Thursday, 19 March 2015

White Rabbit

Yesterday, on the Vigil of the great feast of St Joseph, I went with a group of youth from the parish to see the Leeds performance by Rise Theatre of "White Rabbit". This very impressive production, written by the Rise Theatre, documents the lives of two young people who are confronting the challenges of contemporary living, and who, according to their own lights, are not faring well. However, the person of God, who is present in their lives throughout the drama, is ultimately recognised and welcomed by both characters, whose lives are transformed by the encounter.
"White Rabbit" is the second production of Rise Theatre which I have experienced; the first being "Soldier to Saint" (a play about St Alban), which I saw a year ago. This small Christian, and very Catholic, theatre company represents a tremendous and very welcome intervention in our culture. The four-member cast are very professional, very gifted, and inspirational actors. They are a joy to watch.
The current play "White Rabbit" conveys a very skillful anti-Pelagian message: the self-improvement project of the secular vision is doomed to failure; we were made for grace, we need grace.
I strongly recommend "White Rabbit" to you, and particularly to young people. And I hope that the Rise Theatre Company goes from strength to strength; they deserve much support. Look them up on their website and check out the remaining dates for the current show:

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Emotional singing.

Each week during Lent we have sung, in the Parish, at the end of Eucharistic Exposition, the hymn "Ave Verum Corpus".
This fourteenth century hymn was written to be sung during the Elevation at Holy Mass; its final phrases are indeed quite emotional, with respect of both the words and the way in which the chant soars.
This Eucharistic hymn seems especially fit for Lent; its words, and its music encompass both Christmas and Easter, but focus on the work of Jesus and His utter dedication to the Father's plan. It is such a beautiful hymn to sing during Lent. We will sing it also throughout the Easter season, when its resonance will be transformed.
We finish with the Lenten anthem to the Blessed Mother. These prayers, and the music which lifts them, are a great grace because they are leading us still into the Mystery.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

The Synod. 8.

The basic motif of modern life is social mobility; economic and cultural freedom to move within society and within the culture. This ethos means that values and structures cannot be thought of as a solid or unchanging framework. Within the secular vision, neither marriage nor the family can be thought of as solid or unchanging elements of life. This certainly puts Christian marriage and family in a position, precisely because in the Christian life marriage and the family are an essential human and Christian framework. It is the secular project and its vision (and its media), which has made life difficult today for marriages and families.
The first thing to say is that history shows that the Christian life is strong and grows when it holds fast to the Gospel and to Christian principles. Indeed, the mandate of Catholic Bishops has always been to defend the Tradition.
Secondly, we don't know where the secular project will go. Its future will be neither rational, nor scientific, nor thoughtful. What superstitions and misunderstandings about the Christian life that it will come to embrace is not yet clear. In such a context, the whole Church needs to be very discerning about contemporary culture - don't follow the culture should be the general rule.
We should also point out the following basic principles:
1. The essential ingredient for any pastoral approach is the desire for the Christian life. Without this we can easily put the cart before the horse. Fostering Christian marriages and families happens on the foundation of a desire for the life of Jesus Christ.
2. After evangelisation, the second most important ingredient is the formation of people before and after marriage, awakening their awareness of their mission. It isn't that Catholics should suddenly take a tight grip upon the mission of Christian marriage and the family (which could result in the distortion of that mission), but rather that Catholics become more aware, more conscious of the depth and greatness of the mission of marriage and the family, and its central place in God's plan. 
The Synod is a 'wake up call' for the Church to renew its appreciation of what it has taught about Marriage and the Family during the twentieth century, so that she can take a firm hand on the helm, at this time when Western Civilisation is breaking down. Marriage and the family are our greatest goods.
This post concludes what I want to say about this subject, for the time being.