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Tag Archives: Confirmation

COME, THOU HOLY PARACLETE (HYMN)

Come, thou holy Paraclete,
And from thy celestial seat
Send thy light and brilliancy:
Father of the poor, draw near;
Giver of all gifts, be here;
Come, the soul’s true radiancy:

Come, of comforters the best,
Of the soul the sweetest guest,
Come in toil refreshingly:
Thou in labour rest more sweet,
Thou art shadow from the heat,
Comfort in adversity.

O thou Light, most pure and blest,
Shine within the inmost breast
Of thy faithful company.
Where thou art not, man hath nought;
Every holy deed and thought
Comes from thy Divinity.

What is soil-ed, make thou pure;
What is wounded, work its cure;
What is parch-ed, fructify;
What is rigid, gently bend;
What is frozen, warmly tend;
Straighten what goes erringly.

Fill thy faithful, who confide
In thy power to guard and guide,
With thy sevenfold Mystery.
Here thy grace and virtue send:
Grant salvation in the end,
And in heaven felicity.
– Archbishop Langton, c. 1150-1228
tr. J. M. Neale

 

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“CALLED TO LIFE: CONFIRMATION REFLECTIONS AND PRAYERS”

“Catholic writer Tony Castle has written a new book to help young people who are being confirmed.

‘Called to Life: Confirmation Reflections and Prayers’, aims to help young people ‘cling on to something of the specialness’ of Confirmation.

Mr Castle, who has written for The Universe and Catholic Life magazine, tried to look for a book when a young friend of his was confirmed.

‘I looked around, in vain, for a modern book of reflections and prayers that would help him deepen his relationship with Jesus,’ he told The Universe.

‘The experience of encountering Christ through the Sacrament and the weeks of preparation need support and encouragement; our confirmed young people won’t grow without it.

‘That was my prompt to produce ‘Called to Life’. Antonia Rolls’ startling picture ‘Jesus on the Tube’ with its message that you can find Jesus anywhere, was the starting point. In other words, the reflections start with the cover, where you have to turn the book over to find Jesus, who is ignored by fellow travellers, but never pushes himself forward; he waits gently and patiently to be discovered.’

The 48 pages continue the theme of encountering Jesus. It is the compiler’s hope that in a small way ‘Called to Life’ will help a number of young people grow in love and friendship with the Lord.

From texting, twittering; staying in the know; keeping in touch; building and strengthening friendship, this challenging collection of reflections and prayers for young people is an aid to keep them in touch with Jesus, the friend who they can find at the centre of everyday life. They have chosen to confirm their baptism, their call to life, this aid will help young people to continue their friendship with Jesus, and his call to enjoy life to the full.”
– This article by Emma Lander was published in “The Catholic Universe” issue Sunday 17th Novemvber, 2013. For subscriptions please visit http://www.thecatholicuniverse.com (external link).

 
 

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WHEN IN THE OLD TESTAMENT, THE WORLD HAD THREE FLOORS AND THE EARTH WAS UPHELD BY PILLARS – AND AT ONE POINT, EVERYTHING CHANGED FOR US…

“The first Christians were predominantly of Jewish extraction. The way they understood the physical world around them enabled them to understand the meaning of the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus in a unique way that still has implications for us today. Their primary understanding of redemption was firstly formed by the belief in the way God had created the world around them, and secondly in their belief in a universal truth. Their understanding of the physical structure of the world was, however, archaic, but the universal truth, namely that love is communicated by touch, was right. Nevertheless by putting these two concepts together considerable light can be thrown on the essence of any authentic spirituality that claims to be Christian.

HUMAN BEINGS LIVED IN A WORLD WITH THREE FLOORS

In the Old Testament human beings lived in a world with three floors. On the first floor, upheld by pillars to stop the earth from falling into the waters below, men and women lived out their lives until when, after death, they were sent down to the ground floor to live in the shadowy world of Sheol. What we would call the sky, they called the firmament. God was seated on a throne above it using it as his ‘footstool’. The firmament was visualised as something solid, rather like a transparent cooking pot that enabled God to observe how human beings were behaving. The firmament was supported on either side by the ‘eternal hills’ and had flaps strategically placed, enabling God to send down rain and snow, wind and thunderbolts, and angels too, when their services were being called for. Although the sun shone as it arched its way across the firmament, like the moon and the stars, the ground floor and the first floor had been plunged into spiritual darkness. These were now the places where the demons ruled, ever since the first man and woman had rejected God. So, in future men and women would no longer ‘walk and talk’ with God, ‘in the cool of the evening’, as they had done in the first paradise.

LAYING ON OF HANDS

When Jesus was born on the first floor, His physical presence radiated the love that shone out of Him to bring light where darkness had prevailed before. This love, like all human love, was communicated through touch, by a kiss, an embrace, by the washing of feet, all common practices in the world into which He was born. The very moment after His death on the cross, the New Testament pictured Christ descending into Sheol on the ground floor, to redeem those who had died before Him with the fullness of love that He had just received. It was believed that all who died before Christ’s coming would have to wait for His redemptive action. The same demons that were put to flight as He descended through the nether regions to release the ‘captives’ were put to flight for a second time, as He ascended through the air above, leading the captives back to His Father. Now seated at God’s right hand they could both send the Holy Spirit through the corridor made through the realm of the demons at His Ascension. This enabled the love that the apostles had already received to be surcharged on the first Pentecost Day with the Pleroma, or the fullness of love, that He had received on the first Easter Day. Now they in their turn literally handed on what they had received from Jesus to all who freely chose to receive it. That’s why all the sacraments involved the laying on of hands, so that what Christ had handed on to the apostles could be handed on generation after generation all the way down to us.

CHRIST’S TOUCH

So it is absolutely true to say that the love that Jesus experienced after His resurrection is handed on to us today through the hands of the priest who baptised us, and through the hands of the bishop who confirmed us. The measure in which that love possesses us is only limited by our capacity to receive it. These physical touches that happen but twice through the priest and through the bishop can be received every day through the touch of Christ Himself in thhe sacred mysteries. That is why for St Francis this was the most profound mystery of all:

‘He shows Himself to us in this sacred bread as He once appeared to His apostles in real flesh. With their own eyes they saw only flesh, but they believed that He was God, because they contemplated Him with the eyes of the spirit. We too with our own eyes see only bread and wine, but we must see further and firmly believe that this is His most holy Body and Blood living and true. In this way our Lord remains continually with His followers, as He promised: ‘Behold I am with you all days even to the end of the world’.” (Admonition 1)

The common belief of the first Christians in a universe with three floors was, of course, erroneous, but it is worth understanding for the insight which it can give us into the essential meaning of ‘Physical Redemption’ which cannot be discarded. It is the physical presence of Christ bursting with uncreated life and energy which brought and still brings to this world the love that impelled God to create it in the first place. It is this love and this love alone that, as was revealed to St Francis on La Verna, unites us to God.

ASCETICISM OF THE HEART

Now the most powerful form of energy that was originally responsible for the creation of the world entered the world again as human love in the person of Jesus Christ. The Gospel is the story of how this otherworrldly
love gradually penetrated every part of Him, until it reached out through Him to others to transform their lives, as it had transformed His. There is [daily Holy Mass] one way to receive this love, as St Francis shows throughout his life, and that is to set aside daily quality space and time for prayer. When anyone asks me what ascetical practice they should adopt, I always answer that first and above all others you should adopt the asceticism of the heart. That is: don’t give up anything you like or enjoy (apart from sin, of course!) Except if it prevents you from giving quality space and time for daily prayer each day.

If you do that, come what may, you will eventually receive the love that will make you want to throw away all the so called pleasures and pasttimes that you once thought you could not do without, just as a miner throws away the dross when he has found true gold. The big question that was continually asked by the Fathers of the Church was not how do we love God, but what do we do to allow His love to enter into us so that He can give us the inner power and strength to love Him as we should and to love our neighbour as ourselves. As Jesus put it: First seek God and His kingdom and then everything else will be given to you. Prayer was everything in the spirituality of St Francis, all he was given, all he received, was received there.”
– This article by David Torkington was published in Messenger of Saint Anthony, March 2013 issue. For subscriptions, please contact: Messenger of Saint Anthony, Basilica del Santo, via Orto Botanico 11, 35123 Padua, Italy.

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[ NB. The greatest prayer is the Holy Mass. Those who pray well alone, however, pray also best together. And also remember to offer the Holy Rosary at least once a day in our troubled times, PLEASE. ♥ ]

 

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FOR YOUR DIARY: CALLED TO GLORY V

“If you are reproached for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you” (1Pt 4:14).

THE SPIRIT OF GLORY
• When: 16-17 February 2013
• Where: Highfield House, St John’s Way, Chertsey, Surrey KT16 8BZ
Tel. 01932 565 747 (5 minute drive from M25 junction 11, 10 minute walk from Chertsey Train Station

DONATION ONLY
Nominal registration fee of £5 – payable to “Cor Lumen Christi Trust”

Please bring your own or buy food from local pubs, restaurants & fast food places, or the local supermarket.

There is limited dormitory accommodation at Highfield House. Alternatively a list of bed & breakfast and hotel accommodation is available on request.

“God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us” (Rom 5:5).

The Holy Spirit is the giver of Divine Life, God the Sanctifier, who dwells and prays in our hearts, and acts in and through our lives – He is truly ‘God within’. Yet for many the Holy Spirit is the least known Person of the Trinity. The Spirit reveals the Father and the Son to us – without Him there could be no faith at all – “but the Spirit does not speak of himself” (CCC 687).

In CALLED TO GLORY V we will explore this elusive side of the Holy Spirit, be enriched by the paradoxical “divine self-effacement” of the Spirit of Glory, learn how faith in the Holy Spirit both challenges and helps us on our lifelong journey into Glory.

Sessions include:
• “The Lord the Giver of Life” – Faith in the Holy Spirit
• Speaking to God – the gift of Tongues
• “Pray at all times in the Spirit” – Infused Prayer
• Anointed in Power through the Sacrament of Confirmation
• “Do not steal” – The call to Generosity
We will also open ourselves to receive God’s life-giving Light through ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit, as well as have extended times of joyful praise – Adoration and the Holy Eucharist.

PROGRAMME

• Saturday 10am – 9.30pm
• Sunday 10am – 4.30pm
Mass included both days

More info on http://www.coretlumenchristi.org (external link)

 
 

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I WAS SIGNED WITH HOLY CHRISM – O LORD, LET ME NEVER EVER BE DISLOYAL TO YOU

At Confirmation, I was signed with holy Chrism, O Jesus, I girded myself with a mystical sword and solemnly said: I will do combat for Your glory!

It was a solemn day for me: the Bishop, vested with the holy stole, invoked the Holy Spirit upon me; he extended his hands over my head to proclaim the dominion of God over me, he anointed me with oil to consecrate me to Him and to fortify me and then he made me repeat the profession of faith in order to initiate me into the spiritual combat. I arose happy and found next to me a dear person who was committed to help me in this battle…You smiled on me, O Jesus, because I felt my soul full of peace and You awaited from me an authentic and strong testimony before the lying and faithless world.

The sword which You gave me was beautiful. You signed me with the Sign of the Cross to tell me that YOU MUST BE MY STRENGTH, that You must be my confidence, that You must be my glory. That cross, signed on my forehead with oil, disappeared, but it was to remain in my works, in my life, in my soul; I myself was to be like a triumphant cross, a glorious trophy of Your redemption!

Thus You set me apart for Yourself, I was much more Yours and I confirmed at Your feet the solemn promise of my Baptism, while You confirmed me in Your mercy! O, how great are Your Sacraments, O Jesus!

How many battles I’ve had since I’ve been confirmed; I should have fought and in the meantime I’ve been defeated because I’ve rendered so many mercies and helps vain! O Jesus, I am covered with disgrace, and here I am wounded at Your feet! Please forgive me! Let the grace of the Sacrament of Confirmation be revived in me; make me strong; make me faithful to Your love.

Love is the most beautiful characteristic of Your soldier and for this the eternal love of God descended on me…O Jesus, detach me from all; inflame me with Your love so that, loving You, I will defend You and will not be unfaithful to You.

ASPIRATION: God the Holy Spirit, inflame me with love.

LITTLE WORK: Perform some act of zeal to repair for all the cowardice which you’ve been guilty of in the divine service.
– Don Dolindo Ruotolo

 
 

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