Thursday, March 26, 2009

At the end of a long day.

I've been on the go more or less continuously since early this morning (at least I have a job). I had a rough class for two periods with fifth year students. It seems to me we've managed to inoculate an entire generation against the faith or at least let the enemies of the faith get to them before we did. It can be soul-destroying. Still our Lord did not say the way was easy but rather that it was hard and narrow. He leads we follow.
Two prayers for you that I find helpful:
Pierce, O most Sweet Lord Jesus, my inmost soul with the most joyous and healthful wound of Your love, with true, calm and most holy apostolic charity, that my soul may ever languish and melt with entire love and longing for You, may yearn for You and for your courts, may long to be dissolved and to be with You. Grant that my soul may hunger after You, the Bread of Angels, the refreshment of holy souls, our daily and supersubstantial bread, having all sweetness and savour and evey delightful taste. May my heart ever hunger after and feed upon You, Whom the angels desire to look upon, and may my inmost doul be filled with the sweetness of Your savour. May it ever thirst for You, the fountain of life, the fountain of wisdom and knowledge, the fountain of eternal light, the torrent of pleasure, the fulness of the house of God. May it ever compass You, seek you, find You, run to You, come up to You, meditate on You, speak of You, and do all for the praise and glory of Your Name, with humility and discretion, with love and delight, with ease and affection, with perseverence to the end; and be You alone ever my hope, my entire confidence, my riches, my delight, my pleasure, my joy, my rest and tranquility, my peace, my sweetness, my food, my refreshment, my refuge, my help, my wisdom, my portion, my possession, my treasure; in Whom may my mind and my heart be ever fixed and firm and rooted immovably. Amen

from St. Bonaventure (I use it in preparation for Mass) and from St. Pio a prayer after communion:
Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have You present so that I do not forget You. You know how easily I abandon You. Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak and I need Your strength, that I may not fall so often. Stay with me, Lord, for You are my life, and without You, I am without fervour. Stay with me, Lord, for You are my light, and without You, I am in darkness. Stay with me, Lord, to show me Your will. Stay with me, Lord, so that I hear Your voice and follow You. Stay with me, Lord, for I desire to love You very much, and always be in Your company. Stay with me, Lord, if You wish me to be faithful to You. Stay with me, Lord, for as poor as my soul is, I want it to be a place of consolation for You, a nest of love. Stay with me, Jesus, for it is getting late and the day is coming to a close, and life passes; death, judgment, eternity approaches. It is necessary to renew my strength, so that I will not stop along the way and for that, I need You. It is getting late and death approaches, I fear the darkness, the temptations, the dryness, the cross, the sorrows. O how I need You, my Jesus, in this night of exile! Stay with me tonight, Jesus, in life with all its dangers. I need You. Let me recognize You as Your disciples did at the breaking of the bread, so that the Eucharistic Communion be the Light which disperses the darkness, the force which sustains me, the unique joy of my heart. Stay with me, Lord, because at the hour of my death, I want to remain united to You, if not by communion, at least by grace and love. Stay with me, Jesus, I do not ask for divine consolation, because I do not merit it, but the gift of Your Presence, oh yes, I ask this of You! Stay with me, Lord, for it is You alone I look for, Your Love, Your Grace, Your Will, Your Heart, Your Spirit because I love You and ask no other reward but to love You more and more. With a firm love, I will love You with all my heart while on earth and continue to love You perfectly during all eternity. Amen

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Beannachtaí Lá Féile Phádraig

I could hardly let this great Irish Feast go unmarked. You can read the Confessio of St. Patrick here and the Letter to Coroticus here. I wonder how many Irish people have actually read these letters. Many nations have little or nothing from their patron saint but we have these two powerful testimonies from this man of faith and servant of Christ. His voice still calls to us in response to the invitation of our ancestors "Come back to us, holy youth" and he tells us to remain faithful to the Catholic faith he brought to Ireland and to hand it on. The task is given to every orthodox Catholic Christian to hand on that which Patrick taught our ancestors. The secular society in which we live demands we stay silent and that demonic edict we must resist shouting all the louder for Christ and His Truth. We are in a struggle for the soul of our nation. Will we be the generation that fails to pass on what was passed to us? The icon left is by American iconographer Luke Digman while I have to admit that I don't know the authorship for the one above. Good work, both of them.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Tabernacle Cover

In the clean-out our postulant found some tabernacle covers and the nicer of the two is above. They too need a clean and, although they were made for a differently shaped tabernacle, they fit the tabernacle in the school where I work and so they will probably go there. All I need now is to find the purple one.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Commentarius Rinnuccinianus

The Commentarius is a major source of information on 17th Century Irish, British and European politics and history. You can check out the music of the time here

Sacred Heart Cope close-up

Cope with Image of the Sacred Heart

Said Cope (see below)

New Chalice for School Oratory

Up till recently I have used a pottery chalice and paten for Mass in the school where I work (that's all we had and there was no cash that I know of to buy another one and none to spare elsewhere either) and I can hear, with that admission, the howls of the lay liturgo-police. I have wanted more precious vessels for a while. Well, the Lord provides. Last weekend I walked into our sacristy, on the way to hear confessions, to find one of our postulants engaged in cleaning out. In the process I gained a simple, modern gilded chalice and paten, some spare corporals, amices etc and a cope. Yes, you read the last bit right, a cope. We already have a splendid cope - enough for our uses so I volunteered to find a home for this one. I attach a pic of the same with a close-up of the embroidered back. It needs a good clean and some small repair to the hem.

Sin, Repentance and Lent

I guess it's easy to fall out of the habit of blogging. But I will try to keep it up. My thoughts are on sin at the moment. I frequently tell people in the confessional that what we call our sins are but the symptoms of a deeper illness - the effects of our fall. At heart each of us is deluded by the illusion that one is the centre of the universe and that everyone else (God included) ought to orbit about oneself and do as one wants, when one wants, as one wants etc. Since we all suffer from this, sin, conflict and suffering inevitably follow. Out of our disordered hearts the passions flow and our 'sins' are the obvious ends of deeper issues. Lent then is a chance to pay attention to ourselves not in the sense of pampering but to notice our truer, deeper motivations. It is these that also need to be brought to the confessional for healing and it is this healing that leads to Lent being called a joyful season. The Lord is zealous for our cleansing, to turn us into not just 'houses of God' but living tabernacless, His Body in the world. In the joyful sorrow of repentance we step towards the Kingdom that is established at Easter.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sunday, March 1, 2009

First Sunday of Lent

The icon is from Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Ohio.
Unlike some I have not given up blogging for Lent but I was more than a little distracted. So Lent is here. I find it interesting that one of the Lenten prefaces calls this season joyful. What's joyful about giving things up? What's joyful about hunger? At the moment I'm reading Bernard Cornwell's Sword Song (set in the England of King Alfred) and I'm surprised by the level of anti-Christian sentiment it holds. The Christian (read Catholic) faith is presented as joyless, dour, legalistic and oppressive in contrast to the humane paganism that surrounds it. That I think says at lot more about Cornwell's vision than the mindset of an ancient pagan. He's not alone. Perhaps too often we have sold our faith as what we do not do rather than what we do. It strikes me that the three remedies proposed for sin: prayer, fasting and abstinence, and alms-giving cover both the 'negative' and 'positive' dimensions of the Lenten season. On the negative there is what we give up or deny ourselves, cut back on or reduce. This negation makes space in our lives for the Lord and for our neighbour. Into this space we can put our energies - the 'positive'- by not just giving cash but also giving time, effort, care, love. One without the other will not work. What point is our fasting if our love reaches out to no one? How can one reach out if one does not create the space, the time? Where will the will for all this come from without prayer for without God's help we can do nothing. It's our inability to do what is right that brings us to that other dimension of Lent: confession. The struggle to do better, to pray more, to give more, to give things up, often brings up our darker side: the illusion that each of us is the centre of the universe. Our passions surface in the struggle and they do so as sin. In the space created by fasting we can pay attention to that brokenness and bring it to the Lord to be healed in the sacrament. After all our Lord Himself fell three times so we should not expect an easy time of it. We can think of sin as the symptom of an illness - the fall - that Christ our doctor and our remedy has come not only to heal but to eliminate entirely - in Irish 'saviour' is rendered as 'health-giver'.


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