I invite you to ceaselessly meditate on "this great mystery of faith", as we proclaim it in every Mass after the Consecration. First of all, in the Eucharist we relive the Lord's Sacrifice at the end of his life, through which he saves all men. In this way we remain close to him and receive in abundance the graces we need for our daily life and our salvation. The Eucharist is par excellence God's act of love for us. What could be greater than giving one's life out of love? In this, Jesus is the model of the total gift of self, the path on which we too must walk in his footsteps.
The Eucharist is also a model of the Christian journey which must shape our existence. It is Christ who convokes us to gather together, to constitute the Church, his Body, in the midst of the world.
To be admitted to the twofold table of the Word and the Bread, we must first receive God's forgiveness, the gift which sustains us on our daily journey, restores the divine image within us and shows us the point to which we are loved. Then, just as in Luke's Gospel he addressed Simon the Pharisee, Jesus continuously addresses us through Scripture: "I have something to say to you" (7: 40). Indeed, every word of Scripture is a word of life for us that we must listen to with great attention. In a particular way, the Gospel constitutes the heart of the Christian message, the total revelation of the divine mysteries. In his Son, the Word made flesh, God has told us everything. In his Son, God has revealed his Face to us as Father, a Face of love, a Face of hope. He has shown us the way to happiness and joy. During the consecration, an especially important moment of the Eucharist because in it we commemorate Christ's sacrifice, you are called to contemplate the Lord Jesus, like St Thomas: "My Lord and my God" (Jn 20: 28). After receiving the Word of God, after having been nourished by his Body, let yourselves be inwardly transformed and receive your mission from him. Indeed, he sends you into the world to be messengers of his peace and witnesses of his message of love. Do not be afraid to proclaim Christ to the young people of your age. Show them that Christ does not hamper your life or your freedom; show them that, on the contrary, he gives you true life, that he sets you free to fight evil and to make something beautiful of your life.
Do not forget that the Sunday Eucharist is a loving encounter with the Lord that we cannot do without. When you recognize him "at the breaking of bread", like the disciples at Emmaus, you will become his companions. He will help you to grow and to give the best of yourselves. Remember that in the Bread of the Eucharist, Christ is really, totally and substantially present. It is therefore in the mystery of the Eucharist, at Mass and during silent adoration before the Blessed Sacrament of the altar, that you will meet him in a privileged way. By opening your very being and your whole life under the gaze of Christ, you will not be crushed - quite the contrary: you will discover that you are infinitely loved. You will receive the power that you need in order to build your lives and to make the choices that present themselves to you every day. Before the Lord, in the silence of your hearts, some of you may feel called to follow him in a more radical way in the priesthood or the consecrated life. Do not be afraid to listen to this call and to respond with joy. As I said at the inauguration of my Pontificate, God takes nothing away from those who give themselves to him. On the contrary, he gives them everything. He comes to draw out the best that is in each one of us, so that our lives can truly flourish.
Monday 30 June 2008
Although no doubt it gave the 'liturgists' kittens that the homily should be preached by someone who was 'absent' from the celebration, the Pope preached a tremendous homily during the Station Orbis. (Of course the Pope was physically absent from the celebration, but he was actually present because this is the Statio Orbis and he was present through his Legate.) I just thought I'd share some of the important points that the Pope made, in that he gives us a real programme of work to take away from the Congress:
1. The first point that stands out to me is the way in which the Pope teaches that the Eucharist should shape the way in which we view the lives of others. The Eucharist is what makes us sensitive to the reality of the dignity of the human person.
"Participation in the Eucharist does not distance our contemporaries. On the contrary, since it is the expression par excellence of God's love, it calls us to join forces with all our brothers and sisters to confront today's challenges and make the earth a place that is pleasant to live in. This requires that we constantly fight to ensure that everyone is respected, from conception until natural death, that our rich societies welcome the poorest and restore dignity to all, that everyone has food and can enable his family to survive and that peace and justice shine out on all the continents."I think that this is really important. We can often make a sort of distinction between doing the right thing in the Mass, and get very caught up over liturgical correctness - in indeed we should seek to celebrate the Mass as the Church desires - but it is easy to forget that this then impinges on the way we live our lives, and demands that we live in a radical way. This radical way is firstly to recognise the way in which our dignity is celebrated in the Eucharist, so we should live the risen life of freedom from sin. This radical way also means that we should recognise the absolute dignity of the other person too, even when this is most inconvenient. There can be no easy moralism of loving the poor, but disregarding the unborn - nor vice versa. The Eucharist proclaims the dignity of every single human person from the first to the last moment of their life, and beyond.
2. The Pope wants us to study the Liturgy in order to celebrate it better. The whole liturgy reveals, in its words and in its gestures, the meaning of the Christian mystery. The celebration in the vernacular (especially the impoverished vernacular of 1974 ICEL texts), and the flowering of experimentation with liturgy, has rather obscured this vital link between the words and actions of the Liturgy and the Mystery of Faith. Too often we think of liturgy as something we do, and therefore we have to make it as expressive as possible of ourselves. Instead, the Mass has an innate sense which can be obscured when it is overlaid with rituals and words of our own. I believe the reason that the Pope has returned the Extraordinary Form of the Mass to the mainstream is that he desires that there grow an organic unity between the two forms of the Mass, in order that there grow one single Roman Rite once again. Not by rescript of men in offices in Rome, but by the organic growth which comes from the prayer of the faithful. This can only come about if there is a study, and a dedication to praying the liturgy. This is why the Pope in this homily is asking us to return to the texts of the Second Vatican Council. We need to reread Sacrosanctum Concilium in order to understand what the Council actually said, and not what we have so long heard that it was meant to say by those who have a rather different understanding of the liturgy.
3. The importance of Sunday Mass. In a way it ought to go without saying, but how many people claim to be 'Catholic' while never darkening the door of a Church on a Sunday. The Sunday Mass is the hallmark of a Catholic. It is what gives us identity. It is where we experience the Incarnation, the Sacrifice of Calvary, the Resurrection and Pentecost. We were reminded during the Congress of the martyrs of the early centuries who said 'We cannot live without the Sunday Eucharist'. For many Catholics today, the Sunday Eucharist is the exception not the rule, the reserve of the old or pious, a high and remote ideal. This needs to change. And we need to be honest and recognise that those who call themselves 'Catholics' and not being part of the assembly of the People of God on Sunday, are actually practical pagans.
4. The Pope wants us to prepare better for receiving Holy Communion. Certainly more regular confession of sin is necessary. Even among those Catholics who continue to go to Mass every Sunday, there are very few who really take the Sacrament of Reconciliation very seriously. Once or twice a year before the major feasts is not even really a minimum if Penance is going to be a real lived part of our Christian lives. Monthly confession should be the rule for all Catholics. Not as a law, but so as to open the floodgates of grace. As the Pope says in the homily, "Sin in fact, especially serious sin, impedes the action of Eucharistic grace within us."
5. The last thing the Pope desires is that we prepare for the next Eucharistic Congress in Dublin in 2012. This should, for us in Britain, be a real focus to be renewed in our living, celebrating and adoring the Eucharist.
There is quite an agenda of work there in such a tremendous short and succinct homily. Let's get to work.
The view east from the church looks towards the river Derwent and beyond, towards York. All is peaceful now and somewhat remote from the great cause that was entered upon in 1536/37 by Robert Aske. After the failure of the Pilgrimage its leaders were executed by Henry VIII. Robert was the last to be executed; he was hung in in chains York in 1537. Perhaps the Manor was deserted by the rest of the family, perhaps it was sold off or dismantled being regarded as the house of a traitor. Reading about Robert Aske's part in the Pilgrimage of Grace leads me to think that he was a good man fighting for a very difficult cause in a noble way. After all, Thomas Percy, who lead the Northern Rising in 1569 and was executed in York in 1572, is named amongst the Blessed.
Wednesday 25 June 2008
Tuesday 24 June 2008
Here are a few videos of the celebration. Firstly, the preparation for the Gospel:
Here is the homily by Mgr Lawrence Huculak:
And the cherubic hymn:
Monday 23 June 2008
Sunday 22 June 2008
Saturday 21 June 2008
Thursday 19 June 2008
As usual we celabrated the Mass of St Alban, patron of the English College, Valladoild, in the beautiful Church of the Sacred Heart in Droitwich.
Monday 16 June 2008
Saturday 14 June 2008
There are, of course, many other Tyburns throughout the country where the Martyrs were executed, and most are without memorial - Chester, Wrexham, Lancaster, Derby, Norwich and others. Perhaps we should do something about this, including offering Masses on these sites for the overturning of all Laws which are against life.
Wednesday 4 June 2008
Monday 2 June 2008
Sunday 1 June 2008
This is a true account of a young woman who, while in search of spiritual truth, became a personal assistant to a psychic surgeon in Mexico for 14 months. Then, in answer to her prayers, God revealed the true source behind the miraculous healings she witnessed. Lifting the veil of deception, He allowed her to see the evil behind the outward appearance of beauty and holiness. Johanna Michaelsen reveals how this deadly deception is not isolated to her unusual experience but rather is invading our everyday lives.