Thursday 18 November 2010
Tuesday 16 November 2010
Thursday 11 November 2010
The lack of unity has lead Christians down so many paths, many of them obscure, indivdualistic and unhelpfull, so that today we have the rationalists, the fundamentals, the neo-arians, the neo-pelagians, the congregationalists and the sectarianists, to name but a few. Where in all this mix of people doing their own thing does the Catholic Church fit? It is a bewildered age and it is not easy to see the essential nature of the Church; that there is such an entity as the Church, which is the pole and centre of gravity for everyone.
Thank goodness for the Martyrs, who pointed to the Church, and who the Church depended on so much in their day. But the Church does exist, and so the question of the Unity of Christians is a real question, one which will not go away. We are called to unity, and there is an authority in the Church which has the power to govern all of us. So, beyond all the opinions and all the clever ideas about the Christian life held by so many, there nonetheless remains the Mystery of the Church, revealed and given by God, an entity which is the foundational agent of the Christian Life for everyone who is baptised, and the herald of that Life to all those who are not. Without the Church no one would be Christian. What is this Church? It is the Catholic Church, and she uniquely has the responsibility and authority, from Christ, for governing and pastoring all the Churches, which means all the Baptised.
And secondly, that there is such a reality as the Mystery of Faith. We didn't invent it, procure it, or even ask for it. It was revealed and given. This Mystery is the Eucharist; the Mystery of Faith cannot be truthfully described by anyone in any other fashion. So those who say that the Eucharist is only symbolic, or simply a ritual, or "it doesn't matter how you celebrate the Eucharist", or even if you need to celebrate it at all, or that there is no Mystery of Faith, or that it has some other meaning; all these Christians (Catholics included) have a long way to go. The Mystery of Faith is the very core of our being - or at least, it is what everyone is called to have at the core of their being. That God has given Himself to us, and we are called to give ourselves to HIm. This is the Mystery of Faith; it is the very heart of human life.
So, as the Anglican Ordinariate comes into being and opinions are expressed, we need to have the authentic vision of the Christian Life before us - that it is a mystery of grace which God has given us. There are indeed many ways to live the life of Christ, but the Mystery of the Church and Mystery of the Eucharist are realities which we cannot change or set aside.
Tuesday 9 November 2010
May the blood of these Martyrs be able to heal the great wound inflicted upon God’s Church by reason of the separation of the Anglican Church from the Catholic Church. Is it not one - these Martyrs say to us - the Church founded by Christ? Is not this their witness? Their devotion to their nation gives us the assurance that on the day when - God willing - the unity of the faith and of Christian life is restored, no offence will be inflicted on the honour and sovereignty of a great country such as England. There will be no seeking to lessen the legitimate prestige and the worthy patrimony of piety and usage proper to the Anglican Church when the Roman Catholic Church - this humble “Servant of the Servants of God” - is able to embrace her ever beloved Sister in the one authentic communion of the family of Christ: a communion of origin and of faith, a communion of priesthood and of rule, a communion of the Saints in the freedom and love of the Spirit of Jesus. Perhaps We shall have to go on, waiting and watching in prayer, in order to deserve that blessed day. But already We are strengthened in this hope by the heavenly friendship of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales who are canonized today.
Monday 8 November 2010
Sunday 7 November 2010
Saturday 6 November 2010
Wednesday 3 November 2010
Tuesday 2 November 2010
Monday 1 November 2010
Sunday 31 October 2010
Thursday 28 October 2010
Tuesday 26 October 2010
Now, for those who are not content with the secular vision and who are motivated to look beyond its confines, the human virtues are already quietly in play. Thuse of us who are doing this have simply not accepted the secular dynamic, which says that we are all emerging from an era of repression into an era in which we wil all be able to live life to the full, but instead have simply discerned that the secular vision is insufficient.
For Christians, virtue has another, greater, power - virtue is the way that they seek conformity with Christ. For them, the Kingdom of God is their explicit goal, and a more 'human' humanity means a grace-filled humanity, one that is enriched by grace-filled virtues.
The starting point for Christians is not that there is something lacking in the culture which they must seek to put right, but rather that there is something lacking inside them and that it is they who must change. Even so, self-motivation will take a person only so far, and thus Christians seek to open themselves to the gift of grace which is a greater calling still. It is by welcoming the truth of grace, by applying it in their lives, and by struggling with challenges to faith, that they live by a new dynamic. Hearing the invitation to Eternal life, being received into the companionship of Jesus Christ and deciding to live in His light, is the route to a totally different life, a life which engages all the virtues.
And so the Holy Father in Ubicumque et Semper declares that the Church "has never tired of making known to the whole world the beauty of the Gospel as she preaches Jesus Christ, true God and true man, the same 'yesterday, today and forever', who by His death and Resurrection, brought us salvation and fulfilled the promise made of old. Hence the mission of evangelisation, a continuation of the work desired by the Lord Jesus, is necessary for the Church: it cannot be overlooked; it is an expression of her very nature."
How imporatnt then, is the clear proclamation of the Gospel in today's anodine climate, in enabling a humanity worthy of the name, a humanity that finds its full flourishing in Jesus Christ.
Sunday 24 October 2010
The Holy Father in his Motu Proprio Ubicumque et Semper declares that today we have seen a loss of "a common understanding of basic human experiences: ie, birth, death, life in a family, and reference to a natural moral law. Even though some consider these things a kind of liberation, there soon follows an awareness that an interior desert results whenever the human being, wishing to be the sole archtect of his nature and destiny, finds himself deprived of that which is the very foundation of all things."
Prophectic words indeed. Yet the secular vision of a humanity transformed through new opportunities, at last within our reach, has captured the gaze of the world. And even the concurrent realities of disillusionment, failure, depression and loneliness, do not moderate the sheer power of this secular dynamic. In such a culture, Christiuans and others whose seeking has not been overwhelmed by contemporary culture, tend to live their lives cautiously, not wanting to appear naive about the truth of human nature. In such a context as this, the New Evangelisation is being engendered - in this culture, at once so full of overweening attitudes of self-affirmation and yet empty of, or insufficiently possessing of meaning, and which leaves others defeated or resigned to passivity, where do we begin to locate virtue?
I pose the question here and will return to this theme in the next post.
"Making my own the concerns of my venerable Predecessors, I consider it opportune to offer appropriate responses so that the entire Church, allowing herself to be regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit, may present herself to the contemporary world with a missionary impulse in order to promote the new evangelization. Above all, this pertains to Churches of ancient origin, which live in different situations and have different needs, and therefore require different types of motivation for evangelization: in certain territories, in fact, despite the spread of secularization, Christian practice still thrives and shows itself deeply rooted in the soul of entire populations; in other regions, however, there is a clearly a distancing of society from the faith in every respect, together with a weaker ecclesial fabric, even if not without elements of liveliness that the Spirit never fails to awaken; we also sadly know of some areas that have almost completely abandoned the Christian religion, where the light of the faith is entrusted to the witness of small communities: these lands, which need a renewed first proclamation of the Gospel, seem particularly resistant to many aspects of the Christian message.
This variety of situations demands careful discernment; to speak of a “new evangelization” does not in fact mean that a single formula should be developed that would hold the same for all circumstances. And yet it is not difficult to see that what all the Churches living in traditionally Christian territories need is a renewed missionary impulse, an expression of a new, generous openness to the gift of grace. Indeed we cannot forget that the first task will always be to make ourselves docile to the freely given action of the Spirit of the Risen One who accompanies all who are heralds of the Gospel and opens the hearts of those who listen. To proclaim fruitfully the Word of the Gospel one is first asked to have a profound experience of God."
How can we not harken to such a call!
Wednesday 20 October 2010
Sunday 17 October 2010
Friday 15 October 2010
Wednesday 13 October 2010
Monday 11 October 2010
This friendship, the Holy Father said, "is learned in love for sacred Scripture, in love for the liturgy, in profound faith, in love for Mary, so that one will increasingly really know God himself and thus true happiness, the goal of our life."
Thursday 7 October 2010
Tuesday 5 October 2010
Sunday 3 October 2010
Thursday 23 September 2010
Yes, the Holy Father has spoken to Britain (the very place that proclaims the value of dialogue), initiating a new dialogue of faith and reason, and Britain has already begun to respond. A New Evangelisation is underway at last - and who among us could have imagined it. Only God could do this, and the Holy Father has been His intrument of grace. I can hardly believe what I have witnessed!No one who looks realistically at our world today could think that Christians can afford to go on with business as usual, ignoring the profound crisis of faith which has overtaken our society, or simply trusting that the patrimony of values handed down by the Christian centuries will continue to inspire and shape the futue of our society. ... But each of us in accordance with his or her state in life, is called to work for the advancement of God's Kingdom by imbuing temporal life with the values of the Gospel. (Holy Father's address at the Vigil in Hyde Park.)
Tuesday 21 September 2010
Friday 17 September 2010
This, could I paint my inward sight, this were Our Lady of the Night; she bears on her forehead's lunacy the starlight of her purity: For as the white rays of that star the union of all colours are, she sums all virtues that may be in her sweet light of purity. The mantle which she holds on high is the great mantle of the sky. Think, O sick toiler, when the night comes on thee, sad and infinite. Think, sometimes 'tis our own Lady spreads her blue mantle over thee, and folds the earth, a wearied thing, beneath its gentle shadowing; then rest a little; and in sleep forget to weep, forget to weep!(Our Lady of the Night by Francis Thompson)
Wednesday 15 September 2010
Monday 13 September 2010
Thanks to Fr Sylvester CFR for this video. I first met Fr Sylvester at WYD 2002 in Toronto; subsequently he came to the Friary in Bradford where we did quite a bit of evangelisation together. He and the other friars are real trojans for the Gospel of Life.
Friday 10 September 2010
Wednesday 8 September 2010
Sunday 5 September 2010
Friday 3 September 2010
Thursday 2 September 2010
Sunday 29 August 2010
The group I was addressing in Sydney these past two weeks numbered about sixty people and many of them confessed to me afterwards that they too had never really heard John Paul II's teaching - a teaching which was delivered in the most public, clear and straightforward way, across the globe, during a Pontificate which lasted twenty six years.
Now, there will be many reasons why Catholics have not yet heard the message that John Paul II gave us, some admissible, others very concerning. However, it is also the case that the world, in large part, either has not heard his message, or hearing it, did not heed it. States, nations, societies and cultures, are caught up today in the spell of secularism.
Our cultures today have emerged from that short era of rebuilding which engaged most of the world after the unimaginable devastation of two world wars. During, and immediately after, the second war, there was a hope that the West would have been rebuilt upon the foundation of the Gospel. But, as we are all now aware, once the 1950s was underway the movement of secularism was embraced with great eagerness. That movement is now in such full speight that the clarity and illumination of John Paul II's teaching, which makes available such a transforming power for individuals, communities, nations and the whole planet, appears now like a tiny glowing ember on an ice-flow.
Well, now is not the time to 'drop the ball'. It may be the case that the mass media is in the hands of a tiny but dangerous minority who skillfully direct, from hidden boardrooms, the various currents of secularism; that politicians, many of whom are self-styled atheists, find themselves on the front faces of unstable glaciers; that Market forces, having been unleashed, are now unworthy mentors, but the day is young. Yes, it may also be the case that many have never picked up this ball, but the legacy of John Paul II is very much with us. So, we should pick it up, run with it and hand it on. If you have never enquired into his teaching, then enquire. If you have heard or read some of it, read it again. Open it up, break into it, break it down and make it more and more accesible. Apply it. Teach it. Witness to it. John Paul II was immensely powerful in life; his power is greater now. Turn to him, enquire of him and ask for his intercession:
O holy Trinity, we thank you for having given to the Church Pope John Paul II, and for having made him shine with your fatherly tenderness, the glory of the Cross of Christ and the splendor of the Spirit of love. He, trusting completely in your infinite mercy and in the maternal intercession of Mary, has show himself in the likeness of Jesus the Good Shepherd, and has pointed out to us holiness as the path to reach eternal communion with you. Grant us, through his intercession, according to your will, the grace that we implore, in the hope that he will soon be numbered among your saints. Amen.