• The Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ

    Painting by Roberto Quijano

  • “In her voyage across the ocean of this world, the Church is like a great ship being pounded by the waves of life’s different stresses. Our duty is not to abandon ship but to keep her on her course.” St. Boniface
  • A witness to Hope.

    There is always Hope.

  • Aid to the Church in need

  • St John Henry Newman…Pray for us.

  • Quote from Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman.

    “I sought to hear the voice of God And climbed the topmost steeple, But God declared: "Go down again - I dwell among the people."
  • Unashamedly Catholic

  • Disclaimer

    The views posted on this blog are those of 1catholicsalmon, and not of any other organisation, peoples or person.
  • The POPE app

  • vatican news

  • The Holy Father, Francis I

  • pope Francis I

    ''When we encounter the Cross, we turn to Mary: Give us the strength, Mary our Mother, to accept and embrace the Cross!''

    ''We do not become Christians by ourselves. Faith is above all a gift from God which is given to us in and through the Church.''

  • Francisco I Coat of Arms

  • Franciscan quote of the day

  • The Source and Summit

  • Faith seeking understanding

  • Marian in character. At its Heart Christ – centrered.

  • Pray the Rosary

  • Catholic internet Radio – England

  • Unique for a reason.

  • God’s perfect plan.

  • Favourite pic.

    Doing the Lord's work.

  • Compendium of the CATECHISM of the CATHOLIC CHURCH

  • St Boniface

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 758 other followers

  • Bending your Ear

  • Top Posts & Pages

  • “From the age of fifteen, dogma has been the fundamental principle of my religion: I know no other religion; I cannot enter into the idea of any other sort of religion; religion, as a mere sentiment, is to me a dream and a mockery.” Blessed John Henry Newman.
  • 1catholicsalmon swimming upstream


    A Catholic eager to discuss the truth about Catholic Christianity.

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • This month

    July 2019
    M T W T F S S
    « Sep    
    1234567
    891011121314
    15161718192021
    22232425262728
    293031  
  • Goodreads

  • 1Flesh.org BRING SEXY BACK!

  • Recent tweets

  • Awards 1.

  • 2.

  • 3.

  • 4.

  • 5.

  • 6.

  • 7.

  • 8.

  • 9.

  • 10.

  • 11.

  • 12.

  • 13.

  • 14

  • Advertisements

Feast of the Magi

In the homily on the feast of the Epiphany, our visiting priest referred to the poem below by T.S. Lewis. I had never read it before and was keen to get back home to look it up.

 Journey of the Magi  (T.S.Lewis)

‘A cold coming we had of it,

Just the worst time of the year

For a journey, and such a long journey:

The ways deep and the weather sharp,

The very dead of winter.’

And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,

Lying down in the melting snow.

There were times we regretted

The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,

And the silken girls bringing sherbet.

Then the camel men cursing and grumbling

And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,

And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,

And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly

And the villages dirty and charging high prices:

A hard time we had of it.

At the end we preferred to travel all night,

Sleeping in snatches,

With the voices singing in our ears, saying

That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,

Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;

With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,

And three trees on the low sky,

And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.

Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,

Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,

And feet kicking the empty wine-skins,

But there was no information, and so we continued

And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon

Finding the place;

it was (you may say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,

And I would do it again, but set down

This set down,

This: were we led all that way for Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,

We had evidence and no doubt.

I had seen birth and death,

But had thought they were different; this Birth was Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.

We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,

But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,

With an alien people clutching their gods.

I should be glad of another death.

B6liLw1CMAUTHp6

The homily brought to mind the equation between the difficult and sometimes treacherous physical journey the Magi undertook to get to where The Star was guiding them, and my Journey as a Christian that is sometimes just as challenging emotionally.

The Magi ‘died’ and were ‘reborn’ in their knowledge of the Truth they witnessed in the Christ Child. This in turn changed their view of the once familiar kingdoms they visited where they met ‘alien’ peoples – those who worshipped ‘alien’ gods, gods that they may have worshipped themselves prior to their Journey to Bethlehem, before they met the One True God, Jesus Christ.

The Magi were changed by their experience of meeting Jesus, just as our souls are changed when we are Baptised and when later still,  every time we meet Christ in Holy Communion.

This story brought to mind the thousands of Christians who have lived and died before me who too, have walked this Path and who are now at their Journey’s End. They are at Rest.

Advertisements

Alongside Our Lady during Advent.

image@http://youngandcatholic.net/2013/11

image@http://youngandcatholic.net/2013/11

I have included the two Christmas Novenas I will be praying during Advent 2013.

The’ St. Andrew’ Novena has nothing to do with the Saint, but for the fact  that the novena is started on the 30th of November (St. Andrew’s feast day) and said 15 times per day  until Christmas Eve.

(I like this one as I’m going to be praying for a personal intention .)

I want to pray the Christmas Novena, as it will serve to prepare me for the Feast of Christmas, and keep me focussed on the Truth about this Festive Season.

Are there any prayers you take comfort in praying during Advent?

Preparatory Novena for Christmas

PRAYERS FOR A NOVENA FROM THE 16TH TO THE 24TH OF DECEMBER

Opening Prayer:                                                                                                                                   

Icon@http://puffin.creighton.edu/jesuit/andre/sj_nov2.html

Icon@http://puffin.creighton.edu/jesuit/andre/sj_nov2.html

V. O God, come to my assistance.

R. O Lord, make haste to help me. Glory be to the Father…

Our Father…

Day 1

The Incarnation.

O most sweet infant Jesus, who descended from the bosom of the eternal Father into the womb of the Virgin Mary, where, conceived by the Holy Ghost, you took upon yourself, O Incarnate Word, the form of a servant for our salvation. Have mercy on us.

Have mercy on us, O Lord. Have mercy on us.

Hail Mary…

Day 2

The Visitation.

O most sweet infant Jesus, who by means of your Virgin Mother, visited St. Elizabeth, and filled your servant, St. John the Baptist, with the Holy Spirit, sanctifying him from his mother’s womb. Have mercy on us.

Have mercy on us, O Lord.  Have mercy on us.

Hail Mary…

Day 3

The Expectation of Birth.

O most sweet infant Jesus, who waited for nine months enclosed in the womb, and inflamed the heart of the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph with the most powerful love and expectation, all for the salvation of the world. Have mercy on us.

Have mercy on us, 0 Lord. Have mercy on us.

Hail Mary…

Day 4

The Holy Nativity.

O most sweet infant Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem, wrapped in poor swaddling clothes, laid in the manger, glorified by angels, and visited by shepherds. Have mercy on us.

Have mercy on us, O Lord. Have mercy on us.

Hail Mary…

O Jesus born of Virgin bright, Immortal glory be to thee; Praise to the Father infinite, And Holy Ghost eternally.

Christ is at hand. O come, let us worship him.

Our Father…

Day 5

The Circumcision.

O most sweet infant Jesus, circumcised when eight days old, and called by the glorious name of Jesus, and proclaimed both by your name and by your blood, to be the Savior of the world. Have mercy on us.

Have mercy on us, O Lord. Have mercy on us.

Hail Mary…

Day 6

The Adoration of the Kings.

O most sweet infant Jesus, who was made known to the three kings, who worshipped you as you lie on Mary’s breast, and offered you the mystical presents of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Have mercy on us.

Have mercy on us, 0 Lord. Have mercy on us.

Hail Mary…

Day 7

The Presentation.

O most sweet infant Jesus, presented in the temple by the Virgin Mary, embraced by Simeon, and revealed to the Jews by Anna the prophetess. Have mercy on us.

Have mercy on us, O Lord. Have mercy on us.

Hail Mary…

Day 8

The Flight into Egypt.

O most sweet infant Jesus, whom Herod tried to slay, carried by St. Joseph with your Mother into Egypt, saved from death by flight, and glorified by the blood of the holy innocents. Have mercy on. us.

Have mercy on us. O Lord. Have mercy on us.

Hail Mary…

O Jesu! born of Virgin bright, Immortal glory be to thee Praise to the Father infinite, And Holy Ghost eternally.

Christ is at hand. 0 come, let us worship him.

Our Father…

Day 9

The Journey in Egypt.

O most sweet infant Jesus, who dwelled as an exile in Egypt for seven years, where spoke your first words, and, first begin to walk upon this earth. Have mercy upon us.

Have mercy on us, O Lord. Have mercy on us.

Hail Mary

 Closing

LET US PRAY

0 almighty and everliving God, Lord of heaven and earth, who revealed yourself to little ones, grant, we beg you, that while we celebrate and honor the most holy mysteries of your Son, the infant Jesus, and strive to imitate them, we may arrive at that heavenly kingdom which you have promised to little children, through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Palm Sunday – the day after tomorrow, and Holy week begins

palmsunday-title

Entry to Jerusalem

Click here for a fine reflection by Bruce Epperly from Patheos on “Palm/Passion Sunday Celebration, Desolation and Healing.”

Image@http://godspace.wordpress.com/2013/03/20/palm-sunday-prayer-2013/

Image@http://godspace.wordpress.com/2013/03/20/palm-sunday-prayer-2013/

TE DEUM(a solemn psalm of praise), in thanksgiving for the end of the year.

It’s a Catholic custom that deserves to be maintained, that of praying the Te Deum (a solemn psalm of praise) on New Year’s Eve in recognition of the grace bestowed on us throughout the year that is ending.

PopeBenedictXVI_2434479b

(Vatican Radio) Below, please find the full text of Pope Benedict XVI’s homily for Solemn First Vespers for the Feast of Mary the Mother of God (Monday, 31 Dec 2012): (emphasis mine)

Venerable brothers in the Episcopate and the Priesthood, Distinguished authorities, 

Dear brothers and sisters,

I thank all of you who have chosen to participate in this liturgy of the last hour of the year of the Lord 2012. This “hour” bears a particular intensity and becomes, in a sense, a synthesis of all the hours of the year that is about to come to an end. I cordially greet the Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful, and especially the many people from the ecclesial community of Rome. In a special way I greet the Authorities present, beginning with the Mayor of the City, and thank them for choosing to share with us this moment of prayer and thanksgiving to God.


The “Te Deum” that we raise to the Lord this evening, at the end of a calendar year, is a hymn of thanksgiving that opens with the praise – “We praise you, O God, we proclaim you to be the Lord” – and ends with a profession of faith – “You are our hope, we will not be confounded forever.” For all that came to pass over the course of the year, whether easy or difficult, barren or fruitful, we give thanks to God. The Te Deum, in fact, contains a profound wisdom, the wisdom that makes us say that, despite everything, there is good in the world, and this good is destined to triumph, thanks God, the God of Jesus Christ, who became incarnate, died, and rose again. Certainly, it is difficult, sometimes, to accept this profound reality, since evil makes more noise than the good: a brutal murder, the spread of violence, serious injustices make the news. Gestures of love and service, on the contrary, daily struggles endured with patience and fidelity are often left in the shadows. And this is why we cannot rely solely on the news if we want to understand the world and life. We must be able to remain in silence, in meditation, in calm and prolonged reflection; we must know how to stop and think. In this way, our mind can find healing from the inevitable wounds of daily life, can go deeper into the events that occur in our lives and in the world, and come to the knowledge that allows us to evaluate things with new eyes.
Especially in the recollection of conscience, where God speaks to us, we learn to look truthfully at our own actions, even at the evil within us and around us, to begin a journey of conversion that makes us wiser and better, more capable of creating solidarity and communion, of overcoming evil with good.

The Christian is a man of hope, even and especially in the face of the darkness that often exists in the world, not as a consequence of God’s plans, but because of the wrong choices of man, because the Christian knows that the power of faith can move mountains ( cf. Mt 17:20): the Lord can brighten even the deepest darkness.


The Year of Faith, which the Church is living, should arouse in the heart of each believer a greater awareness that the encounter with Christ is the source of true life and a solid hope. Faith in Jesus allows a constant renewal of goodness and of the ability to rise from the quicksand of sin and to begin anew. In the Word made flesh is possible, to rediscover the true identity of man, who finds himself destined for the infinite love of God and called to a personal communion with Him. This truth, that Jesus Christ came to reveal, is the certainty that drives us to face with confidence the year we are about to begin.


The Church, which has received from her Lord the mission to evangelize, knows well that the Gospel is for all people, especially the younger generations, to quench that thirst for truth that everyone carries in his heart and that is often obscured by all those things that occupy life. This apostolic commitment is all the more necessary when the faith risks being obscured in cultural contexts which hinder its personal roots and its social presence. Rome, too, is a city where the Christian faith must be proclaimed again and again and witnessed in a credible manner. On the one hand, there is the growing number of believers of other religions, the difficulties parish communities have in attracting young people, the spread of lifestyles marked by individualism and moral relativism; on the other, the quest, in so many people, for a sense of their own existence and for a hope that will not disappoint, that cannot leave us indifferent. Like the Apostle Paul (cf. Rom 1:14-15) all the faithful of this city should consider themselves under obligation of the Gospel towards the other inhabitants!
For this reason, for several years now, our Diocese has been committed to highlighting the missionary dimension of ordinary pastoral care, so that the faithful, supported especially by the Sunday Eucharist, can become disciples and coherent witnesses of Jesus Christ. Christian parents, who are for their children the primary educators in the faith, are called in a special way to this coherence in their lives. The complexity of life in a great city like Rome and in a culture that often seems indifferent to God, demands that we not leave fathers and mothers alone in so crucial a task, but rather that we support and accompany them in their spiritual life. In this regard, I encourage those who work in family ministry to implement the pastoral activities that emerged from the last Diocesan Convention, dedicated to baptismal and post-baptismal pastoral care. It requires a generous commitment to develop the paths of spiritual formation that after the baptism of children will go with the parents in order to keep the flame of faith alive, offering concrete suggestions so that, from an early age, the Gospel of Jesus will be announced. The emergence of groups of families, in which the Word of God is heard and the experiences of Christian life are shared helps to strengthen the sense of belonging to the ecclesial community and to grow in friendship with the Lord. It is also important to build a relationship of cordial friendship with those of the faithful who, after having baptized their child, distracted by the demands of everyday life, do not show great interest in living this experience: they will be able to experience the love of the Church, as a caring mother, stands by them to promote their spiritual life.


In order to proclaim the Gospel and to allow those who still do not know Jesus, or have abandoned Him, to cross again the threshold of faith and live in communion with God, it is essential to know in depth the meaning of the truths contained in the Profession of Faith. The commitment to a systematic training of pastoral workers, which for some years now has taken place in the various prefectures of the Diocese of Rome, is a valuable tool that must be pursued with commitment in the future, in order to form lay people who know how to echo the Gospel in every house and in every room, even in those listening centres that have brought so much fruit since the time of the city Missions. In this respect, the “Dialogues in the Cathedral,” which have been held in the Basilica of St. John Lateran for some years, constitute a particularly appropriate experience to encounter the City and to dialogue with those who seek God and truth, and who are inquiring into the into the great questions of human existence.


As in the past, so today the Church of Rome is called to announce and to tirelessly witness to the riches of the Gospel of Christ. It must do so also by supporting the many people living in situations of poverty and marginalization, as well as families in need, especially when they have to assist sick and disabled people. I hope very much that the Institutions at various levels will not allow their activities to cease, so that all citizens might have access to what is essential to a dignified life.


Dear friends, on the last night of the year that is coming to an end, and at the threshold of the new, let us praise the Lord! Let us show to “He who is and who was and who is to come” (Rev. 1:8) repentance and asking for forgiveness for their offenses, as well as the sincere thanks for the countless benefits granted by the divine goodness. In particular, we give thanks for the grace and truth that have come to us through Jesus Christ. In Him the fullness of all human time is placed. The future of every human being is kept safe in him. In Him, the fulfilment of the hopes of the Church and of the world comes true. Amen.

598440_10151042549006942_1824765395_n

An Advent Message from Southwark’s Shepherd.

advent_12_pastoral (1)I am particularly fond of our spiritual Shepherd who oversees the vast pastures of the diocese of Southwark: His Grace, Archbishop Peter Smith.  His Advent pastoral letter  is worth ‘chewing over’ as he highlights the ever important alertness to be taken by Christians to live as faithful followers of Christ.archbishop_peter_160(Highlighted text is my comment)
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The season of Advent is given to us as a “spiritual wake-up call” as we prepare ourselves to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, and look, in the longer term, to the final coming of Christ and the completion of the Kingdom of God at the end of time. (As Christians, we await Christ’s return to earth, our lives should be lived as such, not just as Christmas time.) In today’s Gospel, Jesus urges his disciples to “stay awake”. Advent, which begins the Church’s new liturgical year, is a time for us to be alive and awake, to become ever more watchful and faithful disciples. It is a time to witness to the life and hope which has been given to us in and through Jesus Christ, in whom we see made visible the God we cannot see. It is a time to look forward with hope and confidence to renewing our personal relationship with Christ in our hearts so that we can live out our faith in our daily lives. (We need Spiritual ‘fuel’ to keep us going on this Christian Journey:- Advent is the perfect stop to refuel and re-energize) A key question for each of us, is to ask “What is God asking of me?” This is the question which I want each of you to consider and reflect upon prayerfully, not only this Advent, but throughout the course of this Year of Faith.

Beginning with the Incarnation, and culminating in the Paschal Mystery, the coming of Christ reveals and celebrates God’s faithful and unconditional love for all people and for all time. He revealed himself as the God of unconditional love and compassion, who has a passionate care and concern for our salvation and our eternal well-being. Advent is a unique opportunity each year to allow God to deepen our faith and proclaim that love by the way we live and relate to others. It is especially a time, given to us by the Church, for us to focus on our relationship with the person of the risen Christ – an opportunity to make a new start with ourselves, with God and with others. It provides a more focused time to open our hearts to God in prayer, to allow God’s grace to change and mould us into clearer images of Jesus Christ, and to live as renewed and more faithful disciples. So we need to take to heart Christ’s challenge to all of us in today’s Gospel: “Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen, and to stand with confidence before the Son of Man.”

We cannot hope to be changed, to be gradually transformed into more mature disciples, unless we keep alert to the opportunities of grace which God offers us day by day. The work of transformation and redemption is God’s work. It is literally a “labour of love” which God pursues through, with and in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. This season of Advent is a special time for us to co-operate with that work, opening our hearts to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives. It is a time for us to make use of all the means which Christ has given his Church for our renewal and transformation – especially the gift of Holy Scripture, the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation, and the gift of personal prayer. (This paragraph to me, is the most important part of the message.There’s nothing new being said here, but it is set perfectly in the context of the whole letter) 

Pope John Paul II, (The one and only!)whose life and ministry made such a profound impact not only on the Church but on the whole world, reminded us that, “To be Christians has never been easy, and it isn’t easy today either. To follow Christ means having the courage to make radical choices that often go against the current. (The ever-present secular tidal-wave.)Do not be afraid to accept this challenge. Be holy men and women. Do not forget that the fruits of the apostolate depend on the depth of the spiritual life, on the intensity of prayer, of continual formation and sincere adhesion to the directives of the Church.” (We are always growing as Christians into the person that God intends us to become. We’ll never know all there is to know. This is the beauty of our Faith. By SINCERELY following the directives of the Church, we’ll be taking steps on the path of knowledge, understanding and Truth.)

Through the Church, God, in Christ, offers us again and again the love, nourishment and strength we need to continue on our journey of faith – a journey towards the fullness of life and love in the kingdom of our heavenly Father. (This is the reason why we, as Christians need to be an active parishioner in our churches.) As we make that journey day by day, we should do so with hope, confidence and joy. These are gifts of the Holy Spirit which we need to ask for in our prayer, and which he asks us to share with those around us. We are called to be the “light of the nations”, the “salt of the earth”. Like Christ we too live with the life of the Holy Spirit and we too are called “to bring the good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and to the blind new sight, to set the downtrodden free, to proclaim the Lord’s year of favour.” (Lk. 4: 18-19)

We are all called to proclaim the Gospel in the first place by the way we live. And we can only do that if we open our hearts fully and allow the Spirit, who dwells in the very depths of our being, to transform us more and more into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. Only with his help will we have the courage, the strength and the power to do as he asks of us – to proclaim the Gospel of God’s love, to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, to welcome the stranger, to clothe the naked, and to visit the sick and those in prison. I pray that each one of us may grasp the opportunity that Advent gives us, listening to God’s Word, rejoicing in his gifts and confident of his love for us and for all people.

“Father in heaven, our hearts desire the warmth of your love,
and our minds are searching for the light of your Word.
Increase our longing for Christ our Saviour
and give us the strength to grow in love,
that the dawn of his coming may find us rejoicing in his presence
and welcoming the light of his truth.”
Yours devotedly in Christ,

Archbishop of Southwark

Given at Southwark,
26th November 2012

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.

 

 

Little Way Week

Image@http://www.catholic-ew.org.uk

I received an email from the Schools Commission this week with details of resources for primary and secondary schools during the course of a special week called ‘Little Way Week’. It’s to be celebrated in the week before the beginning of the Year of Faith, which begins on the 11th of October.

 

Thérèse of Lisieux
“In my little way there are only very
ordinary things… Miss no single
opportunity of making some small
sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there
by a kindly word; always doing the
smallest right and doing it all for love.”

Little Way Week is inspired by the spiritual teaching and example of St Thérèse of Lisieux and runs from the 6 to the 12 October 2012.  All resources are ready to be picked up and easy to use. You will find them here.

The initiative takes its inspiration from St Thérèse of Lisieux, the universal Patroness of Mission, who gave to the Church a teaching called the ‘Little Way’ –  the saint lived by this pathway which is a commitment to do small tasks every day with love. It is a simple way of witnessing to the love of God and neighbour.

The initiative is being offered in support of the legacy of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the UK who said to those gathered in Oscott in 2010: “I know that you will take a lead in calling for solidarity with those in need. The prophetic voice of Christians has an important role in highlighting the needs of the poor and disadvantaged, who can so easily be overlooked in the allocation of limited resources. In their teaching document Choosing the Common Good, the Bishops of England and Wales underlined the importance of the practice of virtue in public life. Today’s circumstances provide a good opportunity to reinforce that message.”

Bishop Kieran Conry (Arundel and Brighton), Chair of the Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis of the Bishops’ Conference and Patron of the initiative said: “In our communities many people are in need and it is the task of every Christian to reach out to them in love and service. You are invited to be especially attentive to those who might need help, ready to share as appropriate the reason for your actions – that you are following the command of Jesus Christ to love your neighbour as yourself.”

Little Way Week is a wonderful initiative that the whole school community can participate in
to witness to God’s love through service. Let us imitate St Thérèse as someone who found
deep and lasting joy and happiness in doing little things for Jesus and those around her.
Rt Rev Kieran Conry, Bishop of Arundel and Brighton Chair of the Bishops’ Conference Department of Evangelisation and Catechesis

Humane Vitae: Day 19

 

Paragraph 19 begins the third section of the encyclical which is titled, “Pastoral Directives”:

19. Our words would not be an adequate expression of the thought and solicitude of the Church, Mother and Teacher of all peoples, if, after having recalled men to the observance and respect of the divine law regarding matrimony, they did not also support mankind in the honest regulation of birth amid the difficult conditions which today afflict families and peoples. The Church, in fact, cannot act differently toward men than did the Redeemer. She knows their weaknesses, she has compassion on the multitude, she welcomes sinners. But at the same time she cannot do otherwise than teach the law. For it is in fact the law of human life restored to its native truth and guided by the Spirit of God (See Romans 8).

For several centuries, all Christian denominations condemned the use of contraception. It wasn’t until the 1930s when at the Lambeth Conference, communities began to break from this teaching one by one. The culture in general followed suit.  The Catholic Church remained steadfast in this teaching.

Even so, there were some within the Church who wanted the Catholic Church to revise her teaching against contraception. Some took it upon themselves to teach something different.  Chaos followed, and even today we are still dealing with its effects.  But here in paragraph 19, Paul VI says that the Church must hold to the Truth.

“She [the Church] cannot do otherwise than teach the law”.  The role of the Church is to be both mother and teacher (Mater et Magister), and in fulfilling this role, she teaches the Truth: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:19-20).  It is the Truth of Jesus Christ that gives life to the world.

(Posted with permission from Fr. Lee Acervo at http://fatheracervo.wordpress.com)

7 Facts: Holy Week and the Early Church

image from pastorstrey.wordpress.com

1. The Gospels Antiquity of the Celebration of Holy   Week

From an attentive study of the Gospels, and particularly that of St. John, it might easily be inferred that already in Apostolic times a certain emphasis was laid upon the memory of the last week of Jesus Christ’s mortal life. The supper at Bethania must have taken place on the Saturday, “six days before the pasch” (John 12:1-2), and the triumphant entry into Jerusalem was made from there next morning.1

2. 4th Century: Pilgrimage of Ætheria

Of Christ’s words and deeds between this and His Crucifixion we have a relatively full record. But whether this feeling of the sanctity belonging to these days was primitive or not, it in any case existed in Jerusalem at the close of the fourth century, for the Pilgrimage of Ætheria contains a detailed account of the whole week, beginning with the service in the “Lazarium” at Bethania on the Saturday, in the course of which was read the narrative of the anointing of Christ’s feet. Moreover, on the next day, which, as Ætheria says, “began the week of the Pasch, which they call here the “Great Week”, a special reminder was addressed to the people by the archdeacon in these terms: “Throughout the whole week, beginning from to-morrow, let us all assemble in the Martyrium, that is the great church, at the ninth hour.” The commemoration of Christ’s triumphal entry into the city took place the same afternoon.

3. Rituals at the Mount of Olives

Great crowds, including even children too young to walk, assembled on the Mount of Olives and after suitable hymns, and antiphons, and readings, they returned in procession to Jerusalem, escorting the bishop, and bearing palms and branches of olives before him. Special services in addition to the usual daily Office are also mentioned on each of the following days. On the Thursday the Liturgy was celebrated in the late afternoon, and all Communicated, after which the people went to the Mount of Olives to commemorate with appropriate readings and hymns the agony of Christ in the garden and His arrest, only returning to the city as day began to dawn on the Friday.

4. Friday

On the Friday again there were many services, and in particular before midday there took place the veneration of the great relic of the True Cross, as also of the title which had been fastened to it; while for three hours after midday another crowded service was held in commemoration of the Passion of Christ, at which, Ætheria tells us, the sobs and lamentations of the people exceeded all description. Exhausted as they must have been, a vigil was again maintained by the younger and stronger of the clergy and by some of the laity.

5. Saturday

On the Saturday, besides the usual offices during the day, there took place the great paschal vigil in the evening, with the baptism of children and catechumens. But this, as Ætheria implies, was already familiar to her in the West. The account just summarized belongs probably to the year 388, and it is of the highest value as coming from a pilgrim and an eyewitness who had evidently followed the services with close attention.

6. Six Holy and Great Days

Still the observance of Holy Week as a specially sacred commemoration must be considerably older. In the first of his festal letters, written in 329, St. Athanasius of Alexandria speaks of the severe fast maintained during “those six holy and great days [preceding Easter Sunday] which are the symbol of the creation of the world”. He refers, seemingly, to some ancient symbolism which strangely reappears in the Anglo-Saxon martyrologium of King Alfred’s time. Further he writes, in 331: “We begin the holy week of the great pasch on the tenth of Pharmuthi in which we should observe more prolonged prayers and fastings and watchings, that we may be enabled to anoint our lintels with the precious blood and so escape the destroyer.”

7. Constantine & Ante-Constantine

From these and other references, e.g., in St. Chrysostom, the Apostolic Constitutions, and other sources, including a somewhat doubtfully authentic edict of Constantine proclaiming that the public business should be suspended in Holy Week, it seems probable that throughout the Christian world some sort of observance of these six days by fasting and prayer had been adopted almost everywhere by Christians before the end of the fourth century. Indeed it is quite possible that the fast of special severity is considerably older, for Dionysius of Alexandria (c. A.D. 260) speaks of some who went without food for the whole six days (see further under LENT). The week was also known as the week of the dry fast (xerophagia), while some of its observances were very possibly influenced by an erroneous etymology of the word Pasch, which was current among the Greeks. Pasch really comes from a Hebrew meaning “passage” (of the destroying angel), but the Greeks took it to be identical with paschein, to suffer.

SOURCE: The entirety of the article is quoted from the first section of the Catholic Encyclopedia’s article on Holy Week

Humanae Vitae: Day 4

This kind of question requires from the teaching authority of the Church a new and deeper reflection on the principles of the moral teaching on marriage—a teaching which is based on the natural law as illuminated and enriched by divine Revelation.

No member of the faithful could possibly deny that the Church is competent in her magisterium to interpret the natural moral law. It is in fact indisputable, as Our predecessors have many times declared, (Popes Pius IX, Pius X, Pius XI, Pius XII, and John XXIII) that Jesus Christ, when He communicated His divine power to Peter and the other Apostles and sent them to teach all nations His commandments (cf. Mt 28:18-19), constituted them as the authentic guardians and interpreters of the whole moral law, not only, that is, of the law of the Gospel but also of the natural law. For the natural law, too, declares the will of God, and its faithful observance is necessary for men’s eternal salvation (cf. Mt 7:21).

In carrying out this mandate, the Church has always issued appropriate documents on the nature of marriage, the correct use of conjugal rights, and the duties of spouses. These documents have been more copious in recent times.

First, let’s define some necessary terms:

  • Natural Law: the basic principles of right and wrong that exists in every human person by nature. God created us with these principles in our hearts, and so every human person is capable of knowing these principles.  Pope Leo XIII said, “The natural law is engraved in the soul of every man, because human reason tells him to do good and avoid evil. It has force because it is the voice of a higher reason to which our spirit must submit.”
  • Moral law:  The law given to us by God that says “to do what is good and avoid what is evil” (cf. Gaudium et Spes, n. 16).  It is our conscience that urges us to follow this law for it will lead us to Heaven.

Some points to notice:

  • The “moral teaching on marriage” is based on natural law.  God teaches us through divine Revelation in the words of Scripture and the teachings of His Church, but the basic principles are known to man naturally.  This includes things such as marriage being between one man and one woman and procreation as the fruit of marriage.  These are common sense things.
  • The Church is competent to speak on matters of marriage and family because Jesus Christ Himself gave the Church His authority to teach.  And because the moral law relates to our salvation, the Church is “the authentic guardians and interpreters of the whole moral law”.

Here we get to one of the problems of the day.  There are many, even among Catholics, who don’t see the Church as the authority when it comes to the moral law but only see that Church as one voice among many.  Not to mention that there is also an anti-authoritarian mindset that resides in the modern culture.  We’ve been taught to question and even distrust authority.  People want to trust Jesus but not necessarily the Church that He founded even though it was Jesus who gave the Church His authority.

And so one thing that we have to do help others to see the Church’s role in salvation. What sets the Church apart from “other voices” is that the Church alone has been given her authority by Jesus Christ.  The Church didn’t take it upon herself to teach and interpret moral law.  She was ordained and sent out by God to do so.

So why can the Church answer the questions that the world poses regarding the transmission of life?  Why can the Church declare and teach what is morally good and morally evil?  Because Jesus founded the Church to do just that.

 (Posted with permission from Fr. Lee Acervo at http://fatheracervo.wordpress.com)