Tag Archives: the Church


O Heart of Jesus, whose overflowing charity for men is requited by so much forgetfulness, negligence and contempt, behold us prostrate before your altar, eager to repair by a special act of homage the cruel indifference and injuries to which your loving Heart is everywhere subject.


Mindful, alas, that we ourselves have had a share in such great indignities, which we now deplore from the depths of our hearts, we humbly ask your pardon and declare our readiness to atone by voluntary expiation not only for our own personal offences; but also for the sins of those who, straying far from the path of salvation, refuse in their obstinate infidelity to follow you, their Shepherd and Leader, or, renouncing the vows of their Baptism, have cast off the sweet yoke of your law.


We are now resolved to expiate each and every deplorable outrage committed against you; we are determined to make amends for the manifold offences against Christian modesty in unbecoming dress and behaviour, for all the foul seductions laid to ensnare the feet of the innocent, for the frequent violation of Sundays and holy-days, for the shocking blasphemies uttered against you and your Saints. We wish also to make amends for the insults to which your Vicar on earth and your priests are subjected, for the profanation by conscious neglect or terrible acts of sacrilege, of the very Sacrament of your divine love; and lastly for the public crimes of nations, who resist the rights and teaching authority of the Church which you have founded.


Would, O Divine Jesus, we were able to wash away such abominations with our blood. We now offer, in reparation for these violations of your divine honour, the satisfaction you once made to your eternal Father on the Cross and which you continue to renew daily on our altars; we offer it in union with the acts of atonement of your Virgin Mother and all the Saints and of the pious faithful on earth; and we sincerely promise to make recompense, as far as we can with the help of your grace, for all neglect of your great love and for the sins we and others have committed in the past. Henceforth, we will live a life of unwavering faith, of purity of conduct, of perfect observance of the precepts of the Gospel and especially that of charity. We promise to the best of our ability to prevent others from offending you and to bring as many as possible to follow you.


O loving Jesus, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our model in reparation, deign to receive the voluntary offering we make of this act of expiation; and by the crowning gift of perseverance keep us faithful unto death in our duty and the allegiance we owe to you, so that we may one day come to that happy home, where you with the Father and the Holy Spirit live and reign, God, world without end. Amen.


Tags: , , , , , ,


St Michael, Archangel, Helper and Defender of Christians

“Besides the protection which the glorious Archangel Michael extends to the Church at large, he is also the protector of every individual Christian and of all Christian nations . How fortunate we are in having so powerful an advocate! Surely, never so urgently as in the present time have Catholics needed St Michael’s help to remain steadfast in their Faith. Unbelief has carried its insolence to the very limit and boldly proclaims that there is no God . Blasphemy against Jesus Christ, against His mysteries and His doctrines has increased in the most frightful manner. It is our duty to be faithful Catholics, to confess our Faith openly and energetically and to preserve a glowing, invincible love for Jesus Christ.

When Satan rises to seduce us…

St Michael is the conqueror of Satan . Under his leadership, let us unfurl everywhere the banner of the Catholic Faith and have no fear of godlessness . In a thousand secret ways, Satan plots and wars against God and tries to usurp His throne. Let us keep the kingdom of our heart firmly closed against him, that he may never reign therein by sin. When the spirit of darkness incites us to thoughts of pride or rebellion, let us answer him with St Michael: “Who is like unto God? ” Who am I – a creature of dust and ashes, the fleeting phantom of an hour – in comparison to God?

When Satan tries to seduce us to commit this or that sin; when in alluring pictures he presents to us the pleasures and attractions of this world; when he promises us honours, riches, happiness , on condition that we break a Commandment , omit a good work, or commit an evil deed; when he tempts us to give way to murmuring and impatience and to find fault with the inscrutable ways of Divine Providence; when the siren song of sinful pleasures sounds in our ears, filling our hearts with unholy longings and crowding our imagination with forbidden sights and scenes; then let us ever oppose the tempter with the same energetic words: ‘Who is like unto God?’

Our whole life is a continuous temptation

‘Our whole life,’ says St Bernard, ‘is a continuous temptation.’ He drew this truth from Holy Scripture. We have to battle against foes who are mighty in power, cruel in their vengefulness, fearsome in their craftiness, countless in their number, tireless in their persecutions. There are spirits who deal blows without being seen , who intrude everywhere, who see everything that we do, while remaining invisible to us. And they battle with weak persons who wander in darkness, on slippery paths, surrounded by frightful abysses . With furious rage these many enemies have sworn to avenge themselves upon us, because God has called us to occupy the thrones left vacant by them. They are bent upon the eternal ruin of our souls.

The number of the demons is incredible. St Anthony of the Desert (251-356) said repeatedly that millions of evil spirits were roaming about the world. And the influence which these evil spirits exercise over world events is tremendous. Yet we need not despair, because St Michael is a defender more powerful by far than the spirits of darkness. In the prayer of the Church we daily ask him to ‘cast into Hell Satan and the other evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.’

Prayer of exorcism to St Michael

Viewing the world situation in the spirit of faith, we cannot deny that the great evils which now afflict the world will never be amended without prayer and penance. Yet even Catholics have lost sight of this truth. They pray for the cure of the sick, for success in their undertakings and for many other personal intentions – but not enough, or not at all, for the cessation of the prevailing moral evils which mean triumph for Satan and attack on the Church and ruin for souls. The Prayer to St Michael deserves to be taken to the hearts of all Catholics and recited by them frequently, and even daily. It is a prayer particularly applicable to our times and to all Christendom.”

– From “Neath St. Michael’s Shield” (links added afterwards)


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


One and the same unseen spiritual principle

“This then is the special glory of the Christian Church, that its members do not depend merely on what is visible, they are not mere stones of a building, piled one on another, and bound together from without, but they are one and all the births and manifestations of one and the same unseen spiritual principle or power, ‘living stones’, internally connected, as branches from a tree, not as parts of a heap. They are members of the Body of Christ. That divine and adorable form, which the Apostles saw and handled, after ascending into heaven became a principle of life, a secret origin of existence to all who believe, through the gracious ministration of the Holy Ghost… So that in a true sense it may be said, that from the day of Pentecost to this hour there has been in the Church but one Holy One, the King of kings, and Lord of lords himself, who is in all believers, and through whom they are what they are; their separate persons being but as separate developments, vessels, instruments, and works of him who is invisible.”

(Bl. John Henry Newman; from ‘We are members of Christ and members one of another’, P.S. IV, 170)


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,



“The Bishops of Shrewsbury and Portsmouth have issued appeals for Catholics to be brave and faithful in the face of a hostile secular climate as the Year of Faith [drew] to a close.

In a pastoral letter which [was] read out in churches on Sunday to parishioners in the Diocese of Shrewsbury, Bishop Mark Davies [called] on Catholics to profess their faith with ‘courage and constancy’.

The letter says that unless Catholics profess their faith in Jesus Christ, the Church will become little more than a charitable, non-governmental organisation. Quoting Pope Francis, it says: ‘When we do not confess Jesus Christ, we confess the worldliness of the Devil.’


Bishop Davies’s letter goes on to say: ‘I have no doubt that the future of our diocese will be decided by the courage and constancy of such faith. In my first letter to the diocese three years ago I echoed the prayer of the first Apostles who said to the Lord: ‘Increase our faith!’ (Lk 17:5). At the end of this Year of Faith I ask you to renew with me this same prayer in the Mass today where ‘the sacrifice of Christ offered once for all on the cross remains ever present’.


‘Before Christ our Lord, truly present in the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist, let us say: ‘Lord, increase our Faith!’ Increase our faith that we may go from Mass every Sunday to give our own courageous and constant witness to Christ the King.’


In his message to his diocese, Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth has announced that he will consecrate his diocese to the Sacred Heart of Jesus on Sunday, to mark…the end of the Year of Faith. Bishop Egan said that indifference towards God was releasing ‘powerful forces of chaos’ in society. He said: ‘This consecration is not simply an act of piety. In Britain today, we have so much to thank God for and we rejoice that the Holy Spirit is clearly at work far and wide in people’s hearts.’


‘Yet we also recognise that many people in our society reject God, or they are indifferent towards Him, to their eternal destiny and to the role of religion in human living. ‘Such attitudes are releasing powerful forces of chaos and moral malaise, which undermine our Catholic community too.

Bishop Egan concluded: ‘So at Mass, on November 24, the Feast of Christ the King, the national Day of Prayer for Young People, I wish to invite everyone to consecrate themselves, through the Heart of Mary to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. That means: put Christ first! Put yourself under His Word! Promise to live your life entirely In Corde Iesu [‘in the heart of Jesus’].’

The Year of Faith was launched by Pope Benedict XVI last October to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. It also coincided with the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.”
– This article by Madeleine Teahan entitled “Bishops: English faithful will need to be courageous” was published in “The Catholic Herald” issue November 22 2013. For subscriptions please visit (external link).


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,



“November is the month when we pray for the dead. I have always liked the feast of All Souls, with its reminder that the Church is one and indivisible.

The Church will always pray for us, even when, perhaps we might say, especially when, we are dead.


It is not fashionable to think about death or dying. You are more likely to hear about someone’s ‘bucket list’ of things they want to see and experience before they die than someone’s efforts to put their lives in order, as the old phrase has it, and prepare for death.

Death is not welcome. We rail against it, try to put it off as long as possible. That is natural, but we are called to be more than ‘natural’.


Death is what we are born for, and just as there is no escape, so there is no need to be afraid or reluctant to face it. Maybe it’s because I’m a Benedictine and St Benedict exhorts us to keep death daily before our eyes… I think the idea of preparing for death rather attractive.


If I’m granted a deathbed, I know I won’t be spending it going over old wrongs or lamenting the fact that I never got to drive a Ferrari or own a Monet.

I won’t be wasting my time with arguments about liturgy or speculating about what’s going on in the Vatican. I’ll be lamenting my sins, the ways I’ve failed God and other people, and I suspect my repentance will have an earnestness it has never quite achieved before.


It is in that moment, when I am about to face God, that the prayers of the Church will mean most to me; and when I have died, the fact that the Church will continue to pray for me as I undergo Purgatory will, surely, be a consolation and source of strength.

If I feel thus about my own dying and death, how can I refuse to pray for others as they face their final moments on earth? How can I not want to pray for souls in Purgatory? It may not be fashionable, but it is still necessary; so is preparing for death.


Regular readers know I am an enthusiast for the Sacrament of Penance. I think November is a good month to take stock of our lives and bring the broken and bruised bits of them to the Lord for healing and forgiveness. Then it is a question of doing what we can to make amends for the wrongs we have done.


On the eve of the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, every Jew asks forgiveness of others for any wrongdoing towards them of which he has been guilty.

That is a practice we could usefully adopt, but what do we do in situations where there is no one to ask? That is where I think doing penance, small, simple acts of self-denial and active charity, comes into play.


For all the times we’ve spoken hasty or angry words, we could devote a few minutes listening to others. There are lonely people everywhere. Many of them mask their loneliness with a pretence of self-sufficiency, but I’ve never met anyone, young or old, who doesn’t like talking about themselves and what matters to them. Being a ready listener is an act of charity but it can be penitential, too!

For all the times we’ve been greedy or selfish, we could try to be more generous. Food banks ought not to be necessary in a rich country like Britain, but they are. The next time we shop, we could include an item for them. It doesn’t have to be huge; it doesn’t have to be expensive; just something given with love and in reparation for our sins.

It is the same with all our other sins and shortcomings. There is always something we can do; but if through age or poverty we feel that there is nothing left that we can offer, we can still give the most precious gift of all: the awareness of our need and our trust in God to supply the want.


Preparing for death is not something to leave until our last gasp. It is something to do here and now.
– This article by Sr Catherine Wybourne entitled “Preparing for death every day of our lives” was published in “The Catholic Universe” issue Sunday 3rd November 2013. For subscriptions please visit (external link).


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,