...
- TLM genuinely encourages the Faithful into a deeper, personal relationship with God and quite right too. Although Heaven is a joyous company of men and women praising, adoring and loving God in eternity, and that is where we hope to belong when we die, I suppose the point is when we die we will be alone with God. We are more likely to prepare spiritually for a holy death if we are seeking God's face in the silence of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, rather than if we are all singing, all responding, all being vocal and possibly drowning out His voice entirely.
- Ooh and you are more likely to get vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life because men and women are more likely to desire to contemplate God, love God and hear His call.
President Barack Obama, still riding the crest of a wave of popularity has in the first week of office signed quite a few 'Executive Orders'. With the stroke of a pen, he assigned Guantanamo Bay to the ignominious dustbin of history to which it belongs and receives adulation and applause. It would appear that the powers of the President have been increased incredibly in the last few years and it is a worrying development. I mean, does no-one ever think, what if the guy was a total nutjob, even more nutty than the last one (I know its hard to imagine) and a serial killer in disguise.
It is with nonchalance and indifference that with the stroke of a pen also, he then proceeded days later to consign the unborn children at least partially protected under US legislation to the ignominious dustbin to which they most certainly do not belong, nor deserve to be consigned. Planned Parenthood's well-known and unholy alliance with Obama is paying dividends now. The pro-abortion corporation funded his bid for the Presidency with their filthy blood money, and are now been rewarded with the removal of restrictions on public finance being used to fund abortion clinics. No corruption in US politics now Obama is here? Think again...Obama isn't going to bite the hands that feed him.
A friend of mine was arrested yesterday having been spotted breaching his ASBO in the town centre. There are vast swathes of Brighton in which he is not allowed to stand, sit or walk until 2012. Society has rejected him and the authorities wish to control his movements. His crime? Having a can on the street and begging. Due to his arrest he could face a maximum of four years in jail for breaching his ASBO. So, he could receive a prison sentence merely for standing in the wrong place in town. A bit harsh? Welcome to Brown's Britain.
Friday, 23 January 2009
Tonight I went to the first Latin Mass I've attended at St Mary Magdalen's Church. It is the first Mass at which I have not uttered a word...and that is why it is beautiful. It is the first Mass at which I have not responded to what the Priest is saying...and that is why it is beautiful. I came away thinking, yes, that is how it was always meant to be. It is almost as if everyone suddenly knows his place.
The Priest is allowed to be the Priest, mediating and interceding on the behalf of his congregation, with vocal and inaudible prayer and entreaty. His assistant, the altar server assists in the responses during the liturgy.
The Laity are allowed to be the Laity, allowed to be still in the Presence of God, to acknowledge our unworthiness before the Lord and to be able to actually pray without distraction, without having to make responses, even 'Amen', without having to vocalise the pattern of the Mass and to simply be before God. The vocalised responses to the Mass have been taken away, the responsibility to speak has been removed and in comparison to the New Rite, are suddenly left feeling, 'But isn't there something we have to do? Isn't there something we have to say? What am I meant to do?' Yet, now we can be! We don't have to do anything! Now we can pray in the silence of our hearts and seek Him!
And, of course, most importantly, Amighty God is allowed to be Almighty God, without being assailed by the noise of the Laity, without men and women profaning Him by receiving the Blessed Host in the hand, without men and women profaning or demeaning Him by not kneeling to receive, without them uttering the sacred words of the Santcus carelessly or without thought or devotion, knowing that in the Priest He has someone who is worthy by virtue of his Office, to mediate for His people.
Yes, suddenly in the Latin Mass, everybody knows their place, harmony is restored and nobody is seeking to usurp another's role. The Priest as Alter Christo takes upon himself the mediatory role between man and God and is allowed to be the Priest and we the Laity are allowed to be, allowed to pray in the silent majesty of Presence of God.
A friend of mine called Michael handed me this the other day, his thoughts on the importance of the kind spirited people who run soup runs for the homeless and what life would be like without them.
I met an old lady the other day on Victoria station, in the freezing cold, collecting for the Passage, the local hostel for the homeless. We exchanged a few words and I was on my way and it set me thinking, 'What happens to the homeless and those less fortunate, when those old ladies and gentlemen who give so much of their time and energy, can no longer carry on? I do hope there is a place in Heaven reserved especially for them - the special ones!
If their legions deplete it is the whole of society that will suffer - not just the buttie and soup runs and the kind words that lift us out of the doledrums - these unsung heroes - carers without reward - should that tradition be lost, then so are we all.
Are they a dying breed or are there more coming through?
Because God help us all if there's not!
Wednesday, 21 January 2009
Today was the Feast of St Agnes, Martyr of the Church who was beheaded for keeping her virginity and courageously proclaiming Christ to be her true Spouse. We Catholics have been quite left alone in the UK, the US and the West as a whole for a long while, but the story is very different in other countries in India, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, China and many other countries around the World, where the Church is still under daily attack.
Tertullian said, "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church," meaning, I assume that the witness of the holy martyrs only gives the Church more life because the men and women who still today lay their lives down for Christ say to the World, "Jesus Christ is the man I am willing to die for, because he laid down his life for me." I mean, how long can you keep killing the innocent and just until people eventually say, "Oh alright, you can have a Church and practice your religion, just keep the noise down and pay a bit extra tax and we won't bother you for a few hundred years."
In the UK we have the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales, many of whom were killed at Tyburn, York, during the horrendous and bloody reign of Henry VIII, who had many Catholics killed, even ones he truly respected such as the great St Thomas More, because they wouldn't sign the Act of Supremacy. Only one Bishop, incidently, was martyred during this time and his name was St John Fisher.
So, and I know this is a bit dark and gruesome, but it is not totally impossible a scenario to imagine, that the Catholic Faith becomes so grotesque a religion in the eyes of Western societies, or to a charismatic leader with mass appeal (no pun intended) that a persecution of the Church is launched. How do you want to go? Be inventive as we are promised they will be should the time come.
c) Shot/Shot with a sawn-off shotgun and then beheaded.
d) Smelted down with plastic and turned into a telephone, which by Supernatural Grace becomes the 'direct line to God' that your protestant murderers keep banging on about, so they can genuinely obtain His forgiveness and be mercifully told by the entire Court of Heaven to join the One True Church in order to frequent the Sacraments of Grace and save their souls.
h) All three of the above (you really love the Church!)
i) Electrocuted/Tazered repetitively.
k) Smoked/Roasted/Grilled/Baked/Seared/Skewered and kebabed asking, "Salad, chilli sauce, garlic sauce?"/Deep-fat fryed/Boiled/Poached/Pressure-cooked/Tinned/Canned/Bottled and thrown out to sea only to return to the miraculous sound of an angelic choir singing 'Message in a Bottle,' by The Police.
m) Drowned/Thrown off a pier with lead weight only to resurface saying, "Bhoy, that was a lucky escape!" only to be harpooned to death viciously.
n) Dropped out of hot air balloon/plane with no parachute, noting, "And to think people pay good money for this! What a view! Oops, nearly forgot, Lord, don't hold this sin against..." (SPLAT)
o) Starved/Dehydrated/Rehydrated too much/Fed an extremly intense diet of saturated fats daily until you suffer fatal heart failure.
p) Poisoned/Lethal injection/Electric Chair
q) Fed to lions/piranhas/sharks/aligators/killer ants/killer bees/grizzly bears/killer badgers/killer squirrels only to thwart your persecutors because you've befriended them and taught them to give more praise to God, before a more sure method of execution.
t) Fired out of cannonball, blown up and emblazoned across the sky, spelling, by Supernatural Grace, a list of all the Popes since St Peter or, knowing me, "And you're absolutely sure you don't want to marry me?"
u) Winched into active volcano due to go off within the next 48 hours according to highly accurate seismic readings.
w) Crushed and recycled (a.k.a. Bishop's Choice, "Come now, think of the environment! Please recycle me, I couldn't bear to be put into landfill. Dear Lord, I pray these persecutors look after Your planet better from now on!")
x) Minced/Blended/Spliced/Grated/Sliced/Cubed/Freshly Ground/Burnt down and smoked/Burnt down and turned into teabag for gigantic tea pot (a.k.a. English 'Til I Die)
y) Buried alive.
z) Being used as a new and intriguing novelty minute-hand for Big Ben saying, "You rascals! You won't be laughing at the End of Time!" to yet more peels of laughter.
So many ways to go! Can you think of more? Still, anything's better than that hideous tumour on the front of my fag packet.
A friend of mine has a boyfriend who has been refused bail and is now residing in prison for involvement in a demonstration at the grounds of a firm whose ethics he took issue with. According to my friend he is innocent of taking part any wrongdoing in what took place, but was caught up in the chaos and was charged, simply because he is a protester well-known to the authorities.
Catholic dissent seems to be on the decrease in the UK. We have all gone quite meekly into the night when it comes to peaceful, civil protest at laws enacted in the UK concerning Life issues, the Human Embryology Bill and local bye-laws which punish the very poor, such as begging and street drinking. Civil protest is our right and we have a right to have our voices heard when they are not heeded by the political process.
While St Paul encourages us to be subject to the law of the land, it is perhaps a worry that, for example, around the abortion clinics dotted around the UK there are no small, peaceful gatherings of faithful Catholics simply praying the Rosary outside. When or if the HFE bill gets passed, will Catholics pray the Rosary in peaceful protest outside companies using human embryos for scientific research into cures for diseases? I wonder what would happen if people did protest peacefully in these situations. While violence and criminal damage is not a good thing to be praised, it is a concern that Catholics in the UK are not prepared to put their necks on the line for the causes they know are right, but many other people motivated by a passion for justice are.
On my way to St Mary Magdalen's to do the admin I was accosted by a young man named Stephen who invited me to a talk called, "Evolution: Fact or Fiction" and wanted to give me a flyer for it. I refused politely saying, "Thank you, but I'm Catholic and I listen to the Church." Oh boy! He didn't like that at all! He proceeded to wax lyrical about salvation through being "born again" and through the reading the Bible. Having half an hour earlier prayed the peace prayer of St Francis, I was in no mood for a fight, but he held me for a good five or six minutes trying to persuade me of the error of my ways.
Key themes included:
1) There is only one mediator between God and man and that is Jesus Christ. There is therefore no reason for a Priesthood, Cardinals, Pope, Bishops and Clergy.
2) There is no need for Sacraments when you are 'born again,' because it is a "new life in Jesus."
3) There is no need to pray to the Virgin Mary and the Saints because that's not in the Bible.
4) Because of the terrible heresy of belonging to the Catholic Church and not being 'born again', my punishment will be eternal damnation.
5) There is nothing in the Bible about Sacraments, the Papal Supremacy and the Catholic Church or anything for which the Catholic Church stands.
I told him that the World needs a Holy Arbiter and Interpreter of Sacred Scripture, otherwise any man could come up with his own interpretation. I did cite Christ's breathing on the Disciples and giving them the power to forgive sins and Christ's giving of the keys to St Peter but he really wasn't having it.
He was very, very concerned for my soul, bless him and was desperate to rescue my arse from the pit of destruction. Having hung out with a few protestants recently, I am seriously considering a tattoo for the first time in my life. I'm thinking of a black ink, in Times New Roman font on my forehead, simply saying, "Sinner." This way, I'll attract hoards of protestants to me who I can then gently but firmly admonish concerning their heresy. Tell you what though, give them an inch and they'll take a country mile. Having been told of my eternal fate with the damned, I said, "God bless you" and left him to go about his business. Poor lamb, I'd imagine someone less patient is going to belt him one.
For a good blogsite on Biblical Evidence for Catholicism, click here.
St Stephen, Proto-martyr of the Church and his Holy Patron, pray for us.
Looking for a biog of the life of St Agnes, I found a blog called Sponsa Christi from a young lady who has recently consecrated herself to a life of virginity. What a courageous, faithful and inspiring person she is!
Biography courtesy of Catholic Online
St. Agnes was a Roman girl who was only thirteen years old when she suffered martyrdom for her Faith. Agnes had made a promise, a promise to God never to stain her purity. Her love for the Lord was very great and she hated sin even more than death! Since she was very beautiful, many young men wished to marry Agnes, but she would always say, "Jesus Christ is my only Spouse."
Procop, the Governor's son, became very angry when she refused him. He had tried to win her for his wife with rich gifts and promises, but the beautiful young girl kept saying, "I am already promised to the Lord of the Universe. He is more splendid than the sun and the stars, and He has said He will never leave me!" In great anger, Procop accused her of being a Christian and brought her to his father, the Governor. The Governor promised Agnes wonderful gifts if she would only deny God, but Agnes refused. He tried to change her mind by putting her in chains, but her lovely face shone with joy. Next he sent her to a place of sin, but an Angel protected her. At last, she was condemned to death.
Even the pagans cried to see such a young and beautiful girl going to death. Yet, Agnes was as happy as a bride on her wedding day. She did not pay attention to those who begged her to save herself. "I would offend my Spouse," she said, "if I were to try to please you. He chose me first and He shall have me!" Then she prayed and bowed her head for the death-stroke of the sword.
St Agnes, patroness of the Children of Mary, pray that the Blessed Virgin Mary's children who stray from the true Faith may return and for all persecuted for their holy purity and virginity.
An understandably nervous Barack Obama stumbled over repeating the Oath of Office when he failed to repeat the sentence, "I will execute the Office of President of the United States of America," only managing to state the words, "I will execute," at which point he had to be prompted and reminded of the rest of the oath.
Now, there is nothing to laugh about here, it is just a stumble of a man on a historic occasion on which we all congratulate him and pray for him to live up to the expectations of a weary nation.
The deeper underlying reason why I noted his pause and failure to repeat a very simple oath, leaving his sentence unfinished and merely saying, "I will execute," is that the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), is the first act he wants to sign in Office.
The signing of FOCA will indeed be a watershed moment for US politics, because if it is signed it will consign thousands more innocent, unborn children to death through abortion.
May God guide him to the protection of all US citizens from conception to death and to follow policies to build true and lasting peace throughout the World.
Tuesday, 20 January 2009
The picture above reminds me now of a young man who I saw today who was recently stabbed. Please pray he gets his wound seen to soon, lest it become infected.
Courtesy of Catholic Online
According to his legend, Sebastian was born at Narbonne, Gaul. He became a soldier in the Roman army at Rome in about 283, and encouraged Marcellian and Marcus, under sentence of death, to remain firm in their faith. Sebastian made numerous converts: among them were the master of the rolls, Nicostratus, who was in charge of prisoners and his wife, Zoe, a deaf mute whom he cured; the jailer Claudius; Chromatius, Prefect of Rome, whom he cured of gout; and Chromatius' son, Tiburtius. Chromatius set the prisoners free, freed his slaves, and resigned as prefect.
Sebastian was named captain in the praetorian guards by Emperor Diocletian, as did Emperor Maximian when Diocletian went to the East. Neither knew that Sebastian was a Christian. When it was discovered during Maximian's persecution of the Christians that Sebastian was indeed a Christian, he was ordered executed. He was shot with arrows and left for dead, but when the widow of St. Castulus went to recover his body, she found he was still alive and nursed him back to health. Soon after, Sebastian intercepted the Emperor, denounced him for his cruelty to Christians, and was beaten to death on the Emperor's orders.
Saint Sebastian was venerated at Milan as early as the time of St. Ambrose and was buried on the Appian Way. He is patron of archers, athletes, and soldiers, and is appealed to for protection against plagues.
Monday, 19 January 2009
Anyone who knows me, knows I am a big show off. Anyone who started a band called The Astonishing is not going to be the world's most self-effacing person. The sin of abnormal self-love is certainly a problematic one in the Christian Faith because love of self stands in direct opposition to the love of God, who alone is worthy of our love and devotion. The sin of Pride leads the soul into chaos and self-destruction and history is littered with souls whose narcissism was made woefully manifest.
St Francis, is perhaps, an antidote to this disease of the soul. The famous Prayer of St Francis which is below, poignantly and beautifully reveals something about the soul of St Francis and moreover about the soul of the Christian who by Grace realises that the chief failing and wound he bears is the sickness of self-love, the ultimate false idol, and impediment to God and that it is from this sickness that every other sin flows. When the ego is in the driving seat of the spiritual life, rather than God, it is all too easy to fall victim to its illusions. The prayer also reveals something about the nature of God, whose ways are not our ways and whose thoughts are not our thoughts. Our Lord reveals that the nature of God is humble, merciful, loving, selfless and unfailing and inexhaustible in generosity. If God wants us to worship Him, it isn't because He is vain, but because He alone is God and He alone is worthy of our worship and adoration. Not only that, but He knows that the only thing that can make us happy is to adore, worship and serve Him in this life and be happy with Him in the next. For it was for this that we were created and formed by Him in our mother's wombs.
Self-obsession, interestingly, is the spirit of the age. Self-obsession is actually promoted by the media as a cause in its own right. Whether it is found in the cult of celebrity we read about in the papers every day, or in adverts on TV promoting every new kind of anti-aging enrichment enhancer or new fashion in clothing and lifestyle, the self is promoted as the ideal. This is one of the great problems with movements that promote homosexuality because they elevate the self and sexual identity to such a level of importance that sexual identity becomes a new and misguided idol. In the face of our own ego and in the face of a world that says that ego is good, the Prayer of St Francis is very refreshing...
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
What Blessed St Francis was saying was, "Lord, I empty my entire self out before You. Fill me with Yourself and use me as You wish." The prayer is centred entirely on God and the needs of his neighbour. Francis himself is no longer the focus of his attention but his focus is firmly on God and Man. It is almost as if the Saint has forgotten about himself and his needs entirely and is truly a 'man for others'. In laying down his own life, he found it. In forgetting himself, he remembered God constantly. In serving the needs of others and forgetting his own, he found inexpressible joy. His only sorrow was when contemplating the wounds of Christ and seeing his own failings in living the Gospel as expressed through the Cross and said as did St Paul, "We preach Christ Crucified."
The Prayer of St Francis shines out as a beacon to the World and overturns all of the World's preoccupations with self-glorification, obsession and destuction. It expresses beautifully what His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI describes as "God's Revolution", and it is more profound and wonderous than any revolution in history because it is the revolution of the self, the overturning of the self, the destruction of the tyranny of the self, to be replaced by the fulfilment of every human heart's deepest desire, to know, love and serve God and to be happy with Him in Heaven for all eternity. Every other revolution in history has failed, but God's Revolution brings true and lasting freedom to man, freedom from the tyranny of self. I also find it is a very good guide to an Examination of Conscience, because due to my own excessive self-love, too often, I am the focus of all my attention while God and the needs of my distressed neighbour can't get a look in!
The inordinate desire to be loved, the inordinate desire to be consoled and the inordinate desire to be understood are all symptoms of the narcissistic personality type. In this fallen world these desires are natural and understandable, yet Our Blessed Lord and His Blessed St Francis show us that as we know from our human experiences time and time again, these desires do not bring us peace, they do not bring us liberation and they do not bring us freedom. True freedom, as St Paul says, comes from being able to say boldly but with humility, "It is not I who now live, but Christ who lives in me."
St Francis of Assisi, pray for us
The scientific studies and treatises on evolution often miss out on some important spiritual truths. I'm currently in a debate on Gerald Warner's Telegraph blog with a chap who quite understandably maintains that Faith is ludicrous because we cannot see God or prove His existence empirically. I've been trying to draw attention to the life of Christ and particularly His Saints, who either through their lives or deaths gave witness to Him who 'made the Heavens and the Earth.'
One question for the humanistic scientific community is this: Is the evolutionary process still going on in man today? The Christian answer to this could be, yes, very much so! Christian holiness and sanctity is the pinnacle of the evolutionary process. In Christ we have the Perfect Man because he was both fully God and fully Man and we, because of His Death and Resurrection, and because of our Baptism into His Church, have been crowned 'a little lower than the Angels.'
The regenerative and re-creative force of Divine Love, the Holy Spirit, which moved across the waters at the beginning of time, which overshadowed the Blessed Virgin at the Incarnation, which raised Christ from the grave, which was given to the Apostles at Pentecost, as the Church proclaims, 'renews the whole of Creation'. Most importantly of all for us, it renews us!
Our Lord Jesus Christ, the 'New Adam', Our Blessed Lady, the 'New Eve', the Apostles and all of the Saints show us that the advancement, progress and ultimate destiny of Man is not in physical appearance or adaptation to his environment, but in the holiness and sanctity that comes from God by the Mystery of Grace. Christian perfection of love of God and love of neighbour, of self-sacrificial love inspired by God's Spirit has been demonstrated to be height of human evolution. This is Divine Love, which Dante described as the 'love that moves the earth, moon and stars.'
Prior to the coming of Christ, man could not enter into the Divine Life of the Blessed Trinity. Because of Christ's victory over death and sin through His Glorious Atonement, God Himself now draws all men to Himself, into a relationship of love, into a bond of filial trust and friendship, into a new life of Sanctifying Grace in His Church. Through the Sacrament of Baptism the stain of Original Sin which separated man from God's Kingdom is washed away. Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, sins both mortal and venial which separated man from God are wiped away at the Absolution, renewing him and setting him free from the slavery of sin, restoring him to purity and holiness in the sight of God, not because of man's action, but because of God's regenerative and redemptive action through the Sacrament. Through the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, God is present in the Blessed Host, transforming the substance of the species into Himself and desiring to dwell in the heart and soul of man, transforming him with His Heart and with His Soul, uniting our humanity to His Perfect Humanity and to His Perfect Divinity.
The halos seen in this beautiful icon give us a glimpse of Christ, the New Adam, the Redeemer of the World who by the Mystery of Grace imparts to His followers a share in His Divinity, His Holiness and His Salvation. The iconography of the halo is possibly the best illustration of God's renewal of His Creation and His renewal of mankind. Through the Sacramental life and prayer of the Church, God is renewing Man, changing him, transforming him from within, making him more like Him, making him think more like Him, changing his heart so that it becomes more like His heart, changing his will so it becomes more like His will. Yes, by the Mystery of Divine Grace, by the Mystery of the Blessed Trinity, God is renewing man, God is making Saints: the zenith of evolution, the pinnacle of all His Creation! The important thing is that like the Blessed Virgin, like the Saints down the ages, in order to renew us and fashion us that we reflect His Glory, He needs our co-operation. That's why we have to go to Mass regularly, we should confess regularly, we should receive Him in the Eucharist regularly and we should pray...very regularly!
The bodies of many of the Saints remained incorrupt after their deaths, such bodies include those of St Bernadette, St Clare of Assisi, St Jean Vianney, St Francis Xavier, St John of God and St Catherine of Sienna. For those Chosen souls whose bodies did not decay, God shows forth His Divine Majesty, revealing that His Holy Spirit had transformed that person in such a way that the bodies which housed their souls also now defy the laws of nature and by Supernatural Grace, remain intact and unwithered, just as their souls had been transformed by Supernatural Grace, remaining intact and unwithered. For the new man and the new woman, transformed by God so he and she are like unto Him, even death itself does not bring decay but eternal union with God in His Incorruptible Light.
As St Augustine said, "God was made man, that man might be made God!"
God is washing and renewing His Creation right now...its pelting it down out there! I can't go to my book-keeping course in this weather!
Sunday, 18 January 2009
10. St Joseph of Cuerpertino
"Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, its Brother Joseph flying again!" Any Saint who can actually fly has to be in the top ten by virtue of sheer novelty and uniqueness.
9. St Christina the Astonishing
Died, came back to life, visited Hell, Purgatory and Heaven, got out of her coffin and gave an eye witness account of all three, told the congregation to stop sinning and flew up into the rafters to avoid the scent of human sin. Lived a life making incredible and often bizarre acts of mortification, penance and reparation for the sins of mankind.
8. St Simon the Stylite
Holy agony uncle who lived on the top of a pillar praying, preaching, fasting and interceding for his town in all weathers. Befriended a little worm who emerged from his tummy and told him to go back home to his stomach where God's Providence had placed him.
7. St Mary Magdalen
Heroine of Christian virtue, defender of Christ's divinity, herald of the Resurrection, instrument of humilty, humbler of the proud, holy penitent, who remained with Our Blessed Lord in His final Agony on the Cross while all the Apostles but St John cacked their pants for fear and hid. Lover of Our Lord, but not Our Lord's lover.
6. St Paul
Shipwreaks, jailings, and stigmatic man of letters. If St Paul were living on earth today can you imagine the letters he'd be writing now? "Dear Bishop...have you lost your mind? Please meditate on my epistles a little..." Martyred for the Faith of Christ and when he was beheaded little springs of water sprung up from the ground on each spot where his pure head fell.
5. St Pio of Pietrelcina
Stigmatic, bi-locater, reader of souls, whose holy heart was transverberated by a Holy Angel with a flaming sword of Divine Love, defended his town from German bombs by greeting pilots in mid air, loyal to Rome even under suspicion, faithful to the Magisterium, victim soul for the sins and liturgical abuses of the clergy, 24 hour Confessor and lover of the poor. I mean, what more can you ask?!
4. St Joseph Benedict Labre
The holy, smelly, flea-ridden tramp who lived off what he found lying around and loved the homeless of Rome. Collapsed at 35 outside his favourite Church and died happy and holy.
3. St Lawrence
My holy patron, Deacon, grilled to death savagely on the orders of the Emperor Valerian, who became inflamed when he brought to him the poor and lame when asked for the treasures of the Church. Kept his sense of humour while being torturously murdered, telling his murderers to turn him over because "that side is done now."
2. St Anthony of Padua
Giant Saint of the Church who zealously, humbly and reverently preached the Gospel to any human, animal, vegetable or mineral inclined to listen. Purity of heart and soul so strong that the Baby Jesus leapt into his arms and gazed fondly into his eyes. More miracles than you could shake a holy stick at.
1. St Francis of Assisi
Extravagant youth, extravagantly holy adulthood, presented himself naked to the Bishop only to be clothed in holy poverty, totally dependent on Providence, told his Dad his real Father was in Heaven, stigmatic who conformed his life entirely to the poverty, humility and self-emptying service of Christ, founded the Franciscan Order and assisted St Clare in founding hers, preached to birds, animals and all of Assisi in truth and love, winning souls to Christ and men to his Order to follow him in a life of virtue and splendour while he fell utterly in love with his Maker and Redeemer. Composer of the famous Prayer of St Francis and numerous others who saw God in every living being from ant to man.
N.B This compilation does not include the Blessed Virgin Mary because she is Mother and Queen of all Saints, Mother of the whole World, of the Church and of all Christians, of all humanity and even the Son of God Himself.
Saturday, 17 January 2009
A Jehovah's Witness knocks at your door. Do you:
a) Not answer.
b) Invite them in for tea and biscuits.
c) Tell them to renounce their heresy and that there is no salvation outside of the Church.
d) Politely tell them you are Catholic and believe in the teachings of Holy Mother Church, but thank you anyway.
e) Shower the witnesses with Rosaries from your window.
f) Tell them there is not enough time to talk as you have to go to hospital for an urgent blood transfusion.
g) Tell them you are not in.
h) Tell them that you've mathematically deduced that Heaven is probably full now, as there must have been at least 144,000 Jehovah's Witnesses who have already lived and died and now enjoy the Beatific Vision and you fear we are out of time.
i) Tell them that you'd love to chat, but you've hunkered down in the house with 10,000 cans of tinned spaghetti just in case the Apocolypse is around the corner and you literally can't open the door because you've put the wardrobe there.
j) Tell them you have a stack of spare Papal Encyclicals lying around in the flat, could you have their address so you can pop round one day.
k) Tell them it was divinely revealed to you in a dream last night that Barry Manilow is the prophet we have all been waiting for and that yes, he is 'the One'.
l) Invite them in and tell them you'd love to join Jehovah's Witnesses but you've just this second started a cult of your own, and ask if they'd like to join your one, while pouring petrol on your furniture and striking a match.
Thursday, 15 January 2009
Click here to sign the pledge to pray to St Michael, Archangel daily for the conversion of souls involved in the abortion industry.
This prayer was composed by Pope Leo XIII in 1886 and is offered for the private recitation of the faithful in accord with the decree of Inde Ab Aliquot Annis of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, September 29, 1985.
Sanctus Míchael Archángelus
Prínceps gloriosíssime caeléstis milítiae, sancte Míchael
Archángele, defénde nos in proelio advérsus príncipes et
potestátes, advérsus mundi rectóres tenebrárum harum,
contra spirituália nequítiae in caeléstibus.
Veni in auxílium hóminum, quos Deus ad imáginem
similitúdinis suae fecit, et a tyránnide diáboli emit prétio
Te custódem et patrónum sancta venerátur Ecclésia; tibi
trádidit Dóminus ánimas redemptórum in supérna
Deprecáre Deum pacis, ut cónterat Sátanam sub pédibus
nostris, ne ultra váleat captívos tenére hómines et Ecclésiae
Offer nostras preces in conspéctu Altíssimi, ut cito
antícipent nos misericórdiae Dómini, et apprehéndas
dracónem, serpéntem antíquum, qui est diábolus et
sátanas et ligátum mittas in abýssum, ut non sedúcat
Wednesday, 14 January 2009
The Wilton Dyptich
This beautiful pre-Reformation image illustrates the strength of traditional Catholic devotion to Our Lady and the Saints in England. The Orb above the St George cross has miniature image of England. That's what it says in my little book on the Catholic Faith, Credo, anyway. My PP says he can't see England in the orb...neither can I. Oh well...
Fr Ray Blake has posted a good documentary on Poverty, Chastity and Obedience which I really enjoyed. I found this one on the 4 Vincentian Vows of Stability, Poverty, Chastity and Obedience, which is also good.
For those interested, including myself, Fr Luke Jolly of Worth Abbey was on the radio this morning highlighting that he is running a Compass course on discerning God's will regarding vocations to the Church, marriage and state of life in general.
Tuesday, 13 January 2009
Plastic Rosary - white (x100)
White plastic 'missionary' rosary. Price for 100. Circumference: 54cm. Length: 43cm, just £21.50. Click here for more info.
What a bargain! Anything the Jesus Army can do, the Church can do also, but only by merit of the fact that the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin and Mother of God, came straight from Heaven into the hands of St Dominic, to combat heresy, to defeat sin and error, to lead souls into virtue and holiness and into the arms of Her Beloved Son. Mwa-hah-hah-hah-ha! Mwa-hah-hah-hah! Now, where is my debit card? Ah, problem.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen said, "The Rosary is the book of the blind, where souls see and there enact the greatest drama of love the world has ever known; it is the book of the simple, which initiates them into mysteries and knowledge more satisfying than the education of other men; it is the book of the aged, whose eyes close upon the shadow of this world, and open on the substance of the next. The power of the Rosary is beyond description."
For a good article on the Rosary click here.
And people wonder why the Church instigated the Inquisition...I don't blog much on the Anglican Church, what with being Catholic, but the CoE does seem to be like an asylum for crackpot heretics with ideas about Christianity so relativistic that as Bishop Gene Robinson says, it "is uniquely capable of holding two seemingly contradictory ideas together." He says it as if it is a virtue. It isn't. Leaving people utterly confused about truth is not a good thing, Bishop.
The Anglican Church is the perfect vehicle for creating a new “gay” Christianity by virtue of the fact that it is the only church that accepts the logical contradiction of asserting both the sanctity of human life and the existence of a right to abortion. Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson, whose ordination to the episcopate has precipitated the ongoing schism between traditionally Christian Anglicans and its ultra-liberal, secularized branches, is in London to talk about his vision for the homosexual future of the Anglican Church.
He was visiting and promoting his cause in preparation for the upcoming Lambeth Conference in July. He told an admiring audience in Putney, in southwest London, that Anglicanism is uniquely suited to the establishment of the contradiction of homosexual Christianity.
“The Anglican tradition is uniquely capable of holding two seemingly contradictory ideas together. Its position on abortion, for example is that all human life is sacred. And, that no one has the right to tell a woman what to do with her body. Both are true,” he said. The logical principle of non-contradiction, a basic philosophical concept identified by Aristotle, is defined as the idea that two opposed things cannot both be true. Aristotle put it that, “One cannot say of something that it is and that it is not in the same respect and at the same time.”
It is not possible, for example, for a person to both be in a room and not in a room at the same time. This principle is regarded by philosophers as one of the three first principles of rational thought, without which no assertion of any truth is possible. Many Christian philosophers have noted that the moral chaos in western societies has stemmed from the 20th century’s abandonment of this principle as the guiding force of politics and religion.
Robinson is a long-time supporter of abortion. In 2005, he addressed Planned Parenthood's fifth annual prayer breakfast in Washington. He said then that the only way to defend the pro-abortion mindset is to reach out religiously, saying, “Our defense against religious people has to be a religious defense. ... We must use people of faith to counter the faith-based arguments against us.” He told Planned Parenthood, “We have to take back those Scriptures.”
He spoke of “the need to teach people about nuance, about holding things in tension, that this can be true and that can be true, and somewhere between is the right answer. It's a very adult way of living, you know. What an unimaginative God it would be if God only put one meaning in any verse of Scripture."
In his talk in London and in a later interview with the Spectator’s Theo Hobson, Robinson laid out the precepts of gay Christianity in which homosexuals, as an oppressed minority, are more capable of Christian charity than heterosexuals. To lend biblical credence to his assertions, Robinson cited a passage in John’s Gospel in which Jesus tells his disciples they were not ready for all of Christian teaching. Robinson asserts that the acceptance of homosexuality was part of the teaching that the Holy Spirit was to give the Church later.
He said that the growing acceptance of homosexuality in the churches “is all ultimately about is patriarchy — the beginning of the end of it. The strength of the resistance tells us we’re on to something.” His book, "In the Eye of the Storm", reiterates the homosexual lobby movement’s doctrine that homosexuality is the equivalent of race or sex. He said it gives him a “little window into some of what it must be like to be a woman, or a person of colour, or a person in a wheelchair — and countless other categories the dominant culture has controlled, diminished and oppressed”. This naturally leads to a greater capacity for “Christian empathy”.
“Just as surely as Jesus called to his friend Lazarus to ‘Come out!’ of his tomb, Jesus called me to come out of my tomb of guilt and shame, to accept and love that part of me that he already accepted and loved.” The Exodus story, he said, is “one of the greatest coming-out stories in the history of the world”. He admitted that it is possible for heterosexuals to sympathize with the oppressed, saying, “It’s not impossible, but it’s harder.”
There are so many heresies in the Bishop's quotes, so many misrepresentations of the Gospel, that one does not know where to begin. In summary, however, not only is the Bishop espousing that our Blessed Lord endorses the practice of homosexuality, rather than wishes to rescue all us from our sins through the Sacraments and prayer, but he's giving his personal blessing to Planned Parenthood, the gigantic, very wealthy corporation responsible for aggressively campaigning for murderous abortion in the US as a lobbying group, and the funding of abortion clinics all across the USA. As far as I can see, whenever this guy is in the pulpit all he talks about is homosexuality and that God loves and accepts it. How on earth do the rest of the congregation feel who are not homosexuals!?
And what on earth is Planned Parenthood's fifth annual prayer breakfast about anyway? "Lord, we have been successful in aiding the killing of hundreds of thousands of your innocent children in the womb. Please help us to kill more of them. Amen."
The inexpressibly important and excellent organisation, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) are organising a pilgrimage to Walsingham on Saturday 27th June 2009. If you want to find out more about it email ACN at email@example.com or call 020 8642 8668 or click here for the website.
I recently read a report that ACN produced called 'Persecuted and Forgotten?: A Report on Christians oppressed for their Faith', and it made for some pretty heavy bedtime reading I can tell you. We don't hear half of it in the mainstream news. The Church is under attack mainly in areas of Islamic militant extremism, Hindu militant extremism and (surprisingly) Buddhist militants.
Prayer for England
O Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our most gentle
Queen and Mother, look down in mercy upon England, thy
dowry, and upon us who greatly hope and trust in thee.
By thee it was that Jesus, our Saviour and our hope was
given unto the world; and He has given thee to us that we
might hope still more.
Plead for us thy children, whom thou didst receive and
accept at the foot of the cross, O Sorrowful Mother;
intercede for our separated brethren, that with us in the one
true fold, they may be united to the Chief Shepherd, the
Vicar of thy Son.
Pray for us all, dear Mother, that by faith, fruitful in good
works we may all deserve to see and praise God, together
with thee in our heavenly home. Amen.
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