One more day to go until Advent begins.

Fertilize the soil of our Hearts.

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Mulling over this…

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‘We were made not primarily that we may love God (though we were made for that too) but that God may love us.’

CS Lewis.

Another sign of our times…

From Euractiv.com

Slovakia, responding to requests from some fellow eurozone countries, has removed the halos from a €2 coin commemorating the 1,150th anniversary of the arrival of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Moravia.

Slovakia, a eurozone member since 2009, will start circulating the coin next year to mark the arrival of Saints Cyril and Methodius to Great Moravia and Panonia, which was part of modern Slovakia.

Eurozone countries are allowed to mint commemorative coins once every year under EU rules. The image on the back of the commemorative coin, however, must be accepted by the remaining eurozone members and the European Commission.

Cyril and Methodius were brothers, born in Thessaloniki at the beginning of the 9th century, who created the Glagolitic and then the Cyrillic alphabets with the aim to have the Bible and other texts translated into Slavic languages. 

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007 SKYFALL: an interesting take

Fr. Robert delves a little deeper into the movie’s underlying history.

Bow down before Him.

“Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for He is our God
and we are the people of His pasture,
the flock under His care.”

[Psalm 95:6-7]

The King’s Crown

“MY KINGDOM IS NOT OF THIS WORLD…” [John 18:36]

From the shores of England!

                                           

Cardinal Rafael Merry de Val

He was accustomed to recite this prayer daily after the celebration of Holy Mass. I came to know of this litany a few months back and it’s a hard one to pray initially. It pushes the boundaries against all secular sentiment, and made me realise how just much my thinking and expectations have been formed by the thinking of the day.

Litany of Humility

O Jesus meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver, me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, Deliver me Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver, me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus grant me the grace to desire it.
That in the opinion of the world, others may increase, and I may decrease,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I become as holy as I should,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

NO HUMAN RESPECT

“Never act with a view to pleasing the world. Let us have the strength to bear criticisms and the disapproval of the world. Let us have no human respect. Provided that God is pleased, what does the rest matter?” Card. R. Merry del Val
Cardinal Rafael Merry del Val was an exceptional and extraordinary man, of noble birth. From the first years of his life he had one unique and most noble goal: to be a Priest of God.
He was a dynamic figure at the Vatican in the early 20th century.

Rafael Merry del Val was educated at Ushaw College in the north of England. He commenced his studies at Ushaw College in 1883 before he went to Rome in 1885.

Ushaw Seminary ,Durham,Summer 2009

Ushaw College was the major seminary for the north of England and was formed in 1808 by students who had fled some years earlier from Douai College in northern France during the French Revolution. It expanded over the decades and by 1962, at the opening of the Second Vatican Council it housed 400 students, although some were secular students. It was ordaining about 22 priests per year. Following the introduction of the changes in the 1960’s the numbers dropped quite dramatically and by 2010 there were less than 30 students. Sadly, it was closed by the English hierarchy in June 2010.

…the mother of giants.

I’ve been wrestling with the challenges propositioned  by the virtue of Humility for some time now.  This journey of discovery has proved to be a rocky road with its fair share of pot-holes, hard knocks and falls which results in bruised feelings, denial and finally much introspection.

Today I attended a retreat day which was facilitated by Maryvale.  I ‘m busy working towards a certificate in Catechesis and part of the course demands that we students attend a retreat day. What bliss! To say that I’m happy to be working my way through this course would be an understatement. The course materials, course facilitators and amazing guest priests speakers stretch my thinking, and plant little seeds of knowledge that encourages my Faith to grow little by little and then grow some more. Today’s experience has been no exception to the rule. What never ceases to amaze me is the visiting priest:- his gifts are so unique, so well-developed and authentic that I cannot fail to be inspired by the depth and breadth of his knowledge and not least of all, his love for Christ.  Today I met a philosopher… I’ve always wanted to meet a philosopher!…who happens to edit the Catholic magazine, ‘Faith‘. Someone who debates and discusses faith and reason with the likes of Peter Atkins on one hand, and on the other cares for the spiritual well-being of the dying and the infirm  at two Catholic hospices in London. He is also someone who will spend his Saturday sharing his wisdom, experience and Faith to the likes of a mere mortal such as I!!!

The humility of these priests is tangible and exemplary. Many of these men have doctorates and have written thesis or have conquered many years of study and yet, I continue to be struck dumb by their ‘ordinariness’. Their focus is on the Lord and His work. That is their job. Their love. And I in turn love and respect them for their dedication in caring for a sinner such as I.

Today I was enticed to think more deeply about what it means to  ‘submitting intellect and will to God,’ to, ‘submit freely to the Word…amidst the gales and deluges this life on earth throws in our path’. And then I made the connection: to submit totally to God in everything , everything, is to understand the cornerstone  of the mother of the giant of all virtues-

H U M I L I T Y! If I can freely submit my intellect and will to the Word, to God, I’ll be journeying on a well-lit road that leads to love, and freedom from the trappings of the world we live in. How apt I thought, that I’ll celebrate the  feast of Christ the King tomorrow with a new understanding of this mega-virtue called humility.

Intellect without Will is dead. The Word needs to be put into action. Holiness involves the Intellect and Will. I seek holiness.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,even death on a cross.  Philippians 2: v3-5

Christ is King.

The Feast of Christ the King was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925 as an antidote to secularism, a way of life which leaves God out of man’s thinking and living and organizes his life as if God did not exist. The feast is intended to proclaim in a striking and effective manner Christ’s royalty over individuals, families, society, governments, and nations. Pius took as his motto ‘Christ’s peace in Christ’s kingdom’, interpreting it as meaning that the church and Christianity should be active in, and not insulated from, society. 
On 11 December 1925, Pope Pius XI promulgated his encyclical letter Quas primas, on the Kingship of Christ. The encyclical dealt with what the Pope described correctly as “the chief cause of the difficulties under which mankind was labouring.” He explained that the manifold evils in the world are due to the fact that the majority of men have thrust Jesus Christ and His holy law out of their lives; that Our Lord and His holy law have no place either in private life or in politics; and, as long as individuals and states refuse to submit to the rule of our Saviour, there will be no hope of lasting peace among nations. Men must look for the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ—Pax Christi in Regno Christi.

Christ the King!

Pope Pius XI: 1876-1958

Why did the Holy Father want to commemorate, by a special feast, a doctrine so uncontroversial? Why was the moment ripe for that particular lesson?

When he was crowned Pope, he insisted on giving his blessing to the world from the balcony of St. Peter’s, a thing no Pope had done since the loss of its temporal power. Even so early, he had made up his mind that the Papacy must come out of its retirement, and make itself felt as a moral force in the world. And he introduced this feast of the Kingship of Christ with the same ideal in view. He saw that the minds of men, of young men especially, all over Europe, would be caught by a wave of conflicting loyalties which would drown the voice of conscience and produce everywhere unscrupulous wars between nations.

The institution of this feast was not a gesture of clericalism against anti-clericalism, still less a gesture of authoritarianism against democracy. It was a gesture of Christian truth against a world which was on the point of going mad with political propaganda; it was to say to the world that the claim of the divine law upon the human conscience comes before anything else.