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Monthly Archives: July 2015

PROMINENT IRISH SAINTS: ST ENDA

St Enda, Memorial: March 21st

Converted by his sister

One of the most significant of the early Irish saints, St Enda of Aran was a warrior who was converted by his sister, the abbess St Fanchea. Born in 484 or thereabouts, he established Ireland’s first monastery on the Aran Islands.

Viewing a corpse

He was the son of a leading Ulster warlord. When his father died he had to fight his clan enemies, but his sister pacified him, on condition she find him a wife. His fiancee died before he could get married. To teach him about death and judgment, Fanchea forced her brother to view the girl’s corpse.

Enda at this point decided to study for the priesthood, heading to south-western Scotland, where he took vows, returning to found a monastery at Innish.

A gruelling life

Enda and his monks were inspired by the asceticism of the Egyptian desert hermits. The religious lived hard, gruelling lives of labour, fasting and prayer, and they had no fires in their stone cells. Enda lived on the island until his death as an old man, around 530. The monastery survived the Vikings, but alas, not the Cromwellites. It was ransacked in the 1650s.”

– This article was published in the Catholic Herald magazine, March 20 2015, issue 6702. For subscriptions please visit http://www.catholicherald.co.uk (external link)

 

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THE HAMLET OF GILLMOSS, LANCASHIRE, WHERE THE LAMP OF FAITH WAS KEPT BURNING THROUGHOUT THE TIMES OF PERSECUTION OF CATHOLIC CHRISTIANS

A brief history 

“Rev. Thomas Taylor, for many years priest at Gillmoss, contributed to the Catholic Annual Directory for 1913 a most interesting account of this Mission. Previously to that Dom Gilbert Dolan had published in the Transactions of the Historical Society of Lancashire and Cheshire a fairly detailed list of the priests who had served this mission. From these two sources the following is compiled.

He practised the Catholic Faith in secret

Two miles beyond the village of West Derby, and skirting Croxteth Park, the ancestral home of the Molyneux family, lies the hamlet of Gillmoss, where the Lamp of the Faith was kept burning throughout the times of persecution by the lords of Molyneux, who remained staunch adherents of the Old Faith till their unfortunate son forsook it in 1769, just when happier days were dawning. In Lord Burghley’s map of Lancashire, dated 1590, a cross is placed against the name of Sir Richard Molyneux, of Croxteth Hall, as being one of the popish recusants, against whom the penal laws were to be rigorously enforced. In the ‘Vewe of ye State of ye Countie’ it is said that ‘he maketh shew of good conformitie, but many of his company ar in evell note.’ He temporised outwardly and practised his religion in secret. His children were brought up Catholics, and all his descendants remained so till the premature death of the father of the ninth Viscount Molyneux. Throughout the days of persecution Mass was regularly said in the private chapels of Croxteth and Sefton. Among the noble confessors for the Faith in times of persecution there were several Molyneux: Caryll, Viscount Molyneux (Baronet of Sefton and third Viscount Molyneux of Maryborough in Ireland); John Molyneux, of the Wood, Melling, who died in Salford Gaol in 1581 for harboring six Catholic priests (one of them was the famous Cardinal Allen); Anthony Molyneux, Esq., who was banished from the kingdom for his Faith, and who died in 1586 in St Dominica; and also Father Thomas Molyneux, S.J., who was tried at Newcastle Assizes for being a priest and a Jesuit. He was poisoned in Morpeth Prison on January 12, 1681, aged forty-three.

There were many witnesses of this murder

As there were many witnesses of this murder, the prison authorities gave it out that this holy priest had committed suicide, and they cast his body on a dungheap for the fanatical mob to cast all kinds of filth on it. When the body was exhumed ten years later, it was found perfectly incorrupt and as white and flexible as that of a living person. In 1746, when the Lord of the Manor was a Jesuit priest – the Rev. William, seventh Viscount Molyneux – there were seven members of this family in the Society of Jesus. For more than two centuries, in defiance of the savage penal laws then in force, a chaplain was maintained at Croxteth Hall to minister to the Catholics in the neighbourhood, and the ancient Mission, now known as Gillmoss, had its origin in this chaplaincy.

The old chapel and presbytery, Gillmoss

The old chapel and presbytery, Gillmoss, ca. 1923

In defiance of the savage penal laws in force…

In 1768 Charles William, ninth Viscount Molyneux (who was created first Earl of Sexton in 1772 in reward for his desertion of the Catholic Faith), caused a presbytery to be built up to the end of a farmhouse at Gillmoss, near Croxteth Hall, and converted the attics in this farmhouse into a chapel, to be used by the residents in place of the chapel at the Hall. Regarding the unfortunate lapse of the head of this once great Catholic family a recent writer has with much fairness said: ‘Hon. Charles William became ninth Viscount Molyneux on the death of his uncle, Rev. Viscount Molyneux, S.J., in 1769. He was at this time only eleven years of age. It has frequently been asserted that he ’embraced’ Protestantism [the compulsory belief-system enforced by the state], and he has been stigmatised as an ‘apostate’; but as his father had left him under the guardianship of the Protestant Duke of Beaufort and others, without any stipulation as to religion, it is highly improbable that he had any opportunities of being brought up a Roman Catholic. At the age of twenty he publicly read ‘a renunciation of the Errors of the Church of Rome’ before the curate and clerk of St Martin’s-in-the-Fields, London, on 5th March, 1769. This curious document is now in the muniment room at Croxteth.’ The truth is that the responsibility in this matter rests with the Government of the time, which seized every opportunity of placing Catholic minors under Protestant guardians, thus ensuring the Protestant education of the heirs to great estates. The Penal Laws being then in force, the relatives had no redress. This same device was practised in the case of the young Bradshaigh, of Haigh Hall, and many other leading English families, and also in the still more remarkable case of the young Duke of Gordon in Scotland in 1728, whose father, the second Duke, died from the effects of a hurried journey from the Highlands to London to defend the little Catholic chapel of St Ninian in the Enzie from desecration.

He had hurried to defend the little Catholic chapel of St Ninian from desecration

The chaplains at Croxteth Hall were the following: From 1600 to 1634 the names of the chaplains are not yet known; in all probability the Rev. John Birtwistle, who came from Valladolid in 1600, served here till his death, when he was buried at Harkirk, February 26, 1620; the Rev. Thomas Fazakerley, alias Ashton, came from Rome in 1636, and died here March 22, 1664, and was buried at Harkirk; the Rev. John Birtwistle died here January 26, 1680, and was buried at Harkirk; Rev. Thomas Martin, a native of Ireland, died here, and was buried at Harkirk, June 11, 1691; Father Albert Babthorpe, S.J., was here in 1701-1704, but was probably tutor to the family, for the chaplaincy was served by the secular clergy; Richard Hitchmough, alias Barker, the notorious apostate, informer, and pursuivant, states that he was chaplain here in 1709.

The snares of worldly rewards

He had become an apostate in 1714, and was rewarded for his treachery with the vicarage of Whenby in Yorkshire. In 1717 Hitchmough informed the Commissioners for Forfeited Estates that ‘at Croxteth in the hundred of Derby, in the County of Lancaster, the seat of the Rt. Hon. William, Viscount Molyneux, were one large silver chalice double gilt within with gold; one large paten of pure gold; two silver crucibles alias cruets, for wine and water; one silver plate upon which the said crucibles did stand; six tall silver candlesticks; and a large silver crucifix, the whole solid silver, and which the Lady Molyneux, the first wife to his present Lordship, told this deponent cost his Lordship £400 in London. All the above plate this deponent says he saw often in the year 1709, at which time he officiated there as chaplain to his Lordship.’ Certainly, the family at that time had the true Catholic spirit, when they so handsomely provided for the celebration of holy Mass; but this generosity was almost universal in the old Catholic homes of Lancashire and of England generally.

The Government rewarded informers with titles, money and property of Catholic Christians

But to continue the list of chaplains: Father Thomas Worthington, O.P., was here from 1713 to 1717, when the fourth Viscount died. Father Worthington’s register is now at Middleton in Yorkshire. Between the years 1713 and 1717 four marriages are recorded, the second on the list being that of William, Viscount Molyneux, to Mary Skelton, but as Lord Molyneux died in the following year, this marriage apparently has never been given in the Peerage. It is witnessed by – Skelton, Robert Molyneux, James Leyburn, and Father Worthington. The rest of the book contains thirty-one baptisms under the heading, ‘List of those baptised by Father Thomas Worthington, Miss. Apost. 1713 to 1717,’ and most of these are stated to have taken place ‘in capella de Croxteth.’ A little further on occurs the entry: ‘1727, 11 Aug. I received of Sister Veronica a crown for Bro. Ivor A ducate on account of M. Skeldon…. Two little rings and a silver Seal for Neece Ursula from Sister and Aunt; she being dead I left ’em for nephew Tom with Mrs. Molyneux of Mosborow.’ (Copy of register at Somerset House, kindly supplied by R. J. Broadbent, Esq.)

The Catholic Relief Act had not yet been passed…

Rev. Richard Jameson, who was serving the Mission of Bardsea, a hunting seat of Lord Molyneux, till the troubles of 1715, when he fled to Ashton, probably succeeded Father Worthington. Father Richard Billinge, S.J., was here on March 5, 1720; Father John Cuerdon, of the Discalced Carmelites, served here from Sefton from September, 1726. In 1728 Bishop Williams confirmed 207 persons here. Rev. Robert Kendal came to Croxteth in or about 1733, and died there April 19, 1746, aged forty-five, and was buried at Sexton as ‘Priest from Crocksteth.’

Caryll, the sixth Viscount, having died a few months before Father Kendal, was succeeded by Father William Molyneux, S.J., who transferred the chaplaincy to his own order. Father Charles Dormer, S.J., sixth Lord Former, was appointed in 1747, but removed to Foole Hall, Cheshire, in September, 1750; Father John Bodenham came in 1750, and died here that same year. Father Sebastian Redford was appointed in November, 1750, and stayed till 1756. The chaplaincy at the Hall was then transferred to the Benedictines, who had long served that at Sefton Hall.

It was illegal to build a Catholic chapel

From 1756 to 1768 Dom Bernard Bennet Bolas, O.S.B., served as chaplain. In 1768 the Croxteth Hall chaplaincy ceased through the approaching marriage and change of religion of Charles William, ninth Viscount Molyneux, who married Isabella Stanhope, daughter of the Earl of Harrington, and who provided a new chapel in the attics of a farmhouse at Gillmoss and a presbytery for Father Bolas in place of the chapel at Croxteth Hall, as already narrated.

Father Bolas, O.S.B., had charge of the ‘old chapel’ from 1768 till his death in 1773. This chapel may be seen by visitors at any time, and will be found in the same condition as in Father Bolas’s days. In the illustration the centre building contains the chapel, which ran from end to end of the attic. On visiting it one is surprised to find how roomy it is. A very similar position is seen at Hornby, where the large attic above the priest’s house was evidently intended for a chapel. One must of course bear in mind that the first Catholic Relief Act had not yet been passed: hence it was illegal to build a Catholic chapel, and the best that could be done was to use the space under the roof. A visit to these attic chapels is very instructive and serves to impress on the mind the difficulties of our Catholic forefathers.

It serves to impress on the mind the difficulties of our Catholic forefathers

Oftentimes distinguished visitors attended this hallowed sanctuary, as it is shown by the following record on the back of one of the baptismal registers at Gillmoss in the handwriting of Rev. Joseph Emmott, S.J., who was then the priest there: ‘During the month of September, 1812, Mons. le Comte d’Artois, with his attendants, the Baron de Rolles and the Duc de Berri, paid his customary annual visit to Croxteth Hall, and, as usual, came regularly to prayers at Gillmoss. His seat in the chapel, known by the name of ‘the King of France’s seat,’ is the one nearest to the Gospel side of the Altar.’ The Comte d’Artois became Charles X, King of France, in 1824, his elder brother, the Comte de Provence, ascending the French throne in 1814 as Louis XVIII. Both were brothers of the ill-fated Louis XVI, who was guillotined during the Revolution. The Duc de Berri, son of the Comte d’Artois, and father of the Comte de Chambord (the last of the elder branch of the Bourbons), was assassinated by Louvel in 1820.

The future King of France had attended Mass regularly at Gillmoss

The priests who ministered for fifty-six in the old chapel (1768-1824) were: Father Bolas, O.S.B. (1768-1773); Father Joseph Emmott, S.J., who states in one of the registers that he came to Gillmoss on April 10, 1773, and who died there in 1816, aged eighty-two. During his time Bishop Walton confirmed in the ‘old chapel’ 200 persons (June, 1774). In 1783 the congregation was reckoned to number 200. In October, 1784, Bishop Matthew Gibson confirmed 62 persons, the communicants being returned at 175.

St Swithin's Church and presbytery, Gillmoss, ca. 1923

St Swithin’s Church and presbytery, Gillmoss, ca. 1923

‘For the glory of God and the benefit of the neighbouring Catholics’

The Jesuit Fathers attended the Mission till the year 1887, when it was transferred to the secular clergy, and Rev. John Kelly took charge. He was succeeded in 1891 by Rev. Thomas Taylor, to whom we are indebted for much of the above account. Rev. Wilfred Carr came to Gillmoss in 1913 and remained till 1921. Of the Jesuit Fathers, the two who resided longest at Gillmoss were Father Joseph Cope and Father Edward Morrison. The former built the present church of St Swithin a few yards distant from the ‘old chapel,’ and added the presbytery in 1826. His epitaph may be read on the right of the church-door entrance as follows: ‘Sacred to the memory of the Rev. Joseph Cope, S.J., who for the glory of God and the benefit of the neighbouring Catholics, by great personal exertions, mainly contributed to the erection of this chapel. Loved in life, he died lamented on 20th Dec., 1834, in the forty-fifth year of his age.’ Other Jesuits buried here are Fathers West, Morron, Hilton, Brindle, Noble, Etheridge, etc., whilst of the laity the names occur of many good old Catholic families, it being a favourite burial-place for the Catholic gentry. And, as it were, to link up Gillmoss with the Molyneux family, the Molyneux arms (azure, a cross moline) were fixed in stone on the outside wall over the entrance door of the present church of St Swithin, when it was opened in 1824, whilst in the cemetery lie buried Captain Hon. Roger Molyneux, and his only son, Roger Anthony, aged ten-and-a-half, who was buried at St Swithin’s in 1902, whilst all around lie the remains of old-time worthies, with names redolent of the Lancashire soil.

Two altar stones of penal times of rough slate and stone

There are some large and valuable oil-paintings hanging on the walls of the present church – The Last Supper, The Crucifixion, The Dead Christ, Mater Dolorosa, etc. – which pictures probably came from Croxteth Hall after Lord Molyneux had forsaken the religion of his forefathers in 1769. In the sacristy is the ‘Molyneux Ciborium,’ on the rim of which are scratched the following words: ‘The gift of ye Hon. Mary Molyneux to Croxteth, 1738. Pray for her.’ Also two altar stones of penal times of rough slate and stone, on which holy Mass had often been said.”

– Dom F. O. Blundell, O.S.B., Gillmoss, in Old Catholic Lancashire, Burns Oates & Washbourne, London, 1925

 

 

 

 

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ANCIENT MARIAN DEVOTIONS: OUR LADY OF CONSOLATION

Our Lady of Consolation

“Our Blessed Mother has been invoked under the beautiful title of Our Lady of Consolation since the fourth century – and probably for even longer than that. History records that St Eusebius of Vercelli, who was a heroic defender of the doctrine of Christ’s Divinity in an age when Arianism was gaining influential followers, brought back an icon of Our Lady of Consolation from Egypt in 363 when he was returning from exile.

Turin

This icon was presented to the city of Turin. Later St Maximus, Bishop of Turin 380 – 420, established a small Shrine to house the icon in a church dedicated to St Andrew. Here it became a popular centre of Marian devotion in the city. However, the following years brought a cycle of destruction, then restoration, followed by neglect, then revival.

During these troubled times a new shrine was built, only to be destroyed again during an invasion of the Barbarians. In 1104 the icon was found buried unharmed beneath some ruins and once again the faithful of Turin could honour Our Lady of Consolation in her shrine. Many miracles were attributed to her intercession and over the succeeding centuries the church in which the icon now is displayed has been reconstructed, embellished and added to, and has been elevated to the status of a minor basilica. The devotion to Our Lady of Consolation became widespread in Europe.

West Grinstead

The English Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation, West Grinstead, Sussex is officially affiliated to the Turin Shrine. Although the church itself was built comparatively recently, it stands in a rural area which is steeped in Church history.

After the Reformation, the local major landowners, the Caryll family, were secret Catholics and welcomed priests who came disguised, at the risk of their lives, to minister to them and to the faithful throughout England.

The Priest’s House, with hiding places to shelter the priest if any investigating authorities were in the area, was originally a tiny cottage. There was also a hidden chapel intended to provide temporary safety for worshippers.

Eventually the government policy towards Catholics changed and instead of the risk of the death penalty, financial sanctions were imposed. The Caryll family remained faithful to the Church and eventually followed the Stuart Royal family to France, where they had an honoured place at the Court in Exile.

Monsignor Denis

When the Caryll estate in Sussex was sold in 1754, the Priest’s House at West Grinstead was given to the Church to ensure that a Catholic presence would continue there. Strange to say, the historical situation was soon reversed, as French Catholic priests fled to England to escape the French Revolution, and some found refuge at West Grinstead.

It was difficult for French speaking priests to minister to a rural English congregation and sadly local fervour declined. Eventually, however, following the establishment of a Catholic Diocese of Southwark (which included Sussex) a priest from Brittany, Mgr Jean Marie Denis, was appointed to West Grinstead and, encouraged by the Bishop, worked hard to revitalise the parish.

A new place of pilgrimage

It was Mgr Denis’s inspiration to establish the Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation at West Grinstead in 1876. He chose this title because the Shrine at Turin was an ancient one and was blessed with special privileges and Indulgences. Through affiliation, the Shrine at West Grinstead shares those privileges.

The combination of history enshrined in the Priest’s House and devotion to Our Blessed Lady under the ancient title Our Lady of Consolation excited wide interest and pilgrims began to visit and pray there and they continue to do so today.

Developments in Turin

Whilst the Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation, West Grinstead, in England was developing and attracting pilgrims, there had been developments at the Shrine in Turin. In 1880 a young priest, Father Giuseppe Allamano, was appointed Rector of the Shrine at the age of 29. Although his father had died when he was only three years old, his early years had been privileged with the example of at least two future saints: one being his uncle, later to become St John Cafasso, and the other being Don Bosco, later to become St John Bosco. The latter was his teacher and spiritual director.

Father Giuseppe had benefited from these early influences and, by the time he was installed as Rector of Our Lady of Consolation Shrine in Turin, he had a number of years’ experience of directing seminarians and newly ordained priests of the diocese. He was a dynamic Rector of the Shrine and enhanced its reputation and influence, but his achievements were not limited to that holy place.

Consolata Missionaries

Father Giuseppe was led by his intense devotion to Our Lady and his zeal for evangelisation to found the two religious missionary congregations that we know as the Consolata Fathers and Brothers (1901) and the Consolata Sisters (1910). They were soon active in Africa and now are spread across the world. Father Giuseppe, better known to us today as Blessed Joseph Allamano, died in 1926 and was beatified in 1990 by Pope St John Paul II. We may hope that he will soon be a canonised saint. The Consolata Missionaries eagerly await this and have dedicated the year 2014 to their founder. They are praying that the miracles required to support the Cause of his canonisation will soon be identified and they urge us all to ask his intercession.

The Consolata Icon

Blessed Joseph Allamano spent many hours in prayer at the Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation in Turin. The holy icon was a source of inspiration for him, and his prayer led him beyond the ancient representation, to the reality of Our Lady’s loving concern for the needy, the sick, the forlorn, the lost… a loving concern as alive today as it has been through the ages.

It seems appropriate that the icon at Turin is not replicated at West Grinstead, which has its own distinct painting … Our Lady is not limited in time or space. Her title of ‘Consolata’ reassures us of her motherly love and her attentiveness to us whenever we call on her, wherever we may be.

Our Lady of Consolation, pray for us.

Blessed Joseph Allamano, pray for us. “

– This article was published in the “Little Way Association” magazine (hard copy) Issue no. 94. For subscriptions and donations, please visit the Little Way Association’s website http://www.littlewayassociation.com (external link)

 

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2015 in Devotions

 

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HOW GOD’S EXISTENCE CAN BE PROVEN BY THE NATURE OF EFFICIENT CAUSE

“In the world of sensible things we find there is an order of efficient causes. There is no case known (neither is it, indeed, possible) in which a thing is found to be the efficient cause of itself; for so it would be prior to itself, which is impossible.

Now in efficient causes it is not possible to go on to infinity, because in all efficient causes following in order, the first is the cause of the intermediate cause, and the intermediate is the cause of the ultimate cause, whether the intermediate cause be several, or one only. Now to take away the cause is to take away the effect.

Therefore, if there be no first cause among efficient causes, there will be no ultimate, nor any intermediate, cause. But if in efficient causes it is possible to go on to infinity, there will be no first efficient cause, neither will there be an ultimate effect, nor any intermediate efficient causes; all of which is plainly false. Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God.”

– St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, from: The Path from Science to God, a pamphlet by Roger Nesbitt (faith pamphlets)

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2015 in Words of Wisdom

 

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PRAYER TO THE HOLY TRINITY ASKING FOR GRACES THROUGH THE INTERCESSION OF BL. MARY THERESA LEDOCHOWSKA

Prayer to the Holy Trinity asking for graces through the intercession of BL. Mary Theresa Ledochowska

O eternal Father, You sent Your Son into the world to redeem it. Through the intercession of Blessed Mary Theresa, who spent her life working for the salvation of souls, grant me the graces I implore from You today.

(Three “Glory Be”)

O eternal Son, You cried out from the Cross, ‘I thirst’ – I desire souls. Through the intercession of Blessed Mary Theresa, who throughout her life wished only to quench Your thirst for souls, grant me the graces I implore from You this day.

(Three “Glory Be”)

O Holy Spirit, Spirit of Love, You enkindled the apostolic soul of Your true servant, Mary Theresa, with your divine fire. Through her intercession, grant me the graces I implore from You this day.

(Three “Glory Be”)

O God, You called Blessed Mary Theresa, virgin, to leave her service at the palace and to live only for Christ and His Mystical Body the Church. Through her intercession, grant that we, truly filled with Your love, might devote all our energies to the service of our brothers and sisters. We ask this through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

(With ecclesiastical approval)

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Blessed Mary Theresa Ledóchowska was born in Loosdorf, Austria, on 29th April 1863. She dedicated her life to God and the missions. In 1894 with the approval of Pope Leo XIII, she founded the Institute of the Sisters of St Peter Claver for the African Missions. Mary Theresa died in Rome on 6th July 1922, and was beatified by Pope Paul VI on 19th October 1975.

Those who wish to report graces received through the intercession of Blessed Mary Theresa may send them to:

Sisters of St Peter Claver

89 Short lands Road

Bromley

Kent

BR2 0JL

England

Tel.: 020 8313 3915

 

57 Motherwell Road

Bellshill

Lanarkshire

ML4 2JA

Scotland

Tel.: 01698 747 112

bellshillsspc@btinternet.com

claversisters@catholic.org

– The above prayer and contact details are taken from a prayer leaflet distributed by the Sisters of St Peter Claver

 
 

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SUN OF MY SOUL, THOU SAVIOUR DEAR (HYMN)

Sun of my soul, thou Saviour dear,

It is not night if thou be near:

O may no earth-born cloud arise

To hide thee from thy servant’s eyes.

 

When the soft dews of kindly sleep

My wearied eyelids gently steep,

By my last thought, how sweet to rest

For ever on my Saviour’s breast.

 

Abide with me from morn till eve,

For without thee I cannot live;

Abide with me when night is high,

For without thee I dare not die.

 

If some poor wandering child of thine

Have spurned to-day the voice divine,

Now, Lord, the gracious work begin;

Let him no more lie down in sin.

 

Watch by the sick; enrich the poor

With blessings from thy boundless store;

Be every mourner’s sleep to-night

Like infant’s slumbers, pure and light.

 

Come near and bless us when we wake,

Ere through the world our way we take;

Till the ocean of thy love

We lose ourselves in heaven above.

– J. Keble, 1792-1866

 

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HOW EASY IT IS TO PRAY!

“In truth, what is required in order to pray, and consequently to persevere in the grace of God during our whole lives, till the hour of death, and thus arrive at the blessed port of salvation?

Taking ourselves for what we really are

All that is required is to take ourselves for what we really are, that is, for poor beggars, and to conduct ourselves as such at God’s gates, our lips open in prayer, our hands stretched out towards His mercy, crying out unceasingly, imploring the aid of Heaven: ‘My Jesus, mercy! Do not permit that I should have the misfortune to separate myself from You.’ ‘Lord, assist me!’ ‘My God, help me!’ Here is the favourite prayer of the Fathers of the desert, which they recited constantly: ‘O God, come to my aid! Hasten, Lord, hasten to succour me! If You delay, I shall succumb, and shall be lost.’ We should do the same in our temptations. To act otherwise is our ruin.

O God, come to my assistance. Lord, make haste to help me.

But, while addressing ourselves to the Lord, we should remember to recommend ourselves also to the dispenser of graces, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Undoubtedly, it is God alone Who grants us graces, but it is through Mary’s hands that He gives them to us. ‘Let us seek for grace,’ says Saint Bernard, ‘and let us seek it through Mary,’ for her petitions to God are always successful; so that if the Blessed Virgin intercedes in our favour we may be satisfied that we shall be heard.”

– Laverty & Sons (eds), 1905

 

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“WHEN DO CHRISTIANS FINALLY STOP EMBARRASSING PEOPLE AND START KEEPING THEIR RELIGION TO THEMSELVES INSTEAD?”

Question: “Nowadays it is not uncommon to hear it said that religion is something personal, that those who believe should keep it to themselves, that it is something private. That we must not embarrass people… that we should hide our beliefs… not reveal our belief in Christ to others. I would like to hear your comments on that.

Answer: Yes as you say it is something you will often hear nowadays. And we agree that our faith is personal but it can never be private. Of its very nature it reaches out to others. A sincere belief in God will flow out of the heart of the believer into every sphere of his or her life. And so any committed and sincere Christian necessarily influences society and culture.

In St Paul’s letter to the Romans he says ‘the life and death of each one of us has its influence on others.’ Of its nature it is not private and lest we have any doubts about practising our faith openly Jesus calls on us his followers to be his witnesses.

Jesus makes it clear that the Church does not exist for its own sake. It has a mission, a purpose. It must not let the world forget Jesus Christ. It must continue to make Him known and to proclaim His teachings everywhere until time is no more. He calls on each one of us who make up the Church to live our faith, ‘to make disciples of all the nations.’ Not to be afraid to show others by our beliefs and lifestyle that we are His followers. Pope Francis, in his encyclical Evangelii Gaudium, wrote: ‘No one can demand that religion should be relegated to the inner sanctum of personal life, without influence on societal and national life.’

We need to be like the Christian who lived simply among nonbelievers. Later, when a missionary arrived and started preaching Christ, the people said, ‘Oh we knew him; he lived in that house on the hill.’ It is clear that the man on the hill preached his profound belief in Christ by the way he lived his life. We might ask ourselves this question – would those who know us be able to say the same about us?”

– From: Saint Martin Magazine, for subscriptions please visit http://www.st martin.ie (external link)

 

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HUMANS CANNOT EARN THEIR OWN SALVATION BY THEIR OWN EFFORTS – ST AURELIUS

ST AURELIUS, MEMORIAL: JULY 20th

On “20th July, one of the saints remembered by the Church is St Aurelius. In the late fourth century he was ordained Bishop of Carthage, which today is in Tunisia. At that time there were two heresies which needed to be countered and St Aurelius played a significant part in promulgating what was true Catholic teaching. These heresies, and then Catholic teaching, are summarised below:

Donatism

The first heresy was Donatism. This heresy had implications both for the sacrament of confession and the other sacraments in general. Donatists believed that the sacrament of confession could not reconcile certain sinners back into full communion with the Church. This was in the context of certain clerics having previously gone against the Church during times of persecution. The Donatists had a rigorist position against them returning to the Church. The other belief of the Donatists which needed to be countered was their insistence that by sinful acts priests made themselves unable to celebrate valid sacraments. St Aurelius proclaimed the truth of the Catholic Faith that the sacrament of confession was precisely for everyone who repented and that there was a way back to full communion with the Church.

Also that the validity of any sacrament depended on the holiness of God, the priest being a mere instrument of God’s work. So any priest, even one in a state of sin, who speaks the formula of the sacrament with valid matter, as laid down by the Church, and with the intent of causing the sacrament to occur, acts validly. For example, a Catholic who receives the Eucharist from the hands of a priest, even if he has sinned, still receives Christ’s Body and Blood, their own sacramental life being undamaged by the priest’s sins.

Pelagianism

The other heresy to be countered was that of Pelagianism. This taught that original sin did not taint human nature and that mortal will was still capable of choosing good or evil without God’s help. Human will alone was sufficient to live a sinless life and that human beings can earn their own salvation by their own efforts.

The Council of Carthage at that time corrected these errors. The statements include the teaching that death did not come to Adam from a physical necessity, but through sin; newborn babies must be baptised on account of original sin; justifying grace not only avails for the forgiveness of past sins, but also gives assistance for the avoidance of future sins; without God’s grace it is not merely more difficult, but impossible to perform good works; not out of humility, but in truth we must confess ourselves to be sinners.

St Aurelius became a good friend of St Augustine of Hippo and the two of them, in writing and spoken word, actively confronted the teachings and tactics of these heretics. St Aurelius died in the year 430.”

From: “Spiritual Thought from Fr Chris”/2015

 

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“GIVE ME JESUS, BUT WITHOUT RELIGION” IS AN OXYMORON

Catholic ceremonies and liturgy

“The unique source from which all acts of [Catholic Christian] worship derive their merit and efficacy is the Paschal Mystery of our Lord, Jesus Christ . All other acts of [Catholic Christian] worship radiate from it as from their centre; all hymns of praise revolve around it. The Paschal Mystery embraces the death, resurrection and ascension into glory of our Saviour . These are three inseparable aspects of the one and same mystery whereby Christ has redeemed us and reconciled us to His Father, restoring all things in Himself.His passion and death would have no significance if He did not rise to life. He could rise only if He had first died.

‘Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into His glory?’ (Luke 24:46).

His resurrection gives meaning to His death: His victory over death and sin. The cross represents the triumph of our Saviour over the power of evil; His resurrection is the testimony of His Father’s acceptance of His sacrifice as an adequate expiation for man’s sin and of our restoration to our heritage as children of God; His ascension is a pledge that we shall rise with Him and ascend with Him to share His glory. Our reconciliation with the Father is in and through ‘Jesus who was put to death for our sins and raised to life to justify us,’ (Rom. 4:25).

To complete this work of reconciliation Christ sent the Holy Spirit into the Church, into the hearts of men. The sending of this divine Gift is necessarily and directly related to the Paschal Mystery. Indeed, all the events of our Lord’s life on earth from His conception in the womb of His virgin mother; the whole history of God’s revelation and manifestations to man from the creation of the world; the fruits of redemption to be communicated to man until the end of time; all praise, all thanksgiving – all are directed to or derive from this mystery.

In brief, this mystery embraces the passing of our Redeemer from death to risen life and glory through the cross, resurrection and ascension and all in sacred history that led up to this consummation and which will result from it. This in all its fulness is what we understand by the Paschal Mystery.”

“Prayer, and more especially prayer of praise and thanksgiving , is an act of worship to God. Liturgical prayer is the public homage of praise and thanksgiving given by the Church and its member to God, our Creator, in and through our Lord Jesus Christ . More precisely, it is the worship which our Saviour, through the ministry of His Church, gives to His Father in the name and on behalf of the Church and each of its members. It is, then, the praise and thanksgiving given to God by the Body of Christ, Head and members , ‘through, with and in’ Jesus Christ.

This liturgical worship comprises the Eucharistic Sacrifice, the sacraments and sacramentals, and the divine office. We participate in this worship of our Father by assisting at these rites.”

– From: Saint Columba Breviary, 1970 (the text in inverted commas)

 

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