Sunday, June 4, 2017

Contra Paganos Again

Again we must pray against the pagans, that is, against terrorists who may as well worship a demon (since it is to Hell's depths they have been damned, barring a prodigy of grace efficacious to convert such atrocious sinners in their dying moments as they were shot). I spent the whole time driving to Hobart and back today listening on the ABC radio to nothing but coverage of the terrorist attack in London, so this is in the forefront of my mind.

Yet, as our priest reminded us today in an aside during his sermon, if we consider our own sins, we know that, but for God's forbearance and mercy, we ourselves would already have fallen into Hell – as Dathan and Abiron, who in their mad pride had outrageously sinned against the Lord by daring to offer unholy fire, went down alive into Hell (Numbers xvi, 33).

All have sinned and fallen short of God's glory, but are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans iii, 23f); else nothing but sin, Satan, death and Hell await us. Repent, pray, and pray for the conversion of all sinners!

I attach a link to last year's post, and append herewith extracts from the writings of St Maximus of Turin, who preached to his people, afflicted by the impending advance of barbarian invaders, in words which may help at this time of crisis and fear:
From the Sermons of St Maximus of Turin.
(Sermons 83, 1; 85, 1-2; 86, 1; 85, 3; 86, 3)
I remember having frequently said that we should not fear any warlike disturbances nor be frightened at any great multitude of foes since, as the Lord [sic; lege St John] says (1 John 4:4), “The one who is in us is greater than the one who is in this world”; that is to say, Christ is more powerful to protect his servants than the devil is to provoke our enemies. For although this same devil collects mobs for himself and arms them with cruel rage, nonetheless they are easily destroyed because the Saviour surrounds his people with superior auxiliaries, as the prophet says (Psalm 33:8): “The angel of the Lord comes round about those who fear him, and he will save them.” If the angel of the Lord snatches those who fear him from dangers, then one who fears the Saviour cannot fear the barbarians, nor can one who observes the precepts of Christ be afraid of the onslaught of the foe. These are our weapons, with which the Saviour has outfitted us: prayer, mercy, and fasting. For fasting is a surer protection than a rampart, mercy saves more easily than pillage, and prayer wounds from a greater distance than an arrow, for an arrow only strikes the person of the adversary at close range, while a prayer even wounds an enemy who is far away.  
Perhaps you are anxious, brethren, at the fact that we hear continually of the tumult of wars and the onslaught of battles, and perhaps your love is still more anxious inasmuch as these are taking place in our times. But this is the reason: the closer we are to the destruction of the world, the closer we are to the kingdom of the Saviour. For the Lord himself says: “In the last days nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. But when you see wars and earthquakes and famines, know that the kingdom of God is at hand.” (Cf. Luke 21:9-11,31.) This nearness of wars, then, demonstrates to us rather that Christ is near. Therefore I must not be afraid of the approaching adversary, since by these signs do I understand instead that the Saviour is approaching, for although the one induces a temporal fear, yet the other will bring an eternal salvation. The same Lord, however, is powerful both to drive from us fear of the foes and to bestow on us his own presence. By these warlike disturbances, then, the destruction of the world is somehow signified, for this unrest precedes the future judgement of God. 
Your love remembers that we preached that by good actions and constant prayers we may open to ourselves the gates of righteousness (cf. Psalm 117:19) and that by frequent almsgiving we may fortify ourselves as with a rampart of mercy. For to resist by almsgiving and to struggle by fasting are indeed an impregnable wall against the adversary. For although the enemy’s weapons may be powerful, nonetheless these weapons of the Saviour are stronger. If anyone is armed with them, even though he appear defenceless in the eyes of human beings, he is nonetheless adequately armed because the most high Divinity is guarding him. In tribuation then, it is good to pray, to fast, to sing psalms, and to be merciful, for by these weapons Christians are accustomed to conquer their adversaries; by these arms they are accustomed to guard the bulwarks of the city. For the holy prophet says (Psalm 126:1): “Unless the Lord guard the city, those who guard it keep watch in vain.” At the same time this teaches us that victory is not to be hoped for from arms alone but is to be prayed for in the name of the Saviour. Therefore, brethren, let us arm ourselves throughout this week with fasts, prayers, and vigils so that, when the mercy of God comes upon us, we may hold back the savagery of the barbarians.

Thirty Years in the Church of Rome

Veni, Sancte Spiritus! Today being Pentecost Sunday, I will drive down to Hobart and M.C. the Missa cantata at Sacred Heart. Today being Pentecost Sunday, I mark the thirtieth anniversary of my Baptism, Confirmation and first Communion on this same beloved feast in 1987, albeit that Pentecost fell on the 7th of June that year (I keep the anniversary on the feast itself, but will also celebrate on Whit Wednesday of this week, being the exact date). In all but a few words, I repeat what I wrote last year: while I have very little to show for thirty years as a Catholic Christian, that is because of my sins and backsliding; but grace is greater than all, so I must give all glory to God for having blessed me so abundantly with the grace of the Holy Spirit in Christ Jesus our Lord. Te Deum laudamus!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Sequence for the Most Holy Heart of Mary

I believe this Sequence, once used in the Diocese of Coutances, is attributed to St John Eudes:

1. Lætabunda,
Canant pie,
Corda cuncta,
Cor Mariæ.
2. Cor amandum,
Omni corde:
Cor laudandum,
Omni mente.

3. Cor æterni Numinis
En factum est Virginis
Cor æternum.
4. Hæc est Virgo sapiens,
Hæc est Virgo rapiens
Cor divinum.

5. Consors Patris dexteræ
Fit Matris Deiparæ
Cor et Natus.
6. Flos cordis Altissimi,
Flos cordis Virginei,
Flos et fructus.

7. Cordis nostri gaudium,
Exili solatium,
Cor Mariæ.
8. Amoris miraculum,
Charitatis speculum,
Liber vitæ.

9. Fons vivus charismatum,
Thesaurus fidelium,
Thronus Christi.
10. Rubus ignem proferens,
Incombustus permanens,
Fornax cæli.

11. O fornax mirifica,
In te manent socia,
Ros et flamma.
12. Ros mire vivificans,
Flamma beatificans
Corda pura.

13. Infundatur omnibus
Ros ille pectoribus,
Accendatur cordibus
Flamma sacra.
14. O Jesu Cor Mariæ,
Ros, ignis, fons gratiæ,
Ure, purga, posside
Corda cuncta. 

15. O amor, propera,
Ubique impera
In terris ut super sidera.
16. Nova præcordia,
Nova fac omnia,
Ut Jesum laudent cum Maria.
Amen. Alleluja.

Monday, April 3, 2017

First of April, Third of May

We normally have a Sunday evening Missa cantata here in Launceston on the second Sunday of each month; however, as next Sunday is Palm Sunday, a day of great liturgical exertions, our chaplain drove up from Hobart a week earlier, so we could celebrate Passion Sunday on the first Sunday, which was yesterday, the 2nd of April. Next month, something similar obtains: to avoid clashing with parish missions, the Missa cantata will be celebrated on the third Sunday, the 21st of May. As April has five Sundays this year, this means that six Sundays will intervene between our two Missæ cantatæ. I do hope those who weren't present at Mass yesterday evening hadn't missed out through their own fault by not reading the schedule! I didn't send any reminder messages as I have in the past. And people will have to pay attention to find out when the next Mass occurs, given this latest change to our schedule.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Las Huelgas

Las Huelgas was a Royal convent of Cistercian nuns… Until a few years ago one was only allowed to step into the huge bare church and look through the grille into the nuns’ choir. Now the convent of Las Huelgas has been opened by Papal permission, and it is one of the most magically beautiful places in the world. 
…no less extraordinary were the experiences of the commission who came to open the convent… a day or two before the commission left and its work was done, a feast was given to them by the abbess and the nuns. It took place at some strange hour, three or four o’clock in the morning, recalling accounts of audiences given by the Dowager-Empress of China which were at that hour; and the dishes, I was told, were either of an intolerable nastiness, or else quite exquisite in taste but entirely unfamiliar being from probably thirteenth-century recipes.
— Sacheverell Sitwell, Monks, Nuns and Monasteries (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1965), 125 & 127.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Messe Royale and Missa de Angelis

Our small schola has mastered Henri Dumont's Messe Royale, which we have sung at all our monthly Latin Masses since it started; now, owing to a request from the congregation, we are learning the Missa de Angelis (Mass VIII and Credo III). I am aware that this setting of the Ordinary is sometimes done to death, and isn't considered the best nor the purest Gregorian chant, but it remains popular; and it is an introduction to the many other beautiful Gregorian chant Masses.

We also returned to an old favourite tonight: the Passiontide Vesper hymn, Vexilla Regis prodeunt.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Latest Launceston Monthly Mass

I haven't blogged about many of our monthly Latin Masses up here in Launceston, but thought I might mention that all continues as usual: our little choir psalm-tones the Propers, sings the Messe Royale for the Ordinary (we are starting to learn the Missa de Angelis, while I hope for us also to learn Dumont's Mass in the sixth tone) – accompanied on the organ – and adds suitable chanted pieces as motets for Offertory and Communion (this Sunday, Attende Domine and Ave verum). We have adopted the custom of singing a Marian anthem during the Last Gospel (Ave Regina cælorum at present), before a final hymn in the vernacular. Our slender resources mean that I first run the choir practice, then proceed to serve the Mass alongside Adrian, who acts as the thurifer. But best of all we thus have a simple but complete Missa cantata, doing the maximum not giving in to minimalism. Fr Suresh very kindly drives up each month – next month, he will come for the first Sunday, as he will be very busy down South for Holy Week – and celebrates Mass for us with devotion and attention, not to mention preaches a good strong sermon. Tomorrow morning, being a public holiday, he will say Low Mass at 8 am rather than 7, which Mass I will serve. So we are all very blessed: Deo gratias et Mariæ.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Colebrook Again

As I live closer to Colebrook than Hobart, I drove to St Patrick's Church again this Sunday, though earlier in the day, as the monks (I mean, Fr Prior and the pre-postulants) planned to sing Terce at 9:45 am, followed by their sung Mass at 10 am, and, as it transpired, the office of Sext a little before noon. 

Being able to join in their solemn, public worship by attending both those Little Hours was a great privilege, as was participating in the supernatural joy of the Missa cantata for the First Sunday of Lent, most fitly adorned by their singing of its magnificent Gregorian propers, all taken from Psalm 90 (the only concession to their small numbers being the psalm-toning of the even verses of the Tract, which even so lasted about six minutes), not to mention the chanting of Mass XVII and Credo I. I was able to join confidently in the Ordinary, all the responses and also the Introit, which shares its melody with that of Trinity Sunday, whose chant I learnt long years ago.

Please do join in prayer that the monastic community of Notre Dame Priory finds its permanent home soon. St Joseph, pray for us.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Quinquagesima at Colebrook

I had a meeting to attend in Colebrook this afternoon, and, having found out that Fr Pius hoped to celebrate Mass at the church there, decided to shave 50 km off my usual drive to the Latin Mass in Hobart, plus make my meeting in good time, by going to the Priory Mass at 11 am at St Patrick's. It was nice to have a later start in the morning and an easier drive…

Because the beautifully restored Pugin-designed church has an intact rood screen, and the front pews have been placed antiphonally with the choir lectern in the midst for the monastic Office, taking my place in the first of the pews placed lengthwise across the church I had a view as it were into the gem-studded casket that is the sanctuary, within which space, and most especially before the altar, the holy of holies at its upper end, the sacred liturgy unfolded before me and the others in the congregation.


The Prior was the celebrant, and his first five candidates the servers, of the Missa cantata, preceded by the Asperges as usual. I was moved by the engaging detail that Fr Pius led the singing of the Gregorian Propers and Ordinary (Mass XI & Credo I), with the rest of the servers forming the choir – he himself sang the Gradual alone, and psalm-toned the Tract (the only concession to their small numbers). 

Father preached – as one would expect – a detailed, focussed and liturgically-illuminated homily, reminding us that the Lord in today's Gospel foretells his Passion and Resurrection, while the Apostle emphasises in the Epistle, given our Lenten penance about to begin, that all our doings without charity are worthless. 

After Mass, the altar party moved to the Lady Altar, where before Our Lady of Colebrook they sang Sub tuum, before invoking Our Lady of Cana, praying the following prayer to St Joseph for the success of their just-established monastic foundation, and finally invoking St Mary of the Cross, before returning to the sacristy.
Prayer to St Joseph attributed to St Francis de Sales 
Glorious Saint Joseph, Spouse of Mary, grant us, we beseech thee, thy paternal protection, through the Heart of Jesus Christ. O thou whose infinite power reaches out to all our needs, rendering possible for us that which is impossible, look upon the concerns of thy children with thy fatherly countenance. In the troubles and sorrows that afflict us, we have confident recourse to thee. Deign to take under thy loving protection this important and difficult endeavour, the cause of our worries, and dispose its success to the glory of God and to the benefit of His faithful servants. Amen.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

St Maravillas

Friends in Hobart swear by St Maravillas – they always get a parking spot when they invoke her. St Maria de las Maravillas de Jesus (Mary of the Marvels of Jesus), famous spiritual daughter of St Teresa, reviver of her spirit, and ornament of Carmel (1891-1974), certainly has the most suitable name when it comes to praying for God to intervene, be it for small or great favours; here is my prayer to her:

Aña. Cantate Domino canticum novum, quia mirabilia fecit. 
V. Magna et mirabilia sunt opera tua, Domine Deus omnipotens.
R. Justæ et veræ sunt viæ tuæ, Rex sæculorum. 
Oremus. 
Domine Deus, qui magnalia fecisti pro nobis: concede propitius, intercessione beatæ Mariæ de Mirabilibus Jesu, ut videamus mirabilia hodie. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. R. Amen. 
****** 
Ant. Sing unto the Lord a new song: for he hath worked wonders. (Ps. 97, 1) 
V. Great and wonderful are thy works, O Lord God Almighty.
R. Just and true are thy ways, O King of the ages. (Apoc. 15, 3) 
Let us pray. 
O Lord God, who hast done great things for us (cf. Ps. 125, 3), graciously grant, at the intercession of blessed Maria Maravillas of Jesus, that we may see wonders today (cf. Luke 5, 26), through the same Christ our Lord. R. Amen.

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.