28 February 2009
27 February 2009
Therefore, Philothea, we must enlarge our contrition as much as possible, so that it may embrace everything that is connected with sin.
If we don't approach life with a heart full of contrition, then how do we move toward the unapproachable light? Only with contrition can we learn to forgive ourselves and let His light shine in all the dark places, and then conversion begins to take place as we are born anew.
Talk of Henry; I am under pressure to produce the Dean's Diary. This is an article, which I need to write, to go into this year's Osctian magazine. They are available via our website, see my previous post about this. Henry is our most noble Editor for this year's production.
Tomorrow is an extremely busy day, culminating in a public talk by Gerald O'Collins SJ, here at Oscott. If you are in the area, then you would be most welcome to come along. It starts at 8pm, is free, and you don't have to book. We end with Compline, usually about 9.30pm. Fr O'Collins is talking about"What do we really owe St. Paul?" There is more information here.
With this in mind, I'm off to pray and prepare for the day ahead.
26 February 2009
25 February 2009
24 February 2009
Some news, that will follow, in the next day or so...
Excellent news on the appointment of Archbishop Timothy Dolan as the new Archbishop of New York. I say Dolan for pope, and you heard it here first!
Great exhibition at St Chad's cathedral including a facsimile copy of the Turin shroud. All being well, I will be able to get down to see it in the next day or so and will write more then.
Prayers are much in need for Fr Tim Finnegan, he of The Hermeneutic of Continuity fame, after being savaged somewhat by The Tablet.
Stay strong in your faith, and pray often.
23 February 2009
21 February 2009
20 February 2009
17 February 2009
The particle, whose existence has been predicted by theoreticians, would help to explain why matter has mass.
16 February 2009
Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:- Knowing when to come in out of the rain;- Why the early bird gets the worm;- Life isn’t always fair;- and maybe it was my fault.
Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).
His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.
Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.
Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement. Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, I Want It Now, Someone Else Is To Blame, and I’m A Victim.
15 February 2009
'From my own limited experience I have found that the greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion.
'The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater our own sense of well-being becomes. Cultivating a close, warm-hearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. This helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the ultimate source of success in life.
'As long as we live in this world we are bound to encounter problems. If, at such times, we lose hope and become discouraged, we diminish our ability to face difficulties. If, on the other hand, we remember that it is not just ourselves but every one who has to undergo suffering, this more realistic perspective will increase our determination and capacity to overcome troubles. Indeed, with this attitude, each new obstacle can be seen as yet another valuable opportunity to improve our mind!
'Thus we can strive gradually to become more compassionate, that is we can develop both genuine sympathy for others' suffering and the will to help remove their pain. As a result, our own serenity and inner strength will increase.'
14 February 2009
Really, this Mass is a wonderful way for children to develop a relationship with God. And children have a capacity for apprehending mysteries that can elude the rest of us.How often do we think about how children experience the divine? What occurs to them during mass? Just how does the Lord talk to them at this time? I recall a priest with whom I was on placement saying, when a child cried out during mass, how wonderful to hear the children talking to God. In an instance it took the embarrassed parent from social leper to the centre of the focus of those gathered in a positive and inclusive way.
13 February 2009
Be calm but vigilant, because your enemy the devil is prowling round like a roaring lion, looking for someone to eat. Stand up to him, strong in faith.
12 February 2009
After its discovery in c.1911, the silver gilt artifact was believed to have been the Holy Grail, the cup used by Christ at the Last Supper.
Though not the purpose of our visit to this fine institution, I did rather enjoy a short time in the remodelled 18th century fine rooms! Exquisite and a wonderful space to boot. If you have the chance, go and see Frith's, Private View at the Royal Academy. It is a wonderful oil painting of late 19th century figures who were most unlikely to ever be in the same room at the same time! Oscar Wilde stands almost next to Lily Langrty and a few feet from Gladstone, whilst a portrait of Disraeli hangs in the distance. Worth the visit for this alone.
We were also able to have a tour of Westminster Abbey, which, strangely enough, I had never been to before. Overall, I was left with the impression that it was now something of a mausoleum housing the great and the good of post-Reformation Britain. Distinctly eerie and gloomy. Almost lifeless, if you'll excuse the pun. The place is, however, full of wonderful history. I had no idea that Elizabeth I lies atop Mary Tudor, nor indeed that Mary, Queen of Scots, lies buried on the opposite side of the chapel. Fascinating. The absolute gem, for me, was to visit the Shrine of St Edward and say some prayers. He's always been one of my favourites; a most English saint.
Finally, of mention, if not in fact the absolute spiritual highlight was to join the parish in celebrating mass at Westminster Cathedral. We were also able to have a few words with His Eminence, the Cardinal before our celebration. Again, more prayers to be said at the tomb of his predecessor, Basil Hume.
So, all told, a day of favourites, saints, humour, shopping (tea at Fortnum and Mason, don't you know), praying and communion.
St Edward, The Confessor. Ora pro nobis.
11 February 2009
9 February 2009
8 February 2009
I don't recall who said that, but today it has been on my mind. Having recently become a blogger, and spending not a little time surfing around on other peoples blogs, I decided to take some soundings and advice about what I could usefully blog about. Opinion is quite mixed on the merits of blogging, and I have been quite surprised in how much my opinion has changed in recent days.
Firstly, I was set against this concept of the modern media and, what I perceived at least, the need to be out there and telling your story. Like anyone really wants to know. This is a reflection of my own self-centredness. What I suppose I meant was I don't want to know. You know, it's really very interesting, what people write about. Secondly, the quality of blogs is very varied. Very varied indeed. Whether you think they are interesting, stimulating, boring, dull or just plain daft, they are people's stories and that makes them interesting.
One person said, to me, something like, never has so little been said by so many, and he is correct. There is, on the surface, a lot to get through. Many, many blogs and thousands upon thousands of words; more than you might imagine. I have to confess that I have spent far too much time reading blogs of late. Already I am starting to be quite fast to form an opinion that reading this or that is not a productive use of my time. What is productive time, though? And who gets to make the qualitative judgment?
Here our core values begin to kick in. For me, at least, that is a measure against which I judge my life to be useful or not. Asking myself the very simple question: Is this building the Kingdom of God? If yes, then carry on, but if no, then do something that is. You are either building or you are not.
Pope Benedict tells us to tell our stories, to share our values, and this is the proclamation of the Kingdom. This is building. The third mystery of light (as introduced by his predecessor) allies building with repentance. I am so very much looking forward to Lent for all sorts of reasons. Lent is a great time to take some space, to pray and to prepare for the coming of the Resurrection. This Lent I plan to do all three of these things. Do you? I wonder, what will you be doing for Lent this year?
Now, the logic of my opening statement is, of course, say nothing. To quote Ronan Keating, "you say it best, when you say nothing at all." Be still and let the Lord talk.
7 February 2009
Basically, the main problem of all liturgical theology is how do we justify the claims that we make for Christian liturgy? How can we say in the churches, the apostolic churches that have a high Christology – my Christology is so high it’d give you a nosebleed – a high Christology, in other words, which believes that Jesus Christ is the eternal Word of God who became incarnate, as in the teaching of the ecumenical councils, that he preexisted before all time, and that Jesus Christ is the main protagonist, as head of his body, of our liturgical services – and that’s what gives them the reality that we assign to them.
In other words, that we say that it is Christ acting through the indwelling of his spirit in the Church who is the main protagonist of the liturgy. It’s not the Church that does it, separate from Christ. Liturgical celebrations are celebrations of the entire body of Christ, and the main celebrant of the liturgy, so to speak, is Christ himself. But the point of liturgy is that we are supposed to become what we celebrate. The purpose of the Eucharist isn’t to change bread and wine into Jesus Christ, it’s to change you and me into Jesus Christ – that’s what it’s all about. We are supposed to become the word of comfort and forgiveness, we are supposed to become the bread of life for the world, we are supposed to become the healing oil – and by 'we,' I don’t mean just the ordained, [but] all Christians. So there’s no possibility of separating liturgy and spirituality.
Liturgy is simply the mirror of what we are supposed to be, so that when we leave the liturgical assembly, we are supposed to go out and be what it is that we celebrate. That’s why St. Paul never once uses sacral terminology, like 'sacrifice,' 'offering,' 'liturgy,' 'priesthood' and so forth for anything except Christian life in Christ. What we do in church is simply the initiation into, and the feeding, and the restoration, if it’s lost by sin, and the intensification through preaching and the sacraments of what we’re supposed to be. If we don’t become it, we might as well stay in bed on Sunday morning, because what we’re doing is just a comedy.
So liturgy and spirituality are one – they can’t be separated, can’t be separated, or if they are separated, then we have, we have sucked all of the meaning out of what the liturgy is supposed to be. So the purpose of liturgy is that we become that which it exemplifies. Liturgy holds up to us the model of Christian life. What’s the model of Christian life? What do we put on the altar? We put on bread that was broken, and blood that was poured out, as signs of what we are supposed to be. When we put the bread on the altar and the chalice on the altar as the signs which will become through the invocation of the Holy Spirit the body that was broken for us and the blood that pours out to – we’re saying, 'I’m doing this because this is what I know I’m supposed to be.' And if that’s not why we’re doing it, why bother? What good is it?
6 February 2009
Mackenzie Allen Philips' youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his great sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgement he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack's world forever. In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant THE SHACK wrestles with the timeless question, 'Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?' The answers Mack gets will astound you and perhaps transform you as much as it did him. You'll want everyone you know to read this book!
Pictured (L-R) are Canon Mervyn Tower, Bishop David McGough, Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Bishop Philip Pargeter, Canon Michael Neylon and Bishop William Kenny.
Congratulations to both, but especially to Fr Mervyn, who taught me several courses in Old Testament scripture study. The usual caveats apply, any ignorance is on my lack of attention and by no means his excellent skills as a Tutor. Fr Mervyn 'retired' from teaching at Oscott last year, again. Very sadly missed by all.
Fr Mervyn also led a pilgrimage to the Holy Land last summer, on which I was lucky enough to be a participant. It was truly wonderful. Who knows, I may even publish an article I have written for the forthcoming Oscotian magazine, here on this blog. Copies are available via the Oscott Website.
[If you would like a copy] Then just send a cheque, made out to “Oscott College” for the sum of £2.50 (inc. P&P). If you would like to subscribe to the 2009 edition of the Oscotian Magazine please add a note to that effect. And send to: Oscotian Editor, Oscott College, Chester Road, Sutton Coldfield, B73 5AA, UK.
5 February 2009
4 February 2009
3 February 2009
LOLSaints was created in early 2009 by Jeff Geerling in response to a Twitter posting by CurtJester.
Every day, we'll be posting a new saint, along with a quick and easy-to-digest bio of that saint. (This site is obviously indebted to I Can Haz Cheeseburger?, a site which rose to Internet stardom quite a while ago due to their very funny LOLcats pictures.)
On each February 3 the blessing of St. Blaise is given: two candles are consecrated, generally by a prayer, these are then held in a crossed position by a priest over the heads of the faithful or the people are touched on the throat by them. At the same time the following blessing is given: "Per intercessionem S. Blasii liberet to Deus a malo gutteris et a qouvis alio malo." ("May God at the intercession of St. Blaise preserve you from throat troubles and every other evil.")
It seems his system of writing is closely matched to the way the Internet works. Particularly funny, I thought, was what Peter Jones had to say, writing in The Telegraph, about Isidore's works.
Derivations apart, it was lifted from sources almost entirely at second or third hand (the Romans had been writing encyclopedias since the 2nd century BC), none of it
checked, and much of it unconditional eyewash - the Internet, in other words, to a T.
St Charles Borromeo parish, in Picayune MS, tells us that it was through a commission from the Pontifical Council for Social Communications that Isidore was eventually identified the best man for the job!
St Isidore, pray for us.
2 February 2009
1 February 2009
Inflamed with the spirit of an apostle, Venerable Bruno Lanteri founded the Congregation of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary in 1826 in northern Italy. He taught the Oblates to examine attentively the "signs of the times", to better guide men and women to find the answers they seek in Christ. The vision he lived is the vision we embrace.