Saturday, 15 December 2007

From the perspective of humility

This is what the original statue of Our Lady of Walsingham may have looked like after it was dragged to London in 1539, by Royal Decree, to be burned on Chelsea Old Bridge, along with the statues of Our Lady of Glastonbury, Doncaster and Coventry. The statue of Our Lady Vulnerata (wounded), originally in the Jesuit church in Cadiz was broken and spoiled there by English soldiers of Drake's warring squadron in 1586. It is now enshrined above the high altar in the English College, Valladolid, where she is honoured weekly, and annually with her own Feast Day. Smashed up as it is, this is the image of she who, as B16 has said, opened up the windows of the world to let the light in. Not surprisingly she is honoured still by many.
But in one long slow blow England went from being part of a Universal Communion to become a religion of museum culture and of shopping. Yet still the Holy Spirit insists on our company, and during this Advent there "are those whose interior sensitivity enables them to see and hear the subtle signs that God sends into the world to break the dictatorship of convention." (B16, "Jesus of Nazareth) The Festival of Consumption is almost over. Keep watch!

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bravo to the sentiments on consumption! However, the sack of Cadiz in which the Vulnerata was seized was led by Essex and was in 1596; and the statue in question was made of stone not wood and (if the pictures on the Walsingham Shrine seals are to be believed), in a quite different posture so it probably did not look similar; and the Walsingham image was burnt, not mutilated. Along with all the other images of the Blessed Virgin that were sent to London, it would probably have been kept intact so as to be recognized when it was put on the fire, burnt as human heretics or martyrs were in that brutal time, an identification to be pondered on. So your indignation is shared but I am sure Our Lady would prefer her praises to be made with facts as well as sentiment.

Fr Richard Aladics said...

Let's hope your facts are right then.

james hastings said...

Hi Fr Richard,
I wonder if you could clarify something for me and many other non-Catholics. Like you, we accept Mary is a Blessed woman, a wonderful example of unshakable faith in God. If she had not said 'yes' to God then Jesus would not have been born.But if Joseph had not said 'yes' to God, then Mary and Jesus would very likely have been stoned and killed.
Mary raised Jesus, nurtured and taught him. But so did Joseph. Both plaid similar roles, yet Mary gets more recognition. I know Joseph is honoured by Catholics but nowhere near the same amount as Mary. Why not?

Blessings

James

Fr Richard Aladics said...

St Joseph is honoured, but in a more hidden way than Our Lady. Loads of priests, myself included, say particular prayers to him every day before Mass. He is named in the Mass. Loads of small Catholic communities are dedicated under his patronage. Families look to him. He is a real man: he was a servant. He served God's plan to his own detriment. Look deeper and there you will find St Joseph. Look deeper and there you will find also the way to embrace God's plan for you.

bernadette said...

The crib in St Peter's Square, usually unveiled on Christmas Eve, is reportedly going to be slightly different this year with St Joseph's role being given greater prominence. More info on the Zenit news service from Rome. Sounds interesting. Well, the Pope's name IS Joseph....

james hastings said...

Thanks, Fr Richard. But may I ask you to explain a little more?
Why does Mary enjoy a higher position than Joseph? They both said 'yes' to God; they were both crucial to His plan; they both raised and nurtured Jesus. Yet Mary receives far more prominance in the Catholic church. Why?

Blessings

James

Fr Richard Aladics said...

The answer James lies in God's plan for the Incarnation and the Redemption. Christ took up Joseph into his redeeming life just as Christ does with us, but the Blessed Mother had been given a privilaged place in the Redemption - she is the co-redemptrix. Our Lady is a mother in the order of Grace; Joseph is the 'just man' who Christ needed so that he could truly be born into a real human lineage. But Joseph is not a Father in the order of Grace. Even so it is he who is the patron of the Universal Church - he is placed to obtain for us the blessing of God.

james hastings said...

Fr Richard,
Well, you might not expect me to agree with that. But it is your blog, so you can have the last word!
As a Catholic, I was taught about the Holy Faimily of Nazareth. They were the model family for Catholics to follow.
Yet, it was emphasised that Mary and Joseph never had sex or any more children, even though sex within marriage is a God given gift, as are children.
I wondered if Mary and Joseph kissed, cuddled or were even attracated to each other. Did they share moments of intimicy, not sexual, just walking together and sitting up late talking like married couples do?
It seemed as if Joseph was the head of a male religious order and Mary the Mother Superior of a female religious order who just happened to be connected by Jesus. Not a very 'traditional' Catholic family, so how could they be a model to follow

I repeat, Mary and Joseph both played crucial roles in salvation history. Both their 'yes' to God were equally important, but the medieval Italian celibite church gave her a role Scripture never intended. Its no coincidence that the rosary was invented by St Dominic is the 12th century, at the height of chivalry.
Anyway, you probably think I'm writing nonsense, so I'll leave your blog at this point.

May God bless you, your parish, your bishop, your pope and all your family and friends this Christmas. May He give you every spiritual blessings in the Holy Name of Jesus.

James

Fr Richard Aladics said...

Grace doesn't come from nature, nor does celebacy. Yet celebacy is nearer to the Mystery of Christ than is marriage, which is why Mary is the model of the Church, and why celebacy springs from apostolic rather than mediaeval times. The Holy Family is a top model for families to follow precisely because the Holy Family allowed grace rather than nature to guide their lives. Because of that, in spite of the most unpromising circumstances which railed against the Holy Family, a universal religion has sprung; the Church has been established on earth.

Fr Richard Aladics said...

For 'celebacy' read 'celibacy'.