LIBERA ME, Domine, Iesu Christe, ab omnibus iniquitatis meis et universis malis,
fac me tuis semper inhærere mandatis et a te numquam separari permittas. Amen.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

But . . . the greatest joy is still HERS

As I’ve already said, this is really something which really creates a quite and provide person . . . something which turned into complex, and difficult, and increasing concern to others, rather than to her : but which originally, at the very beginning, it was just her business, her private relationship to God . . .

We have all been there : coped well enough with life when it only affected us, but then discovered we’re not good being part of a big picture . . . which may be why so many are bad having relationships with others; and others simply can’t cope with that sort of thing at all.

Surprisingly for someone like me, someone who really rather enjoys liturgical excesses and the possibility of a major Mass, I have to say that that there really ought to be at least one part of it all which is very quiet and discreet . . . because, when we think about it, the excitement of today was in fact here purely private . . .

As is perfectly normal, in due course I’m sure that there was all sorts of things said and seen in the later days of maternity : but today it was entirely private . . . the right thing for a maiden’s maternity.

So, whilst we rejoice today in the grandeur and wonder of God’s wonderful majesty for His world as it is shown today, let us also try to remember that, at least in the very start, it was simply a very quiet and private thing . . . the magical, and yet magnificent, generosity of His infinite generosity which Our Lady encountered totally privately in her Son’s first beginnings in her womb.

What an Odd Morning . . .

What a lovely day it was . . . and yet at the same time, what a strange one.

You look at this, and realize that in reality there was nothing outwardly grand about it all . . . just a little girl who had a discussion with an Angel of God : and that was that . . . the rest was, in one way, very quiet; and in another the most fundamental of all moves from God.

Today is her day; her day of rejoicing in what, I strongly suspect, was solely and exclusivelt a private magic of hers . . . a day all her own, and without any involvement, or discussion, in anyone else's.

Perhaps it's a good thing  to remember that we all benefit from at least some private involvement in God's world.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Getting Ready for a special day . . .

Tomorrow is one of those days in the Church's year which we all like . . . and even if it’s not quite obvious, simply because although we obviously know exactly what it’s all about now, it’s very hard to understand what it was about then . . .

But at the same time this is one of those things which probably didn’t make particularly sense at the time, precisely because for a newly-conceived girl there was little or nothing absolutely apparent . . . just concepts, and thoughts, and private things to think about.

And in an odd way I try to remember that this is something which is true for all of us . . . that we don’t know the important things until after they’ve happened; which is a difficult thing for us to get our minds to get round, but which is, nonetheless, entirely sensible in the context of reality.

More of which, of course, later on . . .

The Dominic Booklet . . .

The lovely Dominican lady 'Rosamundi' was now emailed to let us know that the Dominican Ordo for the UK is now readiily available . .

So do please contact them the website
and I am sure that they will do their best to ensure that you have it as quickly as possible.

And another splendid Saint . . !

Today is the Feast of S. Ambrose, one of the Church's great 'Doctors of the Church', and undoubtedly one of the great names of early ecclesiastical thought.

He gave much preaching and teaching on which the early parts of the Church's were based, and was largely responsible for ensuring that unified teaching and theology were encouraged and perpetuated not only for his time, but for the time to come.

Let us pray that the Church will always be provided with people to match his teaching, preaching, and faithful theology so that the wisdom of God's love is always perpetuated in the Church's fidelity today, and eternally.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Happy S. Nicholas' Day

A suitably appropriate image of the Bishop with the three young men which he rescued - and, of course, the essential fruit as well !

Do enjoy this wonderful day - particularly if you are the Netherlands, of course - and there will be more later on.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

What was important was what DID happen . . .

. . . which was that even if there wasn't quite the largest congregation, there was a perfectly adequate one; there was certainly a complete group, both of clergy and of servers, for there to be a Solemn High Mass (Extraordinary Form); and there was a good deal of cheerfulness afterwards, even if not quite everyone who would have liked to have got there had managed it.

However, in one way this is (of course) exactly the way life goes : you end up with what you get, not what you'd like . . . and perhaps that's a very valuable lesson for all of us; not only in the context of learning to cope with what actually happens, but also in recognizing that God's will is so precious.

I'm hoping that I shall be able to say a few more things, not only about Mac's delightful gathering yesterday, but on other things I think may interest, later on today; but even if that doesn't work out today, at least the weather is getting better in my part of the world, so hopefully things are now improving generally.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Mmm . . . Saturday provides a whole new world

Well, after a rather lengthy day yesterday trip to Oxford for the Dominican Funeral as previously mentioned (by a rather lengthy route because the most convenient was apparently still not reliable), and then a further journey back by what turned out to be even more convoluted . . . although that seems to have been at least largely a combination of my lack of knowledge and bad timing.

However : that was today, and having risen early to make sure, it appears that the weather has at least partially improved, so hopefully the journey to northern Kent, and Mac's occcasion, will be comparatively painless . . . and I am quite sure that the Mass itself, assuming that I get there, will  be wonderful. However, we shall have to see . . . there's still much that I can't see from here.

So : more in due course, and in the meantime I would ask that you, like me, will keep Mac in your prayers today as she renews her Vows.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

S. Ephrem saw the obvious benefit . . .

In the reading from S. Ephrem in this morning’s Second Lesson of the Office of Readings, he has commented on Christ’s observation to the Disciples, when He said ‘About that hour no one knows, neither the angels nor the Son. It is not for you to know times or moments’; and it is interesting to notice just why he says that Jesus said that : ‘To prevent His disciples from asking the time of His coming’.

And why was this ? Well, quite simply : because by keeping these answers secret, we may always keep watch for Our Lord’s coming, and thus have a genuine concern for His arrival . . . as he says, ‘He promised that He would come but did not say when He would come, and so all generations and ages await Him eagerly.’

So, as we are in Advent, we should remember that there is a good, heavenly, reason why these things are kept from us . . . to make sure that we remain alert, and our minds focussed on His will; and to ensure that we thereby achieve the optimum ambition : that of true, enduring, commitment to His will.

As S. Ephrem put it, ‘He used these words to increase respect for the signs of His coming’.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Useful for the Dominically incllined !

As you probably know, the English Order of Preachers has its own - appropriate - Ordo, which provides for the Feasts and things of the Province : and this year's was released last evening (they are, I should say, provided with information up till the end of the kalendar year, so that there has been no problem with it not quite having arrived in time for Advent Sunday).

For those who are interested, the 2010 - 2011 Ordo can now be seen on line, and I would assume that the printed copy will be available in the not too far distant future.

The S. Andrew Novena

My only excuse for not having mentioned the S. Andrew Novena yesterday is that I didn’t know about it until I read about it this morning !

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment
in which the Son of God was born
of the most pure Virgin Mary,
at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold.
In that hour vouchsafe, O my God!
to hear my prayer and grant my desires,
through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ,
and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.
This is apparently an old prayer which those seeking God's will have to say fifteen times each day from S. Andrew’s Day until Christmas Day . . . and providing that one does, it is said that you will gain the intentions for which it is offered.

The prayer – and a good deal of useful information – was provided yesterday on the Moniales OP website, which I recommend you to visit to get all the information . . . as well, of course, as all the other pleasing things which you can find there : so do pay them a visit.

Celebrating after, not before ?

I have thoughts about Advent which are to do, more than almost anything else, with the fact that there seems to be an almost frightening willingness nowadays for even reliably solid Christian communities to start talking and worshipping the Nativity far too early, and thus largely ignoring all the important things which Advent was originally intended – as, for instance, considered in the Second Reading yesterday – to consider.

So it seems to me that ther is very persuasive reason to make a positive decision not to start celebrating Christmas until it actually gets here : and if that means continuing its celebration well after most people have given up and forgotten about it, well perhaps that will, eventually, get peoples’ minds to accept that there is some rational logic in celebrating anything after, rather than before, it happened.

Am I being sensible about this ? What do you think ?