Archive for May, 2008

The Passing of Br. Larry Brown RSJ

May 30, 2008

Dear Family in Christ,
It is with great sadness that I inform you of the passing of Brother Larry Brown, RSJ of St. Sebastian Reformed Catholic Church, Columbus, Ohio.  Brother Larry passed to his Eternal Reward earlier today at 12:20 pm at Ohio State University – East after a long struggle with end-stage renal disease.
Brother Larry is survived by his partner of 27 years, Michael; his mother and father; his brother Rick and sisters Patti and Sue and his daughter, Trisha.
The Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Sebastian Cathedral on Saturday, June 7 at 11:00 am.  All RCC clergy and faithful, who are able, are encouraged and welcomed to attend this mass for our brother, Larry.  Clergy are requested to vest in White stoles and albs.
Messages of sympathy may be sent to Michael and the Brown family care of:
Pater Noster House
4313 Alkire Road
Columbus, OH  43228


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The Feast of The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

May 30, 2008

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About the Feast:

After the angel Gabriel had announced to Mary that she was to become the mother of Our Lord, Mary went from Galilee to Judea to visit her kinswoman Elizabeth, soon to be the mother of John the Baptist. This visit is recorded in Luke 1:39-56. Elizabeth greeted Mary with the words, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” Mary burst forth with the song of praise which we call the Magnificat, beginning, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.” We are told that even John the Baptist, still unborn, leaped for joy in his mother’s womb. Thus we are shown, side by side, the two women, one seemingly too old to have a child, but destined to bear the last prophet of the Old Covenant, of the age that was passing away; and the other woman, seemingly not ready to have a child, but destined to bear the One Who was Himself the beginning of the New Covenant, the age that would not pass away.

Collect of the Day:

Almighty and ever-living God, you inspired Mary, while she was expecting your son, to visit her cousin Elizabeth.
Grant that we may obey the inspiration of the Spirit
and join her in proclaiming your greatness for ever.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.
Amen.

Today’s Readings:

The First Reading: Zephaniah: 3:14-18: The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst.

The Gospel: Luke: 1:39-56: Why should I be honoured with a visit from the Mother of my Lord?

A sermon by St Bede the Venerable
Mary proclaims the greatness of the Lord working in her soul

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my saviour. With these words Mary first acknowledges the special gifts she has been given. Then she recalls God’s universal favours, bestowed unceasingly on the human race.
When a man devotes all his thoughts to the praise and service of the Lord, he proclaims God’s greatness. His observance of God’s commands, moreover, shows that he has God’s power and greatness always at heart. His spirit rejoices in God his saviour and delights in the mere recollection of his creator who gives him hope for eternal salvation.
These words are often for all God’s creations, but especially for the Mother of God. She alone was chosen, and she burned with spiritual love for the son she so joyously conceived. Above all other saints, she alone could truly rejoice in Jesus, her saviour, for she knew that he who was the source of eternal salvation would be born in time in her body, in one person both her own son and her Lord.
For the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. Mary attributes nothing to her own merits. She refers all her greatness to the gift of the one whose essence is power and whose nature is greatness, for he fills with greatness and strength the small and the weak who believe in him.
She did well to add: and holy is his name, to warn those who heard, and indeed all who would receive his words, that they must believe and call upon his name. For they too could share in everlasting holiness and true salvation according to the words of the prophet: and it will come to pass, that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. This is the name she spoke of earlier: and my spirit rejoices in God my saviour.
Therefore it is an excellent and fruitful custom of holy Church that we should sing Mary’s hymn at the time of evening prayer. By meditating upon the incarnation, our devotion is kindled, and by remembering the example of God’s Mother, we are encouraged to lead a life of virtue. Such virtues are best achieved in the evening. We are weary after the day’s work and worn out by our distractions. The time for rest is near, and our minds are ready for contemplation.

Closing Prayer:

Father in heaven, by whose grace the Virgin Mother of your Incarnate Son was blessed in bearing Him, but still more blessed in keeping your word: Grant us who honor the exaltation of her lowliness to follow the example of her devotion to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


The Solemnity of The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

May 30, 2008

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About the Solemnity:

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus goes back at least to the 11th century, but through the 16th century, it remained a private devotion, often tied to devotion to the Five Wounds of Christ. The first feast of the Sacred Heart was celebrated on August 31, 1670, in Rennes, France, through the efforts of Fr. Jean Eudes (1602-1680). From Rennes, the devotion spread, but it took the visions of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690) for the devotion to become universal.

In all of these visions, in which Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary, the Sacred Heart of Jesus played a central role. The “great apparition,” which took place on June 16, 1675, during the octave of the Feast of Corpus Christi, is the source of the modern Feast of the Sacred Heart. In that vision, Christ asked St. Margaret Mary to request that the Feast of the Sacred Heart be celebrated on the Friday after the octave (or eighth day) of the Feast of Corpus Christi, in reparation for the ingratitude of men for the sacrifice that Christ had made for them. The Sacred Heart of Jesus represents not simply His physical heart but His love for all mankind.

The devotion became quite popular after St. Margaret Mary’s death in 1690, but, because the Church initially had doubts about the validity of St. Margaret Mary’s visions, it wasn’t until 1765 that the feast was celebrated officially in France. Almost 100 years later, in 1856, Pope Pius IX, at the request of the French bishops, extended the feast to the universal Church. It is celebrated on the day requested by our Lord—the Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi, or 19 days after Pentecost Sunday.

Collect of the Day:

Almighty God, we glory in the loving heart of your beloved Son.
As we recall the great things his love has done for us,
may we become worthy to receive overflowing grace
from his heart, the source of heaven’s gifts.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.
Amen.

Today’s Readings:

The First Reading: Deuteronomy: 7:6-11: The Lord loves you and has chosen you.

The Second Reading: I John: 4:7-16: God loved us first.

The Gospel: Matthew: 11:25-30: I am gentle and humble of heart.

St Bonaventure: “With you is the source of life”

Take thought now, redeemed man, and consider how great and worthy is he who hangs on the cross for you. His death brings the dead to life, but at his passing heaven and earth are plunged into mourning and hard rocks are split asunder.
It was a divine decree that permitted one of the soldiers to open his sacred side with a lance. This was done so that the Church might be formed from the side of Christ as he slept the sleep of death on the cross, and so that the Scripture might be fulfilled: ‘They shall look on him whom they pierced’. The blood and water which poured out at that moment were the price of our salvation. Flowing from the secret abyss of our Lord’s heart as from a fountain, this stream gave the sacraments of the Church the power to confer the life of grace, while for those already living in Christ it became a spring of living water welling up to life everlasting.
Arise, then, beloved of Christ! Imitate the dove ‘that nests in a hole in the cliff’, keeping watch at the entrance ‘like the sparrow that finds a home’. There like the turtledove hide your little ones, the fruit of your chaste love. Press your lips to the fountain, ‘draw water from the wells of your Saviour; for this is the spring flowing out of the middle of paradise, dividing into four rivers’, inundating devout hearts, watering the whole earth and making it fertile.
Run with eager desire to this source of life and light, all you who are vowed to God’s service. Come, whoever you may be, and cry out to him with all the strength of your heart. “O indescribable beauty of the most high God and purest radiance of eternal light! Life that gives all life, light that is the source of every other light, preserving in everlasting splendour the myriad flames that have shone before the throne of your divinity from the dawn of time! Eternal and inaccessible fountain, clear and sweet stream flowing from a hidden spring, unseen by mortal eye! None can fathom your depths nor survey your boundaries, none can measure your breadth, nothing can sully your purity. From you flows ‘the river which gladdens the city of God’ and makes us cry out with joy and thanksgiving in hymns of praise to you, for we know by our own experience that ‘with you is the source of life, and in your light we see light’.

Act of Love to the Sacred Heart:

Reveal Thy Sacred Heart to me, O Jesus, and show me Its attractions. Unite me to It for ever. Grant that all my aspirations and all the beats of my heart, which cease not even while I sleep, may be a testimonial to Thee of my love for Thee and may say to Thee: Yes, Lord, I am all Thine; the pledge of my allegiance to Thee rests ever in my heart and will never cease to be there. Do Thou accept the slight amount of good that I do and be graciously pleased to repair all my wrongdoing; so that I may be able to bless Thee in time and in eternity. Amen.

Daily Reflection May 29 2008: Thursday Week 8 of the Year.

May 29, 2008

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Collect of the Day:

Lord, give us true knowledge of our salvation,
so that freed from the hands of our enemies
we may serve you without fear all the days of our lives.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.
Amen.

Today’s Readings:

The First Reading: I Peter: 2:2-5. 9-12: You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, sing the praises of God who called you out of darkness.

The Gospel: Mark: 10:46-52: Master let me see.

Bartimaeus was blind and a beggar, this would have been two strikes against him in the society in which he lived. He would have been considered a fringe dweller, one on the very edge of society one hardly worth noting, unless you had a little pity for the man and dropped him a shekel or two, being grateful that you were not in his position. A little like the saying we have in Western Society for those whose lot is less fortunate than our own:

“But there for the grace of God, go I.”

Some would have regarded Bartimaeus’s situation as partly being of his own doing or fault. Perhaps he was very sinful or his parents were, and he was reaping what he or they had sown. This is sort of a Hebraic form of the Eastern view of Karma, we can see this philosophy in John 9:2, when the Disciples asked Jesus:

“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

Bartimaeus would have only been all too familiar with this kind of thinking, and after years perhaps, of being subjected to it believed that somehow he was a defective human being. We all know that being constantly told that you are a sinner, or unworthy, a joke just because you do not conform to the “Ideal” or “Stereotypic” vision of what is presented as being the so called “Normal” standard of society can have a detrimental effect on ones self worth and self esteem.

But Bartimaeus would not be silenced once he heard that Jesus was approaching, he cried with all his might despite the protests of those who scolded him beseeching Jesus:

“Son of David, Jesus have pity on me.”

And Jesus heard him stopped and listened to his plea. Not regarding Bartimeaus as being unworthy of His time granted him, his request and healed him saying:

“Go; your faith has saved you.”

Just imagine if Bartimeaus had of kept his silence like those around him had of wanted, those who perhaps thought they were more worthy to be in the presence of Jesus. He would have missed his chance of healing, both of his bodily ailments and his psychological and spiritual maladies as well. This is such a timely message for us all. Never, ever let anyone make you feel that you are unworthy of the Love, Forgiveness and Divine Mercy of Our Blessed Lord, because it just is not true.

No matter where you are or what you have done God is there waiting for you. No matter how low you feel, God will hear you if you turn to Him in Faith and cry with all your might:

“Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.”

Saint Peter today tells us that Jesus Himself was the ‘Connerstone that was rejected.’ So Jesus understands rejection. He also tells us that, ‘God has called us out of the darkness into His wonderful light’, that ‘Once we were not a people at all but are now are the People of God.’ So let us raise our voices with the courage of Bartimaeus and the other People of God, and let our voices be heard form the edge, so that we cannot, and will not be ignored any more.

IHS

Msgr. Ian+

Daily Reflection May 28 2008: Wednesday Week 8 of the Year

May 28, 2008

Collect of the Day:

Lord, remember the new covenant, which has been sealed with the blood of the Lamb.
May your people receive forgiveness for their sins
and move ever forward towards redemption.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.
Amen.

Today’s Readings:

The First Reading: I Peter: 1:18-25:You have been ransomed in the precious Blood of Christ, a spotless lamb.

The Gospel: Mark: 10:32-45: Now we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over.

In today’s Gospel Jesus tells us:

“Anyone who wants to be first among you must be slave to all. For the Son of Man Himself did not come to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

In Church communities as anywhere else in life we can often find ourselves or others seeking the limelight or special attention for our efforts. This is only natural, and to some extent healthy for our own sense of self worth. It can become a problem when it becomes obsessive, jealous, envious or the sole focus of our service. Jesus, as we have just read told us that to be first we must become the servant of all, and likewise He often said ‘The first will be last’ and ‘The last will be first’ and He told the religious self righteous of His day that ‘The Sinners and Prostitutes’ would enter the Kingdom before them.

These sayings I feel should be heeded by those who consider themselves the religious elite of the day as well, especially by the Churches Clergy who hold such titles a Reverend, Very Reverend, Most Reverend etc. Never forgetting to hold before their eyes the very model of leadership the Christ Himself instituted while here on earth; that is to say SERVANT LEADERSHIP!!!!

Saint Paul tells us that ‘Christ did not not count equality with God as something to be grasped.’ That ‘ He humbled Himself and was obedient even to death.’ ‘Death on the Cross.’ This self emptying of Jesus, the Christ, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, is in theological terms known as Kenosis. In simple terms while on earth He gave up His Divine Rights and endured life as we experience it, with all its sorrows, hardships and temptations. He hungered, felt weary, was betrayed and denied, felt sorrow and even righteous anger.

Out of all the major religions, Christianity is the only one in which where God is not the total other, we do not have to raise ourselves up to a God who has not experienced what we experience, but our God came and ‘Dwelt among us’ as one of us. Jesus came to be the servant of all, and to give His life as a ransom for those born before the Incarnation and those after and those yet to be born.

As we are told daily at Holy Mass: ‘This is the cup of My Blood, the Blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for ALL so that sins may be forgiven.’ (my emphasis).

St. Peter today also reminds us of this ransom: ‘You have been ransomed in the precious Blood of Christ, a spotless lamb.’ So when we are plagued by ego or our own sense of self achievement, I ask you all to remember the price and the Kenosis that our Blessed Lord went through to win us the free gift of eternal salvation. So that we may be prepared to humble ourselves, taking up our own crosses and daily dying to our selfish desires.

IHS

Msgr. Ian+

A PRAYER IN HONOUR OF THE FIVE WOUNDS OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST:
O God, Come unto my assistance. R. O Lord, make haste to help me.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost; R. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.
Amen.
My dearest Lord Jesus Crucified, bending low before Thee, with Mary most holy and with all the Angels and Saints in paradise, I adore the most holy Wound in Thy right Hand. I give Thee thanks for the infinite love, wherewith Thou didst will to suffer so many bitter pains because of my sins which I detest with all my heart; I implore Thee to grant graciously to Thy holy Church victory over all her enemies, and to all her children grace to walk in holiness in the way of Thy commandments.
Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be…
My dearest Lord Jesus Crucified, bending low before Thee, with Mary most holy and with all the Angels and Saints in paradise, I adore the sacred Wound in Thy left Hand, and I beseech Thee for grace for all poor sinners, for the dying, and especially for those who will not be reconciled to Thee.
Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be…
My dearest Lord Jesus Crucified, bending low before Thee, with Mary most holy and with all the Angels and Saints in paradise, I adore the sacred Wound in Thy right Foot, and I beg of Thee this grace, that countless flowers of holiness may blossom among the clergy and all those who are consecrated to Thee.
Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be…
My dearest Lord Jesus Crucified, bending low before Thee, with Mary most holy and with all the Angels and Saints in paradise, I adore the sacred Wound in Thy left Foot, and implore Thee to deliver the holy souls in purgatory, and especially those who in life were most devout toward Thy sacred Wounds.
Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be…
My dearest Lord Jesus Crucified, bending low before Thee, with Mary most holy and with all the Angels and Saints in paradise, I adore the sacred Wound in Thy most holy Side, and I pray Thee to bless and graciously hear all those who have recommended themselves to my prayers.
Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be…
V. O Virgin most sorrowful, R. Pray for us (to be repeated three times).
My Crucified Jesus, confirm these prayers by the merits of Thy Passion; give me holiness of life, the grace to receive Thy holy Sacraments at the hour of my death, and glory everlasting.
Amen.

Daily Reflection May 27 2008: Saint Augustine of Canterbury

May 27, 2008

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Collect of the Day:

O God, Who by the preaching and miracles of blessed Augustine, Your Confessor and Bishop, did vouchsafe to shed upon the English people the light of the true faith; grant that, through his intercession, the hearts of those that have gone astray may return to the unity of Your truth, and that we may be of one mind in doing Your will. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one world without end. Amen.

About the Saint:

Saint Augustine of Canterbury also known as Saint Augustine the Less to distinguish him from his illustrious namesake from Hippo. Augustine was chosen by Pope Gregory the Great as leader of the mission sent from Rome for the evangelization of the English. He landed in the Isle of Thanet in the Spring of AD 597 and, within a year, Aethelbert, King of Kent, was baptised with several thousand of his subjects.

The foundation of Canterbury Cathedral was laid five years later, supposedly, on the site of an old Roman Church. Augustine was consecrated by Vergilius, Archbishop of Arles and became the first Archbishop of Canterbury.

The alienation between the British Church and the Italian missionaries might have been averted had Augustine recognised the consideration that was due to the Church which had existed in Britain for three centuries, and had been more tolerant of the diversity between British and Roman usage.

He had laid the foundation stone of the Monastery of St. Peter & St. Paul outside Canterbury, later known as St. Augustine’s, in the year of his arrival and here he was buried. He died on 26th May, traditionally in AD 604, but possibly as late as 609.

Today’s Readings:

The First Reading: I Thessalonians: 2:2-8: We were eager to hand over to you not only the Good News but our whole lives as well.

The Gospel: Matthew: 9:35-37: The harvest is rich but the labourers are few.

In today’s Gospel we are told:

“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. “(Matt 9:35-37).

We are shown here that Jesus had compassion for the people he saw as He went about from village to village, for the people that He met through His normal daily living as well as His ministry. He likened them to sheep without a shepherd, a helpless and harassed people. He then went on to say the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.

Today I still see a multitude of people that are shepherdless, harassed and helpless. Why is this so? There are many who profess to be Christian. So then again why are the workers so few? I believe it is time to put our money where our mouths are so to speak if we believe, St. James tells us that our Faith should be evident through our works. St. Peter tells us that we should always be ready to give cause for the joy that is within us, but are we? Or do we always leave it to someone else?

I have written numerous times on this site that Christianity is not a solo affair rather corporate. As St. Augustine of Hippo tells us, I do not want to be saved without YOU!!! (my emphasis). Last week I saw some actions of “Christians” that I through my secular job come into contact with, stunned me to the bone. They were spreading malicious gossip, and wishing violence on some co workers. They belong to a Mega-Church that preaches the once saved always saved doctrine, so perhaps they do not think it matters what you do after you have said the Sinners Prayer.

I do not judge or condemn these folk, rather pray for their conversion, although it opened my eyes to the fact as Christians we represent Christ, and our actions reflect on Him. Remember as Our Blessed Lord told us:

“Not everyone who keeps saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will get into the kingdom of heaven, but only the person who keeps doing the will of my Father in heaven.” (Matt 7:21).

So in which camp do you want to be, the SHEEP or the GOATS? Because as Christ said you cannot serve two masters; the world and the kingdom. We as Christians must face the fact that some of our own actions like those mentioned above maybe have kept people in the dark, or have made people label all Christians as hypocrites. So it is time to let our lives shine forth and match our words, and shine forth as a beacon of peace to those whom we meet who are hapless and harassed, so one day we might hear these most comforting words:

“Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Msgr. Ian+

Daily Reflection May 26: St. Philip Neri

May 26, 2008

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Collect of the Day:

Father, you continually raise up your faithful to the glory of holiness. In your love kindle in us the fire of the Holy Spirit who so filled the heart of Philip Neri. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

About the Saint:

Saint Philip Neri was a sign of contradiction, combining popularity with piety against the background of a corrupt Rome and a disinterested clergy, the whole post-Renaissance malaise.

At an early age, he abandoned the chance to become a businessman, moved to Rome from Florence and devoted his life and individuality to God. After three years of philosophy and theology studies, he gave up any thought of ordination. The next 13 years were spent in a vocation unusual at the time—that of a layperson actively engaged in prayer and the apostolate.

As the Council of Trent was reforming the Church on a doctrinal level, Saint Philip’s appealing personality was winning him friends from all levels of society, from beggars to cardinals. He rapidly gathered around himself a group of laypersons won over by his audacious spirituality. Initially they met as an informal prayer and discussion group, and also served poor people in Rome.

At the urging of his confessor, he was ordained priest and soon became an outstanding confessor, gifted with the knack of piercing the pretenses and illusions of others, though always in a charitable manner and often with a joke. He arranged talks, discussions and prayers for his penitents in a room above the church. He sometimes led “excursions” to other churches, often with music and a picnic on the way.

Some of his followers became priests and lived together in community. This was the beginning of the Oratory, the religious institute he founded. A feature of their life was a daily afternoon service of four informal talks, with vernacular hymns and prayers. Giovanni Palestrina was one of Saint Philip’s followers, and composed music for the services.

The Oratory was finally approved after suffering through a period of accusations of being an assembly of heretics, where laypersons preached and sang vernacular hymns! (Cardinal Newman founded the first English-speaking house of the Oratory.)

Saint Philip’s advice was sought by many of the prominent figures of his day. He is one of the influential figures of the Counter-Reformation, mainly for converting to personal holiness many of the influential people within the Church itself.

Saint Philip possessed a playful humour, combined with a shrewd wit. He considered a cheerful temper to be more Christian than a melancholy one, and carried this spirit into his whole life:

“A joyful heart is more easily made perfect than a downcast one.”

This was the secret of his popularity and of his place in the folklore of the Roman poor. Many miracles were attributed to him, and it is said that when his body was dissected it was found that two of his ribs had been broken, an event attributed to the expansion of his heart while fervently praying in the catacombs about the year 1545. This phenomenon is in the same category as the stigmata of St Francis of Assisi. Neri was beatified by Paul V in 1600, and canonized by Gregory XV in 1622.

“Practical commonplaceness,” says Frederick William Faber in his panegyric of Neri, “was the special mark which distinguishes his form of ascetic piety from the types accredited before his day. He looked like other men … he was emphatically a modern gentleman, of scrupulous courtesy, sportive gaiety, acquainted with what was going on in the world, taking a real interest in it, giving and getting information, very neatly dressed, with a shrewd common sense always alive about him, in a modern room with modern furniture, plain, it is true, but with no marks of poverty about it–In a word, with all the ease, the gracefulness, the polish of a modern gentleman of good birth, considerable accomplishments, and a very various information.” Accordingly, he was ready to meet the needs of his day to an extent and in a manner which even the versatile Jesuits, who much desired to enlist him in their company, did not rival; and, though an Italian priest and head of a new religious order, his genius was entirely unmonastic and unmedieval, frequent and popular preaching, unconventional prayer, and unsystematized, albeit fervent, private devotion.

Neri was not a reformer, except in the sense that in the active discharge of pastoral work he laboured to reform individuals. He had no difficulties in respect of the teaching and practice of his church, being in truth an ardent Ultramontane in doctrine, as was all but inevitable in his time and circumstances, and his great merit was the instinctive tact which showed him that the system of monasticism could never be the leaven of secular life, but that something more homely, simple, and everyday in character was needed for the new time.

Reflection:

We often worry more about what others think that about what God thinks. Our fear of people laughing us often stops us from trying new things or serving God. Do something today that you are afraid might make you look a little ridiculous. Then reflect on how it makes you feel. Pray about your experience with God.
Prayer:

A Prayer to Saint Philip Neri:

Saint Philip Neri, we take ourselves far too seriously most of the time. Help us to add humor to our perspective — remembering always that humor is a gift from God. Amen

Daily Reflection Sunday May 25 2008: Bread and Forgiveness

May 25, 2008

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The Lord’s Prayer:

OUR FATHER, Who art in heaven hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Dear Friends, sorry for the lack of posts this week, but I have been ill, from today it is back to daily reflections. Msgr. Ian+

Today is the day when most people will be celebrating the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which I wrote about on Thursday. So I thought it would be appropriate to post today a piece on the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.

Below you will find an excerpt of a treatise by St. Cyprian on the Lord’s Prayer (Nn. 18, 22; CSEL. 3, 280-281; 283-284) and is used in the  Office of Readings for Thurs. of the 11th week in Ordinary Time, it co-relates the unity of this prayer and the Eucharist.   Cyprian was a pagan public speaker and teacher from Carthage in North Africa who converted to Christianity.  He grew so rapidly in holiness and knowledge of the Scriptures that he was appointed bishop of Carthage only two years later.  These were years of terrible persecution, and after ten years of teaching, writing, and caring for his besieged flock, this Early Church Father was apprehended by the Roman authorities and martyred.

Bread and Forgiveness:

As the prayer continues, we ask Give us this day our daily bread. This can be understood both spiritually and literally, because either way of understanding is rich in divine usefulness to our salvation. For Christ is the bread of life, and this bread does not belong to anyone at all, but to us. And so, just as we say Our Father, because he is the father of those who understand and believe, so also we call it our bread, because Christ is the bread of us who come into contact with his body.

We ask that this bread should be given to us daily, that we who are in Christ and daily receive the Eucharist as the food of salvation may not be prevented, by the interposition of some heinous sin, from partaking of the heavenly bread and be separated from Christ’s body, for as he says: I am the bread of life which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of my bread, he will live for ever; and the bread I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world.

So when he says that whoever eats of his bread will live for ever; and as it is clear that those are indeed living who partake of his body and, having the right of communion, receive the Eucharist, so, on the other hand, we must fear and pray lest anyone should be kept at a distance from salvation who, being withheld from communion, remains separate from Christ’s body. For he has given us this warning: Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you will have no life in you. And therefore we ask that our bread – that is, Christ – may be given to us daily, so that we who live in Christ may not depart from his sanctification and his body.

After this we entreat for our sins, saying Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. After the supply of food, pardon of sin is also asked for.

How necessary, how provident, how salutary are we reminded that we are sinners, since we have to beg for forgiveness, and while we ask for God’s pardon, we are reminded of our own consciousness of guilt! Just in case anyone should think himself innocent and, by thus exalting himself, should more utterly perish, he is taught and instructed that he sins every day, since he is commanded to pray daily for forgiveness.

This is what John warns us in his epistle: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us; but if we confess our sins, the Lord is faithful and just and will forgive us. In his epistle he combines two things, both that we ought to beg for mercy because of our sins and that we will receive forgiveness when we ask for it. This is why he says that the Lord is faithful to forgive sins, keeping faith with what he promised; because he who taught us to pray for our debts and sins has promised that his fatherly mercy and pardon will follow.

Canticle of the Blood
By Saint Maria de Mattias

Come, let us adore Christ, the Son of God,
who has redeemed us with his blood.

Clap your hands, all you peoples,
sing unto God with a voice of jubilation.

For you, God, glorious and mighty,
have shown us mercy.

You have not spared your only Son
but delivered him up in our behalf.

That you might redeem us from
our sins in Christ’s own blood;

That justified in the blood of Jesus
you might turn your anger from us;

That we who were separated might
be reconciled through the blood of Christ.

O God, my God, what can I render
to you for all the good you have bestowed upon me?

I will take the chalice of salvation,
and I will call upon the power of Christ’s blood.

Sing to Jesus, all you saints, and
make known the memory of his holiness.

For Christ indeed has loved us and
washed us in his blood and has
become our helper and redeemer.

May Christ be blessed forever who
has wrought such wonders in us.

Blessed be Jesus for all ages, and
may the heavens and the earth
be filled with the praises of his love.

Come, let us adore Christ, the Son
of God, who has redeemed us with his blood. Amen.

The Solemnity of Corpus Christi (The Body and Blood of Christ)

May 22, 2008

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About the Solemnity:

Corpus Christi

The Solemnity of Corpus Christi commemorates the institution of the Holy Eucharist, paralleling Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday) commemorating Our Lord’s institution of the Eucharist. Corpus Christ was introduced in the late 13th century to encourage the faithful give special honor to the institution of the Holy Eucharist to the Blessed Sacrament. The official title of this Solemnity was changed in 1970 to The Body and Blood of Christ (Latin: Sollemnitas Sanctissimi Corporis et Sanguinis Christi); and it is still on the Roman Missal’s official Calendar for the universal Church on Thursday after Trinity Sunday; however, where it is not a day of obligation (as in the United States) it is usually celebrated on the Sunday following Trinity Sunday.

Corpus Christi became a mandatory feast in the Roman Church in 1312. But nearly a century earlier, Saint Juliana of Mont Cornillon, promoted a feast to honor the Blessed Sacrament. From early age Juliana, who became an Augustinian nun in Liége, France, in 1206, had a great veneration for the Blessed Sacrament, and longed for a special feast in its honor. She had a vision of the Church under the appearance of the full moon having one dark spot, which signified the absence of such a solemnity. She made known her ideas to the Bishop of Liége, Robert de Thorete, to the Dominican Hugh who later became cardinal legate in the Netherlands, and to Jacques Panaléon, at the time Archdeacon of Liége and who later became Pope Urban IV. Bishop Robert de Thorete ordered that the feast be celebrated in his diocese.

Pope Urban IV later published the Bull Transiturus (September 8, 1264), in which, after having extolled the love of Our Savior as expressed in the Holy Eucharist, ordered the annual celebration of Corpus Christi on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. More than four decades later, Pope Clement V published a new decree which embodied Urban IV’s decree and ordered the adoption of the feast at the General Council of Vienna (1311). Pope John XXII, successor of Clement V, urged this observance.

The processions on Corpus Christi to honor the Holy Eucharist were not mentioned in the decrees, but had become a principal feature of the feast’s celebration by the faithful, and became a tradition throughout Europe. These processions were endowed with indulgences by Popes Martin V and Eugene IV.

Collect of the Day:

O God, you have given us a wonderful sacrament as an abiding memorial of your passion.
Grant, we pray you, that we may celebrate the sacred mysteries of your body and blood
in such a way that we constantly feel within us the effects of your redemption.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.
Amen.

Today’s Readings:

The First Reading: Deuteronomy: 8:2-3. 14-16: He gave you food which your fathers did not know.

The Second Reading: I Corinthians: 10:16-17: Though we are many, we form a single body because we share this one loaf.

The Gospel: John: 6:51-58: My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.

St Thomas Aquinas
O precious and wonderful banquet!

Since it was the will of God’s only-begotten Son that men should share in his divinity, he assumed our nature in order that by becoming man he might make men gods. Moreover, when he took our flesh he dedicated the whole of its substance to our salvation. He offered his body to God the Father on the altar of the cross as a sacrifice for our reconciliation. He shed his blood for our ransom and purification, so that we might be redeemed from our wretched state of bondage and cleansed from all sin. But to ensure that the memory of so great a gift would abide with us for ever, he left his body as food and his blood as drink for the faithful to consume in the form of bread and wine.
O precious and wonderful banquet, that brings us salvation and contains all sweetness! Could anything be of more intrinsic value? Under the old law it was the flesh of calves and goats that was offered, but here Christ himself, the true God, is set before us as our food. What could be more wonderful than this? No other sacrament has greater healing power; through it sins are purged away, virtues are increased, and the soul is enriched with an abundance of every spiritual gift. It is offered in the Church for the living and the dead, so that what was instituted for the salvation of all may be for the benefit of all. Yet, in the end, no one can fully express the sweetness of this sacrament, in which spiritual delight is tasted at its very source, and in which we renew the memory of that surpassing love for us which Christ revealed in his passion.
It was to impress the vastness of this love more firmly upon the hearts of the faithful that our Lord instituted this sacrament at the Last Supper. As he was on the point of leaving the world to go to the Father, after celebrating the Passover with his disciples, he left it as a perpetual memorial of his passion. It was the fulfilment of ancient figures and the greatest of all his miracles, while for those who were to experience the sorrow of his departure, it was destined to be a unique and abiding consolation.

The Litany of the Blessed Sacrament:

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of heaven, (respond: Have mercy on us.)
God the Holy Spirit,
Holy Trinity, one God,
Living Bread, that came down from heaven,
Hidden God and Savior,
Corn of the elect,
Wine whose fruit are virgins,
Bread of fatness, and royal delicacies,
Perpetual Sacrifice,
Clean oblation,
Lamb without spot,
Most pure Feast,
Food of Angels,
Hidden Manna,
Memorial of the wonders of God,
Supersubstantial Bread,
Word made flesh,
Sacred Host,
Mystery of faith,
Most high and adorable Sacrament,
Most holy of all sacrifices,
True Propitiation for the living and the dead,
Heavenly Antidote against the poison of sin,
Most wonderful of all miracles,
Most holy commemoration of the passion of Christ,
Gift transcending all fullness,
Special memorial of divine love,
Affluence of divine bounty,
Most august and holy mystery,
Medicine of immortality,
Tremendous and life-giving sacrament,
Bread made flesh by the omnipotence of the word,
Unbloody sacrifice,
Our feast at once and our fellow-guest,
Sweetest banquet, at which angels minister,
Sacrament of piety,
Bond of charity,
Priest and victim,
spiritual sweetness tasted in its proper source,
Refreshment of holy souls,
Viaticum of those who die in the Lord,
Pledge of future glory,

Be merciful, spare us, O Lord.
Be merciful, graciously hear us, O Lord.

(response for below: O Lord, deliver us.)
From an unworthy reception of your body and blood,
From the lust of the flesh,
From the lust of the eyes,
From the pride of life,
From every occassion of sin,
Through the desire by which you desired to eat this passover with your disciples,
Through the profound humility by which you washed their feet,
Through that ardent charity by which you instituted this divine sacrament,
Through your precious blood which you have left us on our altars,
Through the five wounds of this your most holy body which you received for us,

We sinners, (respond: We beesech you, hear us.)
That you would preserve and increase our faith, reverence, and devotion
toward this sacrament,
That you would conduct us, through a true confession of our sins, to a
frequent reception of the holy Eucharist,
That you would deliver us from all heresy, evil, and blindness of heart,
That you would impart to us the precious and heavenly fruits of this most
holy sacrament,
That at the hour of death you would strengthen and defend us by this
heavenly Viaticum,

Son of God, Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, spare us,
O Lord.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O
Lord.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us, O
Lord.

Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

V. You gave them bread from heaven,
R. Containing in itself all sweetness.

Let us pray.
O God, in this wonderful sacrament you left us a memorial of your passion. Grant us so to venerate the sacred mysteries of your body and blood that we may ever continue to feel within us the blessed fruit of your redemption. You live and reign forever and ever. Amen.

Daily Reflection May 21 2008: Wednesday Week Seven of the Year

May 21, 2008

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Collect of the Day:

Lord, in your kindness fill our deepest being with your holy light,
so that we may be steadfast in our devotion to you:
for your wisdom created us and your providence guides us.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.
Amen.

Today’s Readings:

The First Reading: James: 4:13-17: What about your life? You should say: If the Lord’s will.

The Gospel: Mark: 9:38-41: Anyone who is not against us if for us.

In todays Gospel we read:

“Teacher,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”

“Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.”

Now this really struck a cord with me. Being part of an emerging Denomination, a rapidly growing, but in the greater scheme of things still a reasonably small group committed to spreading the Good News of Jesus and to social justice, we sometimes find ourselves under attack from older and larger groups who sometimes seem to feel threatened by our very existence. On our web page we describe ourselves as being:

“A Diverse People, United in our Faith and Liberated by the Gospel!

The Reformed Catholic Church endeavors to provide a place where all people can come to worship God, pray, receive the Sacraments, and be fed with the Word. Of particular concern to us is the offering of valid sacraments to those who have been disenfranchised by the exclusionary practices of other churches and other Christians seeking forms of worship and beliefs founded in the traditions and beliefs of the early church.”

I often wonder how anybody truly committed to Christ and His Divine Mercy could harbor mistrust about another Christian Group that describes itself thusly. IT SHOULD BE THE AIM OF ALL WHO CALL THEMSELVES CHRISTIAN TO TAKE THE GOSPEL TO THOSE WHO FEEL DISENFRANCHISED!!! After all when Jesus Himself was accused of ‘Eating with Outcasts and Sinners’ He explained that ‘It is not the healthy that need a doctor, rather the ill’.

This is not to say that all those disenfranchised by mainstream society are ill or sinners, often it is quite the contrary, but they are often made to feel that way by people who would act as their judges rather than their shepherds, friends or guides. When I think of people who represent Our Blessed Lord but hide behind an empty piety and words, to make them feel superior to those who they judge. I am reminded of Dostoevsky’s ‘The Brothers Karamazov’.

The character Ivan, the idealistic revolutionary, tells a story which he calls The Grand Inquisitor. The setting is late sixteenth century Seville. In the title role stands a venerable Cardinal, iron sentinel of an iron Church; inflexible guardian of received tradition. The old man unexpectedly finds himself confronted with a new prisoner in his dungeon: a troublesome, itinerant peddler of heresies. It is Christ Himself.

The two men, one the representative of the Church, the other its Founder, confront each other in the torture chamber, littered with terrifying machines. Jesus as at His former trial, remains accusingly mute. It is the Inquisitor who does the talking. Carefully explaining to his unwelcome intruder why for the good of the people it is necessary to have Him executed. Now this is just a piece of fiction, or in it do we find disguised just a kernel of truth? As Einstein told us:

“Whoever undertakes to set himself up as judge in the field of truth and knowledge is ship wrecked by the laughter of the gods.”

IHS

Msgr. Ian+

Closing Prayer:

Most gracious Father, we pray for Your Holy Catholic Church: fill it with all truth and in truth with all peace; where it is corrupt, purge it; where it is in error, direct it; where anything is amiss, reform it; where it is right, strengthen and confirm it; where it is in want, furnish it; where it is divided, heal it and unite it in your love; through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.