Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Foundation Day

I headed off bright and early this morning to drive the 150 km south to Colebrook, arriving at 9:45 am. Gradually more and more familiar faces arrived. For we were all assembled with our Archbishop, well over a hundred laity and clergy together, to celebrate the foundation today of Notre Dame Priory at St Patrick’s, a beautiful Pugin-designed church that has waited 160 years for this great day, when, as we all remarked afterward, it was finally used for what it was built for: the full traditional liturgy of Solemn High Mass coram archiepiscopo in the late morning and Solemn Vespers mid-afternoon. The servers were the five young men who are the first candidates for the monastic life to arrive and begin the foundation, for the present in temporary accommodation in Lindisfarne; more will arrive in due course. 

The Mass Propers of the Chair of St Peter were expertly sung by Ronan and friends, as was the Ordinary of the Mass (Mass IV and the little-used Credo V), all sensitively accompanied by Stephen Smith on the church’s recently-installed organ. His Grace preached, and, the sacred mysteries consummated and received, Fr Prior gave a speech of thanks after the Last Gospel, before a final Sub tuum at the Lady Altar together with prayer to St Joseph and invocations of St Mary of the Cross, secondary patroness of the new monastery, and of St Patrick, titular of the church. The morning liturgy lasted an hour and forty minutes all told.

We decamped to the Colebrook Hall for luncheon, where all and sundry had a great time catching up, toasting the foundation and delighting in such a joyful day. Afterwards, I had time to stroll around the little township before returning to church for Solemn Vespers (again expertly sung, lasting about 35 minutes) followed by Benediction (at exposition, Jesu dulcis memoria, then silent adoration, the usual Tantum ergo &c. before the blessing, the Divine Praises afterward, and at reposition the Benedictine Te decet laus), concluding at 5:30 pm.

After final farewells, I set off for home at six o’clock, and got back by eight. A wonderful day!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Inaugural Prayers

As the leader of the free world will be sworn in today, it is most needful that we pray for him, to whom the greatest earthly authority is entrusted; and I turn to the words of the classical Anglican and Episcopalian liturgies to do so:


PSALM 46. Deus noster refugium.
GOD is our hope and strength : a very present  help in trouble.
2 Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be moved : and though the hills be carried into the midst of the sea;
3 Though the waters thereof rage and swell : and though the mountains shake at the tempest of the same.
4 The rivers of the flood thereof shall make glad the city of God : the holy place of the tabernacle of the most Highest.
5 God is in the midst of her, therefore shall she not be removed : God shall help her, and that right early.
6 The heathen make much ado, and the kingdoms are moved : but God hath shewed his voice, and the earth shall melt away.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us : the God of Jacob is our refuge.
8 O come hither, and behold the works of the Lord : what destruction he hath brought upon the earth.
9 He maketh wars to cease in all the world : he breaketh the bow, and knappeth the spear in sunder, and burneth the chariots in the fire.
10 Be still then, and know that I am God : I will be exalted among the heathen, and I will be exalted in the earth.
11 The Lord of hosts is with us : the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen.

Let us pray.

Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.

OUR Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us; And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. Amen.

A Prayer for The President of the United States, and all in Civil Authority
O LORD, our heavenly Father, the high and mighty Ruler of the universe, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers upon earth; Most heartily we beseech thee, with thy favour to behold and bless thy servant THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, and all others in authority; and so replenish them with the grace of thy Holy Spirit, that they may always incline to thy will, and walk in thy way. Endue them plenteously with heavenly gifts; grant them in health and prosperity long to live; and finally, after this life, to attain everlasting joy and felicity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

2 Corinthians 13. 14.
THE grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore. Amen.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Three Bishops' Appeal in Seven Languages

I assume that the Appeal for Prayer was written by Bishop Schneider in German originally, but I have no knowledge of either language. If anyone can leave a comment as to which version sounds the most idiomatic, natural and untranslated, so to speak, I would be interested. According to an Italian site, these are the seven languages in which the Appeal has been released – again, if there are others, please leave a comment and link thereto.

Update: as Bishop Schneider speaks German, Russian, Italian and Portuguese, and also knows English and French, not to mention Latin and Greek, he may well have written each of these different versions, except for the Polish and Spanish ones.

French:

Un appel urgent à la prière : pour que le Pape François confirme la praxis immuable de l’Église à l’égard de la vérité et de l’indissolubilité du mariage.

English:

Appeal to prayer: That Pope Francis may confirm the unchanging praxis of the Church with regard to the truth of the indissolubility of marriage.

Italian:

Appello alla preghiera: perché Papa Francesco confermi la prassi immutabile della Chiesa riguardo alla verità dell’indissolubilità del matrimonio

Polish:

Wezwanie do modlitwy: Aby Papież Franciszek potwierdził niezmienną praktykę Kościoła względem prawdy o nierozerwalności małżeństwa.

Portuguese:

Apelo universal à oração para que o Santo Padre confirme a imutável prática da Igreja relativa à verdade sobre a indissolubilidade do matrimónio.

Spanish:

Llamada a la oración: para que el Papa Francisco confirme la práctica invariable de la Iglesia sobre la verdad de la indisolubilidad del Matrimonio

German:

Aufruf zum Gebet: damit Papst Franziskus die unveränderliche Praxis der Kirche von der Wahrheit der Unauflöslichkeit der Ehe bekräftige

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Kazakh Bishops Appeal for Prayer

In Malta, it is easy to be a cultural Catholic: everyone there is Catholic, and everyone goes to church – or rather, they were and did. The temptation in Malta is to go with the flow, to live an increasingly secular life, while remaining nominally Catholic, like almost everyone else.

In Kazakhstan, to be a Catholic is countercultural (only 1.6% of the population is Catholic), and to go to church, to live as a practising Catholic, is profoundly countercultural.

It thus is unsurprising that, while the Archbishop of Malta and the Bishop of Gozo have fallen away grievously from the Faith, by wickedly teaching lies to their people – since anyone who says an unrepentant practising adulterer can worthily receive Communion is a heretic who promotes schism – the Archbishop of Maria Sanctissima in Astana, his well-known auxiliary Bishop, and the Archbishop-Emeritus of nearby Karaganda have instead most worthily and definitely reaffirmed the teachings of the Catholic Apostolic Faith regarding this very issue, denouncing attempts of others to do as the feckless Maltese episcopate has done, and appealing to the Supreme Pontiff for his decisive intervention against such false teachings: ‘that Pope Francis may revoke in an unequivocal manner those pastoral guidelines, which permit the divorced and so-called “remarried” to receive the sacraments of Penance and Eucharist without asking them to fulfil the obligation of a life in continence.’

They ask all the faithful – throughout the Universal Church – to join in prayer for this intention, especially as previous appeals to the Holy Father have so far gone nowhere. The daily prayers suggested are either part of the Rosary or the following traditional petition for the Pope, and acclamation of his God-given role, as drawn from Sacred Scripture:

Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Francisco: 

Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum ejus. (Ps. xl, 3) 

Tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram ædificabo Ecclesiam meam, et portæ inferi non prævalebunt adversus eam. (Matt. xvi, 18) 
(Let us pray for Francis our Pope: 
(The Lord preserve him and give him life, and make him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies. 
(Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.)

Monday, January 16, 2017

Anathema

...there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema. As we said before, so now I say again: If any one preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be anathema. (Galatians i, 7-9)

The Archbishop of Malta and the Bishop of Gozo have issued a scandalous document which pretends to authorise vile deviations from the moral law. They even dare to assert that living in actual adultery may be acceptable, even somehow necessary (!), and compatible with receiving Holy Communion, to be judged by such adulterers themselves according to the imagined criterion of feeling at peace with God (how blasphemous). 

To thus lead astray their flocks, by having their priests teach such sinful lies from the pulpit (one hopes they were disobeyed), is to put their own souls at grave risk of damnation. Such men are unworthy of the episcopate. I am outraged by their actions!

As the Apostle sadly wrote to the Church at Corinth: “there are schisms among you; and in part I believe it. For there must be also heresies”, that those who are faithful may be distinguished from the unfaithful (1 Cor. xi, 18f). A simple consideration of the Scriptures, the unbroken teachings of the Church, the Catechism, the Code of Canon Law, all indicate quite clearly where the distinctions lie.

St Paul had earlier reminded those Corinthians, and, through them, all Christians in all ages (for the deposit of faith cannot change): “Do not err: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers… shall possess the kingdom of God. … Know you not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. Or know you not, that he who is joined to a harlot, is made one body? For they shall be, saith he, two in one flesh.” (I Cor. vi, 9. 10. 15-16) 

Adultery, fornication and all other such sins are devilish distortions of the true good of marriage, whereby two become one in truth. In sacramental marriage, two are united in one indissoluble bond in Christ; in adulterous unions, this is mocked. But God is not mocked.

God forbid that the members of Christ be united to the members of a harlot! Yet that is what the reception, unworthily and damnably, of Holy Communion by an unrepentant adulterer signifies. No wonder that the Apostle to the Gentiles had solemnly to warn that “whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord… he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself” (I Cor. xi, 27 & 29).

If those bishops cared for sinners, really cared about their souls, they would advise them to “Fly fornication”, that they might repent, and live, and receive the Blessed Sacrament worthily, to their endless comfort.

St Paul was bitten by a snake in Malta, after being shipwrecked there; the Scriptures thus prophesy concerning the abysmal state of the Church in that unhappy island.

The Council of Trent infallibly taught that “If anyone says that the commandments of God are, even for one that is justified and constituted in grace, impossible to observe, let him be anathema.” Yet the Maltese bishops have dared to assert the opposite!

To quote Cardinal Brandmüller: “Whoever thinks that persistent adultery and the reception of Holy Communion are compatible is a heretic and promotes schism.”

Anathema!

Friday, December 30, 2016

The Translation of Saint James

Both in the Mozarabic Rite, and in the proper calendar for Spain according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, the 30th of December is not an unadorned day of the Christmas Octave, but rather the Feast of the Translation of St James, according to the ancient tradition whereby his sacred body was transported from Jerusalem to Santiago de Compostela. 

How delightful, that the days after Our Lord's Nativity should honour, first St Stephen, first Christian Martyr, next St John the beloved disciple, Apostle and Evangelist, thirdly the Holy Innocents, the first to die for Christ, fourthly the great Archbishop-Martyr Thomas à Becket, and fifthly the Translation of the Apostle St James, before lastly, on the last day of December, honouring St Sylvester, Pope of Christian freedom and peace.

I append the texts of the Mass of the Translation of St James, first in Latin, then in an English version:


Die xxx Decembris.
IN FESTO TRANSLATIONIS
S. Jacobi Apostoli, et Hispaniarum Patroni.

Introitus. Tob. 13, 13 & 14.
Luce splendida fulgebit justus. Nationes ex longinquo venient ad eum, et adorabunt Dominum in conspectu ejus, et terram suam in sanctificationem habebunt.
Psalm. 150, 1. Laudate Dominum in Sanctis ejus: Laudate eum in firmamento virtutis ejus.
Gloria Patri.

Oratio
Deus, qui dispositione mirabili Corpus beati Jacobi Apostoli tui de Hierosolymis ad Hispaniam transferri, et in Compostella gloriosè sepeliri voluisti: concede quæsumus, ut ejus meritis, et precibus in cælesti Jérusalem collocari mereamur. Per Dominum.

Si hoc Fest. venerit in Domin. aut die, in quo fit de ea, fit commemorat. Domin. postea Oct. in fine dicitur Evang. ejusdem Dominicæ.

Lectio Epistolæ beati Pauli Apostoli ad Corinthios. 1 Cor. 15, 39-50.

Fratres, non omnis caro eadem caro, sed alia quidem hominum, alia vero pecorum, alia volucrum, alia autem piscium. Et corpora cælestia, et corpora terrestria: sed alia quidem cælestium gloria, alia autem terrestrium. Alia claritas solis, alia claritas lunæ, et alia claritas stellarum. Stella enim à Stella differt in claritate: sic et resurrectio mortuorum. Seminatur in corruptione, surget in incorruptione. Seminatur in ignobilitate, surget in gloria. Seminatur in infirmitate, surget in virtute. Seminatur corpus animale, surget corpus spiritale. Si est corpus animale, est et spiritale, sicut scriptum est: Factus est primus homo Adam in animam viventem, novissimus Adam in spiritum vivificantem. Sed non priús quod spiritale est, sed quod animale: deinde quod spiritale. Primus homo de terra terrenus: secundus homo de cælo cælestis. Qualis terrenus, tales et terreni: qualis cælestis, tales et cælestes. Igitur, sicut portavimus imaginem terreni, portemus et imaginem cælestis. Hoc autem dico, fratres, quia caro, et sanguis regnum Dei possidere non possunt: neque corruptio incorruptelam possidebit.

Graduale. Ps. 33, 7 & 21.
Iste Sanctus clamavit ad Dominum, et exaudivit eum: et de omnibus tribulationibus ejus salvavit eum.
V. Custodit Dominus omnia ossa ejus: unum ex his non conteretur.

Alleluja, alleluja.
Isai. 2, 2 & 11, 10. V. Fluent ad eum omnes gentes, et erit sepulchrum ejus gloriosum.
Alleluja.

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundùm Matthæum. 20, 20-23.

In illo tempore: Accessit ad Jesum mater filiorum Zebedæi cum filiis suis, adorans, et petens aliquid ab eo. Qui dixit ei: Quid vis? Ait illi: Dic ut sedeant hi duo filii mei, unus ad dexteram tuam, et unus ad sinistram in regno tuo. Respondens autem Jesus, dixit: Nescitis quid petatis. Potestis bibere calicem, quem ego bibiturus sum? Dicunt ei: Possumus. Ait illis: Calicem quidem meum bibetis: sedere autem ad dexteram meam, vel sinistram, non est meum dare vobis, sed quibus paratum est à Patre meo.

Credo.

Offertorium. Eccli. 44, 14.
Corpora Sanctorum in pace sepulta sunt, et nomen eorum vivit in generationem, et generationem. Alleluja.

Secreta.
Præsta, quæsumus omnipotens Deus; ut beati Jacobi Apostoli tui intercessione, quem ad laudem tui nominis, dicatis muneribus honoramus, piæ in nobis fructus devotionis accrescat. Per Dominum.

Præfatio, et Communic. de Nat.

Communio. Isai. 55, 5.
Gentes, quæ te non cognoverunt, ad te current, et adorabunt, propter Dominum Deum tuum, et sanctum Israël; quia glorificavit te.

Posteommunio.
Deus, qui beatum Jacobum Apostolum tuum gloriosum fecisti in cælis, et ejus Corpus singulari cultu venerari voluisti in terris: concede propitius; ut, qui mirabilem ejus translationem festivo celebramus obsequio, ad æternam gloriam ejus intercessione transferri mereamur. Per Dominum.

******

30th December.
THE FEAST of the TRANSLATION
of St James the Apostle, and Patron of Spain.

Introit. (Tob. 13, 13 et 14; Ps. 150, 1)
With a glorious light the just shall shine. Nations from afar shall come to him, and shall adore the Lord in his presence, and shall esteem his land as holy.
Ps. Praise ye the Lord in his Saints: praise ye him in the firmament of his power.
Glory be.

Collect.
O God, who by marvellous management didst will the body of blessed James thine apostle to be transferred from Jerusalem to Spain and in Compostela to be buried magnificently: grant, we beseech thee; that by his merits and prayers we may deserve to be assembled together in the heavenly Jerusalem. Through...

If this Feast should occur on Sunday, or the day on which the Sunday is kept, a commemoration of the Sunday is made after that of the Octave, and at the end is said the Gospel of the same Sunday. [According to the liturgical books of 1962, this rubric would not apply.]

Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians.
(1 Cor. 15, 39-50)
Brethren: All flesh is not the same flesh: but one is the flesh of men, another of beasts, another of birds, another of fishes. And there are bodies celestial, and bodies terrestrial: but, one is the glory of the celestial, and another of the terrestrial. One is the glory of the sun, another the glory of the moon, and another the glory of the stars. For star differeth from star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it shall rise in incorruption. It is sown in dishonour, it shall rise in glory. It is sown in weakness, it shall rise in power. It is sown a natural body, it shall rise a spiritual body. If there be a natural body, there is also a spiritual body, as it is written: The first man Adam was made into a living soul; the last Adam into a quickening spirit. Yet that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; afterwards that which is spiritual. The first man was of the earth, earthly: the second man, from heaven, heavenly. Such as is the earthly, such also are the earthly: and such as is the heavenly, such also are they that are heavenly. Therefore as we have borne the image of the earthly, let us bear also the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot possess the kingdom of God: neither shall corruption possess incorruption.

Gradual (Ps. 33, 7 et 21)
This Saint cried to the Lord, and he heard him: and out of all his troubles he saved him.
V. The Lord keepeth all their bones, not one of them shall be broken.

Alleluia, alleluia. (Is. 2, 2 et 11, 10)
V. All nations shall flow unto him, and his sepulchre shall be glorious.
Alleluia.

The continuation of the holy Gospel according to Matthew (20, 20-23)

At that time: There came to Jesus the mother of the sons of Zebedee with her sons, adoring and asking something of him. Who said to her: What wilt thou? She saith to him: Say that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left, in thy kingdom. And Jesus answering, said: You know not what you ask. Can you drink the chalice that I shall drink? They say to him: We can. He saith to them: My chalice indeed you shall drink; but to sit on my right or left hand, is not mine to give to you, but to them for whom it is prepared by my Father.

Creed.

Offertory (Ecclus 44, 14.)
The bodies of the Saints are buried in peace, and their name liveth unto generation, and generation.

Secret
Grant, we beg, almighty God, that, by the intercession of blessed James thine Apostle, whom, to the praise of thy name, we honour by dedicated gifts, the fruit of pious devotion may grow in us. Through…

Preface and Communicantes of Christmas.

Communion (Is. 55, 5)
Nations, that knew not thee, shall run to thee, and shall adore, because of the Lord thy God, and the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee.

Postcommunion
O God, who didst make blessed James thine Apostle glorious in heaven, and didst will his body to be venerated with singular care on earth: grant propitiously; that, we who celebrate his marvellous translation with festive worship, may deserve, at his intercession, to be transferred to everlasting glory. Through…

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Thankfulness for Christ's Being Made Man



From the devout writings of John Kettlewell, Anglican clergyman and Nonjuror (1653-1695):

What am I, dear Lord, that thou shouldst leave the right hand of God, and come to visit me? Hadst thou no ease in thy own breast so long as I lay plunged in misery? How camest thou, being so highly exalted, and the eternal Son of God, to have any affectionate concern at all for me? Was I not a deformed, polluted wretch, and thy professed enemy? And was not either of these to turn away thy face from me? But if, notwithstanding all this, thy overflowing goodness would put thee upon doing something for my sake; why must thou come thyself upon earth, and be subject to the miseries of human nature, and to the affronts of an ungrateful world, to bleed and die to redeem me? How unfathomable is thy grace, and what an unsearchable depth of love is this, which thou hast opened to us! O! how happy do I think myself in it, and how doth my heart rejoice at the remembrance of it! Lord! I love thee dearly, and long to love thee more: would I had the heart of the seraphim, that I might be all over love, and feel my soul affected to that degree which I desire, and thou infinitely deservest of me: I wish no greater pleasure than to be found perfect in thy love, and to have thee so dear to me, that I may contemn all the gilded vanities and allurements of this world at the thoughts of it. O! that thou wouldest fill me, if that might be, with an affection full and absolute, like thy own, that so I might love thee infinitely, as I am beloved by thee. At least possess me with such a sense of thy love, and such thankfulness for all thy favours, as is somewhat worthy of thee: though should I offer the utmost acknowledgments, which the most affected and enlarged heart can pay, I should not give thee the thousandth part of what I owe thee. Let all the angels adore thy glorious goodness, and all the sons of men, so long as they have a tongue to speak, set forth thy noble praise; for thou, O sweetest Jesu, art the Son of the Blessed, the joy and glory of the world, the Lamb of God, the Saviour of Mankind, who was slain for our sakes, and art alive again, and sittest now for ever at the right hand of power, in the glory of the Father, that angels may submit to thee, and all the world may worship thee, and praise thy goodness, power, and glory, to all eternity. Amen.

A very blessed and holy Christmas to all, with ardent prayers for the good estate of the whole Church, that the Lord may grant her speedy and complete deliverance from the unhappy cause of all her recent trials, that his Virgin Mother's Immaculate Heart may triumph.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

I Can't Speak French

Being unable to understand French, I ran through an online automatic translator the instructions put out by the Cardinal Archbishop of Paris, back in 1874, for the customs to be retained when introducing the Roman Rite. This produced some hilarious results:

The custom of giving screams during Mass as well as vespers to the singers who are tonsured, and even to those who are not so, if they are allowed to wear the cassock in the Community where they are admitted.

…Indians may be admitted to High Mass... 
…we can use two apologists for the incensing of the Choir… 
…during the period of the Uffizi… 
The canons, the Celebrant and his assistants, if they are in a hat… 
The inclination is poor when you greet superiors, equals and Chorus.

All rise to render salvation to the Priest or Superior of the place.

…sometimes after the lessons precede the epistle… 
…Ave stella husbands… 
During the Magnificat, one is standing, without relying on mercy.

During the singing of memoirs, one standing shot Choir.

If some of MM. The Priests believe that in view of the number of Communists and the smallness of their church, two low Masses can not satisfy the need of the Faithful; they must address themselves to His Eminence, who will examine what number of Masses it is necessary to grant them.

Parisian jumpers carry on their backs a fairly typical cross… 
The practice existed almost everywhere in France, that during certain pieces sung, two singers "beat the chorus"… 
"We could not find the date of the introduction of the Indians into the Parisian Liturgy. The Missal of 1666 mentions them as serving the Metropolitan Church." 
When the clergy is standing shot in choir, those in the stalls rely on the mercy… 
…they do not rely on mercy when the choir is facing the altar.

The Canons can sit as soon as the last of them has been praised… 
The rule of Nicaea subsists in filigree in the Roman ritual… 
In fact, for the candlestick of Darkness… 
Many girls Updates to the tomb to be found in churches served the ceremony…

Monday, December 5, 2016

Ninth Anniversary

I began this blog (which hasn't been kept up very often for a long time now) nine years ago, on the feast of that great monastic saint, Venerable Sabbas the Sanctified (σιος Σάββας γιασμένος), to whom I have since learnt is attributed the Typicon or set of directions for the liturgical rites of the Byzantine Liturgy – how appropriate for unworthy me, who often acts as M.C., directs a choir, prays the Office, etc. I was delighted to find his commemoration among the texts of the EF Mass today. May anything of good blogged here be attributed to Divine Providence through his intercession; may all the bad be forgiven me by the Lord at his prayers.

I was recently privileged to serve Mass for Fr Pius, who has recently moved to Tasmania to found a traditional Benedictine monastery with the blessing of our beloved Archbishop; to this end, I turn in prayer to St Sabbas, himself a great founder of monasteries, in the words of another famous monastic founder, Abbot Guéranger, from his masterwork The Liturgical Year (Vol. I, p. 337):

O Sabas, “thou man of desires” (Dan. x, 11)! in thy expectation of that Lord, who has bid His servants watch until He come (cf. Matt. xxiv. 42), thou didst withdraw into the desert, fearing lest the turmoil of the world might distract thy mind from its God. Have pity on us who are living in the world, and are so occupied in the affairs of that world, and yet who have received the commandment, which thou didst so take to heart, of keeping ourselves in readiness for the coming of our Saviour and our Judge. Pray for us, that when He comes we may be worthy to go out to meet Him (cf. Matt. xxv, 6). Remember also the monastic state, of which thou art one of the brightest ornaments; raise it up again from its ruins; let its children be men of prayer and faith, as of old; let thy spirit be among them, and the Church thus regain, by thy intercession, all the glory which is reflected on her from the sublime perfection of this holy state.

Amen, so be it!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Birthday, Confession and First Communion

Again my birthday has rolled around, my forty-second; I seem to recall that "42" was alleged in a sci-fi novel to be 'the answer' to life, the universe and everything, which raised the issue of what the question was in the first place! 

Today being Saturday, I had a nice sleep-in after a pleasant eve-of-birthday dinner with family at the local Chinese restaurant last night; then it was off to Confession at Apostles as is my weekly custom… I had hoped to be early enough to be first in line (I believe strongly in being as quick and to the point as possible when confessing), and arrived just before the priest at 10 am, but as it was I was fourth, and didn't get out of the box till twenty past. At least I had time to say Mattins and pray a little more whilst waiting.

Then I had to drive as fast as lawfully allowed to Glengarry, where (at the little country church of St Canice – "in-the-fields", as Fr Allan used to say) I was expected to sing at a special Missa cantata for the First Communion of the daughter of some friends of mine. I was also bringing the Mass booklets for the congregation, the music for the rest of the choir, the altar cards and the altar missal! 

Luckily, after I arrived, I found that Mass wasn't going to start strictly on time after all, so I could relax. However, I did have a near-miss: for when rushing to put the altar cards in place, I leaned the central card against the crucifix as usual, only to have the crucifix fall backwards against the stained-glass window behind the altar, somehow avoiding breaking it, but bending the crucifix (though Fr Suresh was able to bend it back into shape).

The Mass – of St Elizabeth of Hungary, with commemoration of Pope St Pontian – was beautiful: beforehand, we sang Veni Creator Spiritus; we psalm-toned the Propers, chanted the Messe Royale for the Ordinary, and during the Offertory sang Jesu dulcis memoria, after Communion, Ave verum, during the Last Gospel, the simple Salve, and for a recessional, Faber's devout hymn, "Jesus, my Lord, my God, my all". It was good to sing with the choir, since the 2nd M.C. had come up from Hobart, so I didn't have to serve as I usually do. Fr Suresh preached a special sermon about the Blessed Eucharist, especially for our first communicant. Afterward, in the adjoining church hall, we had a delightful celebration.

Of your charity, please pray for Peter, the father of an old friend I met at the First Communion party: I was shocked to learn that he is very ill with cancer.

I drove home along some of the quiet country roads in the district, through patches of bushland interspersed with farmland. Family members had given me a bottle of gin for my birthday, so I had a G&T once I got back, to celebrate. Then, it was time for some gardening, before heading off to the parish Vigil Mass of Christ the King (I sang with the choir, and read the first reading). Somewhat oddly, I then had Mexican for tea. All in all, a happy birthday.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Back from Christus Rex

Once again, I've walked as part of the Christus Rex Pilgrimage from Ballarat to Bendigo – this was my eighth. This year, the main trial was a plague of mosquitoes, particularly on the last day; I've never known mosquitoes like it. But of course the holy pilgrimage itself found its culmination and raison d'être in the solemn celebration of the traditional form of the Mass: a pre-pilgrimage Requiem High Mass on the Thursday evening at Ballarat Cathedral; the morning Votive High Mass of the Holy Cross, with commemoration of SS Simon and Jude, Apostles, early on the Friday morning; the beautiful midday Mass of Our Lady on Saturday; the afternoon Pontifical High Mass of Christ the King; and the Monday morning High Mass, this year of the Vigil of All Saints. In addition, as usual, I assisted my former parish priest, Fr Rowe, by serving his Low Mass on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday; this meant I missed a bit of each day's walk, which wasn't so bad! The camaraderie of the pilgrimage was itself a great blessing, as it affords me the chance to catch up with old friends I rarely see these days. I have already booked my accommodation for next year. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Contra Kasper

...the Lord was witness to the covenant between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Has not the one God made and sustained for us the spirit of life? And what does he desire? Godly offspring. So take heed to yourselves, and let none be faithless to the wife of his youth. "For I hate divorce, says the Lord the God of Israel, and covering one's garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So take heed to yourselves and do not be faithless."

"...I will draw near to you for judgment; I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow and the orphan, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts. For I the Lord do not change…"

— Malachi 3:14-16; 4:5-6 [RSV]