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Showing posts from 2020

Medieval Squints and Adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament

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The term “ocular communion” is a new one to me, but I can see what is meant by it, and I liked Fr Z’s treatment on his blog yesterday, to which I refer you if you are puzzled by it. ASK FATHER: Ocular Communion. His post concludes with the excellent point,
"While sacramental, physical Communion is wonderful for those who are in the state of grace, there is a great deal to be said for looking with longing on the Host, at the elevation or exposed. It could be part of a process of a return to the state of grace or else of far better sacramental Communions." The practice of elevating the Sacred Host after the consecration developed in response to the development of the doctrine of the real presence. Although this is usually dealt with in sacramental theology, it can be forgotten in the rush to deprecate medieval devotion, that the development of doctrine came about because of theological errors that needed to be corrected. Chief among these was the error of Berengarius who mai…

The Vesting Prayers and Recollection in the Sacristy

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Before celebrating Holy Mass, the priest should be recollected in the sacristy, thinking prayerfully of what he is about to do: to offer the Holy Sacrifice in the person of Christ, the sacrifice by which our sins are taken away, and to consecrate the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ which he will receive in Holy Communion.

Others in the sacristy who are about to assist should also be led in a spirit of recollection, helped to reflect prayerfully on what they are about to do. If this is common, everyday practice, people learn that it is not the time right now to come in with matters of practical business, a comment on the day’s news, or a funny story that they just heard. It isn’t that such things are wrong in themselves, or that the priest has to get cross or make people feel uncomfortable. If the custom is to have quiet and recollection in the sacristy, then most people get to “read” that. We can be patient and kindly to those who don't.

It is helpful for the ser…

Saint John Fisher, the Cardinal Martyr and inspiration to the young

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The feast of Saints John Fisher and Thomas More is celebrated today in England and Wales (the anniversary of St John Fisher's martyrdom) in the modern calendar and on 6 July (the anniversary of St Thomas More's martyrdom) for those who celebrate the traditional Latin Mass.

The Redemptorist Fr Bridgett's 1890 "Life of Blessed John Fisher" tells of how the Saintly Cardinal Martyr (also in fact the only Cardinal Martyr) was patiently awaiting the time when the writ for his execution would arrive. Finally, Sir Edmund Walsingham, the Lieutenant of the Tower, came to see him just before 5am to break the news. He waffled for a bit about St John Fisher being an old man and therefore not expected to live too much longer anyway - a "good innings" speech about as inappropriate as those usually are. Then let us take up Bridgett's narrative:
[the lieutenant] told him at the last that he was come to signify unto him that the king's pleasure was he should suff…

The Holy Ghost and the meaning of divinely given peace

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A short talk on the Holy Ghost. An astounding moment in the temple and the gift of the Holy Ghost – who is a person and not a force. What peace really means in the texts of the Mass. The refreshing peace, and “refrigerium”. Our presence at the Mass is essential.

(While you are on YouTube, I would be most grateful if you were to click or tap on the button to "Subscribe" to my channel.)

Here is the text if you prefer just to read it:

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[Text] The Holy Ghost and the meaning of divinely given peace
The feast of Tabernacles was a popular feast in Jerusalem. People came from all over the country. They built elaborate tents to stay in, to remind them of the journey of their forefathers through the desert. It was a joyful feast of thanksgiving for the harvest, but also of all the good things that God had given.

Each day, the priests went round the altar and sang “O Lord, save me: O Lord, give good success.” (Ps 177.25) One of the priests came from the pool…

The Counter-Reformation Saints Club and its Natural Leader, St Philip Neri (video talk and text)

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Saint Philip Neri was a friend and mentor of saints. He put his friendly and jocular personality at the service of the apostolate in which he played a part in the vocation of many saint friends in their work for the counter-reformation. His asceticism, love of the confessional and of the Holy Mass, his yearning for the missions and love for the poor were echoed by great saints who lived after him. His influence on the culture is something we can learn from today.

(While you are on YouTube, I would be most grateful if you were to click or tap on the button to "Subscribe" to my channel.)

Here is the text if you prefer just to read it:

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[Text] The Counter-Reformation Saints Club and its Natural Leader, St Philip NeriLaudetur Iesus Christus.
Praised be Jesus Christ.
Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom, pray for us.


Fr Henry Sebastian Bowden of the London Oratory, in his Miniature Lives of the Saints says that the life of St Bernadine was St Philip’s favo…

The Ascension and Heavenly Liturgy (video talk and text)

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What is the Ascension really all about? Is it just an event when Our Lord said Goodbye to the apostles and went up into the sky? In this short talk I look at the way in which Jesus Christ, the great and eternal High Priest fulfilled the feast of the Atonement. By His Ascension, Christ took our humanity into heaven and established the eternal Liturgy in which we participate each day at the Holy Mass. There could be nothing more important for our lives than this living link with heaven.

(While you are on YouTube, I would be most grateful if you were to click or tap on the button to "Subscribe" to my channel.)

Here is the text if you prefer just to read it:

The Ascension and Heavenly Liturgy
Laudetur Iesus Christus.
Praised be Jesus Christ.

Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom, pray for us.


I suspect that for many of you, the feast of the Ascension is a bit of a puzzle. What are we remembering and celebrating? Is this just an interlude between the resurrection and Pentecost? This journey up…

Transcripts for recent videos – “Have it your way!”

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After recently posting two new video talks on YouTube, it occurred to me that often I skip content that comes through various sources: Twitter, Inoreader (which I use to follow people’s blogs), Google news and others. To watch a video takes longer than reading the content.

Interestingly, some podcasts are put out via YouTube as well as the standard podcast apps and people then just listen to the content without being tied to watching the picture. The advantage of having content just to listen to, is that you can be doing something else. In my case, I find that it is useful to listen to podcasts when I am cooking and eating. Essentially it is good to get content to people in whatever way they prefer to access it. Some prefer watching, others prefer listening while they are doing something else.

Many of you may be like me and prefer to read something, thus getting through it much more quickly than hearing it spoken out loud. It makes sense therefore to make my own video content availa…

Video: Fatima, the Rosary, and St Joseph

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Yesterday I recorded a short talk on the anniversary of Our Lady's first appearance at Fatima. After looking at St John Paul's epigrammatic summary of the Rosary, I give some hints on praying the Rosary, and explain why the Rosary is a devotion greatly favoured by the Church. At the end I offer a short reflection on the relationship of St Joseph to the Rosary. I hope you find it helpful.

(While you are on YouTube, I would be most grateful if you were to click or tap on the button to "Subscribe" to my channel.)

Here is the text if you prefer just to read it:
The RosaryLaudetur Iesus Christus.
Praised be Jesus Christ.
Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom, pray for us.
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.


When our Blessed Lady appeared to the three children of Fatima, she insisted repeatedly that they say the Rosary every day and that they encourage others to do so. When she made her last appearance on 13 October 1917, before the astonishing miracle of the sun which was seen by ov…

Video: Lessons from the English Martyrs

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Yesterday was the feast of the English and Welsh Martyrs and so I recorded a sermon in which I considered not only the courage of the martyrs, but also the prejudice, abuse and dirty tricks they were subjected to. It is helpful to remember that the actual experience of the martyrs was not always a simple progress to glory, and to learn from the difficulties they faced. We may also have to face prejudice, lies and nastiness and we should be prepared for that as a part of carrying the cross with our Blessed Lord.

Against this background the verve, spirit, and good humour of the martyrs is all the more inspiring, and a good lesson for us. I hope you enjoy the video.

Here is the text if you prefer just to read it:

TEXT for "Lessons from the English Martyrs"Laudetur Iesus Christus.
Praised be Jesus Christ.
Our Lady, seat of wisdom. Pray for us.

I am speaking to you today from my little domestic chapel in Lewisham which I have informally dedicated to Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom.

Mart…

Overcoming temptations with Christ

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The temptations of Our Lord by the devil in the wilderness are contemptible. The devil fails to understand who Christ is, and appeals to greed and pride. It is ludicrous for the devil to ask Our Lord to worship him, because Our Lord is truly God. It is stupid to offer Christ all the kingdoms of the world – Christ is the creator of the universe. Even His human nature, being sinless, is not vulnerable to temptations to greed and pride.

However the devil returns later “at the appointed time” to torment Our Lord with the weight of all the sins of the human race. This is at the time of the passion of Christ, beginning in the Garden of Gethsemane.

In His infinite love for us, Christ is overwhelmed by the disaster of evil as it has afflicted his beloved children. The anguish of this is even greater than the physical torture of the passion. St Luke tells us that Our Lord sweated blood, a graphic detail which shows the psychological and spiritual agony to which He was subjected. We sometimes …

Popular posts from this blog

Medieval Squints and Adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament

The Holy Ghost and the meaning of divinely given peace

The Vesting Prayers and Recollection in the Sacristy

Saint John Fisher, the Cardinal Martyr and inspiration to the young

How to make an act of perfect contrition