Archive for August, 2008

Daily Reflection: 27 August 2008 Feast of Saint Monica

August 27, 2008

Collect of the Day:

Listen to our prayers, God our salvation: make us hold fast to the light and work for the truth.
 Just as you have made us children of light,
 so make us worthy to bear witness to you before all the world.

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.

A Reading from The Confessions of Saint Augustine:

Let us gain eternal wisdom
Because the day when she was to leave this life was drawing near – a day known to you, though we were ignorant of it – she and I happened to be alone, through (as I believe) the mysterious workings of your will. We stood leaning against a window which looked out on a garden within the house where we were staying, at Ostia on the Tiber; for there, far from the crowds, we were recruiting our strength after the long journey, in order to prepare ourselves for our voyage overseas. We were alone, conferring very intimately. Forgetting what lay in the past, and stretching out to what was ahead, we enquired between ourselves, in the light of present truth, into what you are and what the eternal life of the saints would be like, for Eye has not seen nor ear heard nor human heart conceived it. And yet, with the mouth of our hearts wide open we panted thirstily for the celestial streams of your fountain, the fount of life which is with you.
This was the substance of our talk, though not the exact words. Yet you know, O Lord, how on that very day, amid this talk of ours that seemed to make the world with all its charms grow cheap, she said, “For my part, my son, I no longer find pleasure in anything that this life holds. What I am doing here still, or why I am still here, I do not know, for worldly hope has withered away for me. One thing only there was for which I desired to linger in this life: to see you a Catholic Christian before I died. And my God has granted this to me more lavishly than I could have hoped, letting me see even you spurning earthly happiness to be his servant. What am I still doing here?”
What I replied I cannot clearly remember, because just about that time – five days later, or not much more – she took to her bed with fever. One day during her illness she lapsed into unconsciousness and for a short time was unaware of her surroundings. We all came running, but she quickly returned to her senses, and, gazing at me and my brother as we stood there, she asked in puzzlement, “Where was I?”
We were bewildered with grief, but she looked keenly at us and said, “You are to bury your mother here”. I was silent, holding back my tears, but my brother said something about his hope that she would not die far from home but in her own country, for that would be a happier way. On hearing this she looked anxious and her eyes rebuked him for thinking so; then she turned her gaze from him to me and said, “What silly talk!” Shortly afterwards, addressing us both, she said, “Lay this body anywhere, and take no trouble over it. One thing only do I ask of you, that you remember me at the altar of the Lord wherever you may be”. Having made her meaning clear to us with such words as she could muster, she fell silent, and the pain of the disease grew worse.

The First Reading: 2 Thessalonians 3:6 – 18

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we urge you, brothers, to keep away from any of the brothers who refuses to work or to live according to the tradition we passed on to you.
You know how you are supposed to imitate us: now we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we ever have our meals at anyone’s table without paying for them; no, we worked night and day, slaving and straining, so as not to be a burden on any of you. This was not because we had no right to be, but in order to make ourselves an example for you to follow.
We gave you a rule when we were with you: do not let anyone have any food if he refuses to do any work. May the Lord of peace himself give you peace all the time and in every way. The Lord be with you all.
From me, PAUL, these greetings in my own handwriting, which is the mark of genuineness in every letter; this is my own writing. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

The Gospel: Matthew 23:27 – 32

Jesus said, ‘Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You who are like whitewashed tombs that look handsome on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of corruption. In the same way you appear to people from the outside like good honest men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
‘Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You who build the sepulchres of the prophets and decorate the tombs of holy men, saying, “We would never have joined in shedding the blood of the prophets, had we lived in our fathers’ day.” So! Your own evidence tells against you! You are the sons of those who murdered the prophets! Very well then, finish off the work that your fathers began.’

 

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Daily Reflection 26 August 2008: Tuesday of week 21 of the year

August 26, 2008

Our Mother of Perpetual Help. Reproductions are sometimes displayed in homes or elsewhere. Catholics pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary to intercede on behalf of them to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Collect of the Day:

Lord, look with favour on our morning prayers.
 Brighten the inmost places of our hearts with your love so that no dark desires can hide there:
 heal us with the light of your heavenly grace.

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.

Todays Readings:

First Reading: 2 Thessalonians 2:1 – 17

To turn now, brothers, to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we shall all be gathered round him: please do not get excited too soon or alarmed by any prediction or rumour or any letter claiming to come from us, implying that the Day of the Lord has already arrived. Never let anyone deceive you in this way.
It cannot happen until the Great Revolt has taken place and the Rebel, the Lost One, has appeared. Through the Good News that we brought he called you to this so that you should share the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Stand firm, then, brothers, and keep the traditions that we taught you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. May our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father who has given us his love and, through his grace, such inexhaustible comfort and such sure hope, comfort you and strengthen you in everything good that you do or say.

The Gospel: Matthew 23:23 – 26

Jesus said, ‘Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You who pay your tithe of mint and dill and cumin and have neglected the weightier matters of the Law – justice, mercy, good faith! These you should have practised, without neglecting the others. You blind guides! Straining out gnats and swallowing camels!
‘Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You who clean the outside of cup and dish and leave the inside full of extortion and intemperance. Blind Pharisee! Clean the inside of cup and dish first so that the outside may become clean as well.’

Daily Reflection:

In todays Gospel we see that Jesus chides the Scribes and the Pharisees for putting ritual first, before the practice of justice, mercy and good faith. Sometimes we can get so caught up in the rules and regulations in regards to ritual that it moves us away from the first principle of our faith which is: ‘To love God with all our hearts and to love our neighbour as ourselves.’

A case in point is in my home town there is a Church that belongs to one of the larger Christian Denominations it reaches up to 700 people a week, is big on Social Justice, welcomes all to their Eucharist without question, and is lead by a Priest who is a true Pastor to his people. You would think this would be a good thing, but because this Parish is a little free when interpreting the “Ritual” it is threatened with closure.

Who do you think are the “Blind Guides” here, the Priest who gives all to ensure Justice and Mercy to all who enter his gates or the dogmatic bureaucrats who run the Diocese? Again food for thought.

Monsignor Ian Adrian+

   

What is an Inclusive Church?

August 23, 2008

The title of today’s reflection is a subject that I have spent quite alot of time reflecting on over the past few years. Many times I have even wondered if it is possible to have an entirley Inclusive Church at all. Many groups start out with the best of intentions but end up becoming single issue groups that are in fact just as exclusive to anyone who does not see things the way they do, as the so called repressive Denominations that they wished to be free from.

So if this is the case what would constitute a really inclusive Church? It would be a Church that accepts all, a Church that allows questioning, a Church open to discussion with those who think differently from them but not seeking to convert them but rather to lead each side to a better understanding of the other. It would be a Church where the progressive and the traditionalist would be equally welcome among the membership. But most importantly it would be a Church that lived the ‘Great Commission’ regardless of what others may think or say of it, knowing that the only true way to judge a Churches validity is to go by the guidelines that Christ Himself left us: “By their fruit you shall know them”.

Is there a Church that lives up to these ideals? I believe so and I have found it in the Reformed Catholic Church, a place where all are truly welcome. We are not a perfect community by any means but we do seek to share God’s love with all whose paths we cross. In recent times parts of our Church have come under attack from other larger Churches. While hurtful, we must remember and glean strength from the fact that most only attack what they are afraid of, or that which they do not understand. So in a matter of fact if they are afraid it is because they realise our validity and if it is because they do not understand us, it is our job to educate.

So being truly inclusive is no easy job, but it is what the RCC is called to bear witness to in this world of fear and confusion. To meet anger with gentleness, hate with love, to greet those who think differently to us with acceptance. If we truly embrace this as our vocation with God’s grace who can ask anymore from us.

Monsignor Ian Adrian RSJ

Dail Reflection 22 August 2008: The Queenship of Mary

August 22, 2008

An image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Collect of the Day:

Father, you have given us the mother of your Son to be our Queen and mother. With the support of her prayers may we come to share the glory of your children in the Kingdom of Heaven.

We make our prayer through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit ever one God, world without end. Amen.

About the Feast:

Queen of Heaven is a title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary by Christians, mainly Catholics and Orthodox, and High Church Anglicans to whom the title is a consequence of the Council of Ephesus, where the Virgin Mary was proclaimed Theotokos meaning Mother of God or God-bearer. Catholic dogma states that Mary is in heaven, the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory. The title Queen of Heaven has been a Catholic tradition, included in prayers and devotional literature, and seen in Western art in the subject of the Coronation of the Virgin, from the High Middle Ages, long before it was given formal status by the Church. It was included by Pope Pius XII in his encyclical about the Queen of Heaven, Ad Caeli Reginam. For centuries, Catholics, while reciting the Litany of Loreto were calling on Mary as queen of heaven.

Queen of Heaven is a title of Mary, which stimulated veneration expressed in theology, literature and liturgies such as the Liturgy of the Hours, music and art. Since the Council of Ephesus, pictoral presentation of Mary were encouraged, which resulted in numerous presentations of Mary as Regina throughout the ages.

The Queenship of Mary:

Mary, Queen of the Universe, you are a Queen in that you are Mother of the Word Incarnate. Christ is universal King in that He rules all His creatures by His personal union with the Father and the Spirit. He is King and you are Queen of all hearts. Rule over us by the queenly power of your love that the Kingdom of your Son; the Kingdom of truth and life, holiness and grace, justice and love, and peace may come upon the earth.

Grant your graces to all people, The Holy Spirit for the whole Church, and peace for the entire earth. Amen.

Daily Reflection 20 August 2008: St. Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church

August 20, 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.

About the Saint:

Saint Bernard was .born 1090, probably Fontaine-les-Dijons, near Dijon, Burgundy—died Aug. 20, 1153, Clairvaux, Champagne; canonized 1174; feast day August 20. He was a French Cistercian monk, mystic, and doctor of the church. Born into an aristocratic family near Dijon, he turned away from a literary education for the monastic life, entering the austere religious community at Cîteaux in 1112. As abbot of the Cistercian monastery at Clairvaux, Champagne, which he founded in 1115, he helped establish the widespread popularity of the order. Between 1130 and 1145 he mediated civil and ecclesiastical councils and theological debates, and his support for Pope Innocent II helped secure the papacy during the schism with Anacletus. Bernard was the confidant of five popes and became perhaps the most renowned religious figure in Europe. He actively preached the Second Crusade and wrote a number of sermons on the Song of Solomon. He opposed the teachings of Peter Abelard and Henry of Lausanne and defended devotion to the Virgin Mary.

A Hymn by Saint Bernard:

Jesu, Thy mercies are untold.

Jesu, Thy mercies are untold
Through each returning day;
Thy love exceeds a thousandfold
Whatever we can say.

That love which in Thy passion drained
For us Thy precious blood;
That love whereby the saints have gained
The vision of their God.

’Tis Thou hast loved us from the womb,
Pure Source of all our bliss,
Our only hope of life to come,
Our happiness in this.

Lord, grant us, while on earth we stay,
Thy love to feel and know;
And, when from hence we pass away,
To us Thy glory show.

Daily Reflection August 13 2008, Wednesday Week 19 of the Year

August 13, 2008

Devotion to the Sacred Heart:

Devotion to the Sacred Heart has been for many years a favourite devotion for individual Catholics and their families. The image of Jesus manifesting his thorn encircled heart recalls a picture people have often seen in their own homes or a statue in a local church. God has from time to time raised up women and men whose mission it is to make His love for us more apparent, one such person was Saint Mary Margaret Alacoque, who recieved the gift of fomenting devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

It is common for us to speak of the heart as the symbol for love and, just as symbolically, we speak of people as breaking one’s heart; through selfishness, lack of manners, inattention and lack of tact. Jesus spoke to Saint Margaret Mary of the ‘coldness of heart’ of people who had turned away from Him, ignoring Him, and He urged her to stir up in the hearts of all a greater desire to know Him through devotion to His Sacred Heart and therefore come to love God, the Father of all people.

When we meditate on the Heart of Jesus we unite ourselves with His Divine Compassion and Mercy which knows no bounds, therefore becoming a light of mercy to all we meet. Jesus gave 12 promises to those who follow this devotion:

Promises of the Sacred Heart:

1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.

2. I will establish peace in their families.

3. I will bless every home in which an image of my heart shall be exposed and honoured.

4. I will console them in all their difficulties.

5. I will be their refuge during life and especially at the hour of death.

6. I will shed abundant blessings upon all their undertakings.

7. Sinners shall find my Heart a fountain and boundless ocean of mercy.

8. Tepid souls shall become fervent.

9. Fervent souls shall rise speedily to great perfection.

10. I will give Priests the power of touching the hardest hearts.

11. Those propagate this devotion shall have their names written in my Heart, never to be blotted out.

12. In the excessive mercy of my Heart I will grant the grace of final penitence to those who communicate on the first Friday of nine consecutive months; they shall not die in my displeasure or without the sacraments. My Divine Heart will be their safe refuge in this last moment.

Prayer to the Sacred Heart:

O aimable Heart of mhy Saviour, I adore you! O gracious Heart of Jesus, I love you! O compassionate Heart, I give you my heart, and am deeply moved by all you hav e done and suffered for me. I give you my heart completely; affix it to your Heart eternally; inflame itwith your love; inspire it with your sentiments; make it know your will andpractice your virtues.