30 November 2009
I suppose it is a German or Central European part of my background that prefers red candles in the home Advent Wreath.
At different times I have used four purple candles, and other times three purple and one rose-coloured candle. But we have always struggled over whether or not to observe the rose candle as Roman tradition would have it on the Third Sunday in Advent or upon the Fourth Sunday considering the current Lectionary readings and some tales of ancient northern European custom.
But my most cherished memories of the season of Advent are from Episcopalian parishes that used a beautiful blue for Advent -- in part in homage to the old Sarum seasonal colours. But the choice of colour had very little to do with my treasured memories of parish communities that truly knew and lived the Advent Season preparing for the Second Coming of the Lord whilst preparing to recall His first appearing in a cave in Bethlehem of Judea.
May God bless all of those good people who worked so hard to keep the Christian mind alive among them in the midst of an ever-rising tide of secular glitz and sentimental fictions meant to replace the reason we have any hope at all -- Jesus Christ, our Divine Saviour, who came among us through His Holy Family, St. Mary the Virgin and St. Joseph the Just.
And may the good and gracious Lord likewise bless all of us who try in many different ways to keep a holy Advent Season in anticipation of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God.
23 November 2009
16 November 2009
All powerful and eternal God, through the merits of Your Son, Jesus, and through Your love for Him, I implore You, have pity on the priests of the Holy Church. In spite of their sublime dignity, they are fearful and weak, like all created beings. In Your infinity mercy, inflame their hearts with the fire of divine love. For the sake of Jesus, Your Son, bestow grace on the priests and uphold them. Do not let them fall into temptation and tarnish their noble vocation.
O Jesus, we implore You, look with pity on the priests of the Holy Church; those who are serving you faithfully and proclaiming Your glory; those who are persecuted for tending Your flock; those who are abandoned, weary, and sorrowful; those who are lukewarm, confused and who have denied their faith; those who are sick, dying or in Purgatory. Lord Jesus Christ, we entreat You, listen to our supplication, have pity and console them.
O Jesus, we entrust to You the priests of the whole world: the priests who baptized me, absolved my sins, offered Holy Mass and consecrated the Holy Eucharist to nourish my soul. We entrust to You the priests that instructed me when I was ignorant, gave me strength in my weakness, showed me the Way and the Truth and comforted me in my sorrow and affliction. For all the blessings they obtained for me, I implore You to support them in Your loving kindness.
O Jesus, shelter our priests in Your Sacred Heart. Let them take refuge in Your mercy and love, in this life and to the hour of death. Amen.
13 November 2009
12 November 2009
Today I am sharing a link to a splendid report by Melissa Galvez on Our Lady of Walsingham Catholic Church (Anglican Use). She interviews three of my favourite people: Fr. James Ramsey, Pastor of Our Lady of Walsingham, and Nancy Macarthur and Don Dean.
One can listen to the radio broadcast or read the transcript.
Applause and the tipping of my former Anglican biretta to Melissa Galvez for her excellent reporting.
11 November 2009
I wish to commend this article by Fr. Dwight Longenecker which is an extremely important reflexion upon the vocation of the new Anglican ordinariates and those being called by God to the Unity of the Church for which Our Lord Jesus Christ prayed.
What is going to be required for Benedict XVI's Personal Ordinariate for Anglicans to succeed?
First and foremost, I believe that what is required is a 'paradigm shift' on the part of Anglicans.
Very often Rome is perceived as ossified, inflexible, unimaginative and legalistic. Both Pope John Paul II ("Be generous to these men.") and now Pope Benedict XVI have been exactly the opposite. They have put together daring initiatives. They have stepped out in faith and made amazingly generous offers. They've taken risks for the unity of the Church. As the successor of Peter and the focus of unity this is part of their job and they have taken it very seriously.
Now we await the response of Anglicans. There are going to be huge difficulties for many, and this is where the paradigm shift is necessary. There are two seismic shifts in understanding that will be required for many. The first of these is a fresh missionary spirit. Instead of seeing themselves as members of an established, educated and well financed church Anglican clergy and people who hold to the historic faith will need to re-imagine themselves as primarily a missionary people.
To respond to the Holy Father's offer they may have to walk away from their buildings. They may have to set up and 'do church' in a living room, a school hall or a borrowed or rented or abandoned church building. Priests may have to walk away from a salary and do some other work to get their congregation started. (The Apostolic Constitution provides for this possibility) The priests will need to take leadership and may need to start again and 'plant a church.' They might do this with a remnant of their people from the parish they walk away from or they might have to move to another part of the country or even the world to serve a congregation of like minded faithful.
This new missionary spirit will have to be part of the people's step of faith as well for they will have to work hard and dig deep to finance the Personal Ordinariate. Sacrifices will have to be made. They will have to find a way to pay for their priest and support his family. If they own buildings they may have to hand the keys over to the ordinariate. If they enjoy a congregational form of government they may have to sacrifice some measure of their power. (However the Constitution does provide for a conciliar form of government for the ordinariate)
To do this they will be doing no more than our ancestors in various ages did. Furthermore, they are following in the footsteps of the courageous recusant families who kept the faith in England alive during the penal times. They are following in the footsteps of the courageous, humble and hardworking 'slum priests' of the Victorian Oxford movement. They too stepped out and endured misunderstanding and persecution for their faith. They went into the places nobody else wanted to go and endured poverty and difficulties for our glorious faith. They are following in the footsteps of the great Jesuit missionary priests and the apostles and all the greatest of the Catholic saints.
Please do read the remainder of his very fine post A New Missionary Martyr Spirit.
09 November 2009
With thanks to Father Mark Daniel Kirby for his wonderful reflexion on St. John Lateran today on his blog Vultus Christi, I borrow the closing from his beautiful post:
The Gate of Heaven Upon Earth
Listen to Robert Hugh Benson (1871-1914), a son of the Archbishop of Canterbury and celebrated convert to Catholic Church. He describes the Church I love: the Church he came to love:
Her arms are as open to those who would serve God in silence and seclusion, as to those who dance before him with all their might. . . . There is nothing to fear for those who stand where we stand; there are no precipices to be climbed any more and no torrents to be crossed; God has made all easy for those He has admitted through the Gate of Heaven that he has built upon the earth; the very River of Death itself is no more than a dwindled stream, bridged and protected on every side; the shadow of death is little more than twilight for those who look on it in the light of the Lamb.
04 November 2009
I have become increasingly alarmed by news reports regarding the variant of flu that is infecting Ukrainians with the majority of the infections and deaths coming from the Ukrainian western provinces. Here is a statement from the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church which is in Communion with Pope Benedict XVI:
Dearly beloved in Christ!
The flu epidemic which for already some time spread in different countries of the world has arrived. A few dozen victims of this flu are already registered. It is a great test which the Lord gives our people. From one side we need to use all the facilities in order not to fall victim to this epidemic, and from the other side, as it has been done throughout history during such misfortunes, we need to pray hard so that the Lord may divert this misfortune from our people, if it is His will. I express my deep sympathy to the families of those who already suffered and once again I cordially ask you with prayer and joint efforts to overcome the danger. Let’s pray, dearly beloved in Christ:
“The Lord our God, you sent Your Son in the world so he could encumber Himself with our sufferings and wear on Himself our illnesses, do good and heal all. With obedience we ask you: bless these sick people, give them physical strength, strong Spirit, and patience in the illness. Return to them full health so that they overcome their weakness and, supported by Your help, live with enduring health, and with joy You may be glorified in the community of faithful in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, always, now, and forever and ever. Amen!”