Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Dogs and the Eucharist

As a child the good thing about having a puppy was that the nastier bits of my mum's cooking could be slipped under the table and be eaten, fat and gristle seem to have been an important part of of our diet. Puppies under the table is perhaps the image we have from last Sunday's OF Gospel. It's is a nice image, but actually of course it is not meant to be nice, it is supposed to shock us.

Jews in the Old Testament often used dogs as an image of apostasy or of idol worshiping Gentiles, it is an image Jesus takes directly from scripture. Dogs are unclean, a source defilement. Jesus wasn't sent to the 'dogs' but to the children of the Israel. The women makes the image even more horrific by speaking of the dogs 'under the table'. It presumably is supposed to summon up images of those vanquished kings who had their fingers and toes cut off who were made to beg for food under or around the table of the victor. The woman in order to gain a favour from Our Lord s willing to abase herself, to admit her absolute dependence on him, she is dog sniffing for favours. The EF Gospel for last Sunday was the Publican in the Temple, who goes home justified because he abases himself  in the Temple, it is the same idea.

The difference of course is the idea of food, of begging for food. I don't know if I am making too much of this, I tend to see all references to food, certainly in the Gospels as pointing to the Holy Eucharist; are we supposed to be like those begging kings made powerless without our toes, or more importantly, fingers, begging at the Lord's table, waiting , for those scraps which elsewhere in the Gospels are collected with great care? Presumably without fingers they either eat from the floor with food thrown down from the dais or lie my dog when I was being particularly kind had food placed in his mouth.

I must admit I am open to the idea that possibly as sign of intimacy Jesus actually placed the Eucharist in the mouths of his disciples. I remember an Indian archbishop who stayed with me briefly and scandalised me and the husbands of  the local Indian community by insisting on placing sweet pastries directly into the mouths of their young and pretty wives, the ugly or older women helped themselves or received them in their hands. It was obviously a gesture of great intimacy, interestingly he wasn't too happy with doing the same during Mass with the Holy Eucharist. The reception of food placed directly into the mouth is in other context than Mass is one of extraordinary intimacy, eating without using our hands is a sign of absolute dependency or trust. Eating whilst kneeling is sign of complete subjugation, this is what the Canaanite does in order to receive a scrap or a crumb of mercy from the Lord.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Italian Opera


I am glad that our beloved Holy Father has been making a stab at using English on his Korean trip, his native Spanish is at least an international language, though not perhaps in Asia. I don't know if he has attempted much in Korean, or what is becoming increasingly important internationally: Mandarin. Perhaps the most important language is kindness, a smile an embrace, a wave, of which the bishop of Rome is a past master.

What I feel is a little strange is using Italian in Korea, who apart from opera fans and some clergy in Korea speaks Italian? As a young South American sister, who spoke both Spanish and Portuguese, said to me recently, "Italian is the curse of the Church". It certainly marks those who are set for a rising career in the Church, who from their earliest days are marked out for a career n the Church, and we all know what the Holy Father thinks about careerists.

I hope I am not being xenophobic but the Italian language brings with it a certain Italian culture were traditionally efficiency is not a factor. Interestingly Cardinal Pell has attempted to removed from the board of the much troubled and apparently formerly corrupt IOR, there are no Italians running the Vatican Bank, at least at the moment. Indeed breaking from Italian culture seems, at least in theory, to be part of the Pope's strategy for reform, I think he is doomed to failure unless the Holy See starts using a global language and opens the Church up to non-Italian government ad expertise and rids itself of nepotism, still a dominant factor in Italy.

Having more or less done away with Latin the Church's working language is now Italian and with it comes a certain Italian imperialism. A friend, a professor of liturgy in an eastern European was arranging the liturgy for a group of European bishops, there were a number of cardinals in attendance, who in order of precedence presided at the liturgy, the non-Italians happily celebrated Mass either in the local language or in Latin, the Italians however insisted n using Italian although hardly anyone, least of all the laity present, spoke Italian.


I recently had to give evidence to one of the Roman congregations, they came to visit, there was a Polish Monsignor who spoke English, he was accompanied by another priest, an Italian who had no English, a non English speaking stenographer, a man dressed in lay clothes who I was told was a judge, who again spoke no English, as the interview was to be conducted in Italian they brought with them an Indian nun to act as translator, she was accompanied by another sister, the delegation consisted of six people. The Polish Monsignor asked questions in Italian, the sister translated, I answered in English, she translated into Italian, with her English or Italian occasionally corrected by the Pole, a couple of times the Italian would ask for not very ad rem clarifications, whilst the stenographer typed on his lap-top, he too, once or twice, asked for clarification of the Pole's Italian. The process took just under an hour but then the stenographer tried to save what had been typed and lost everything and it all had to be written out by hand, fortunately from memory on a prepared form, when this was done, I was given the form to read and sign, my read Italian is much better than my spoken Italian; although my statement was in Italian, the questions on the form were in the Church's official language, Latin.


The thing is that students or anyone coming to work in Rome has to spend a good year learning Italian before he can begin work. Any bishop without Italian is seriously disadvantaged, it would be impossible for a non-Italian speaking cardinal to operate in the Church, not just Rome, even if he had perfect Latin or any or all of the world languages: English, Mandarin, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Portugese whilst it is quite possible to become Pope with only Italian. It is absurd in the modern world!

Not only is it exclusive, it is expensive, of the six person delegation who came to see me, the two sisters were based in England but the four men from Rome had to be flown over here and paid, presumably at a reasonably professional rate, certainly the laymen. Today, what it took six people to ask could actually be done by e-mail or even telephone at a fraction of the cost. The Holy Father speaks of poverty but there is a baroque ostemtatiom im Italian culture which wants to employ everyone in the village. Go into any Italian bank or have anything to do with officialdom, even buying a up of coffee in a bar practically always involves half an Italian family, someone to take the order, someone to give the order to, someone to make the coffee and someone to clear-up afterwards.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Mary: The Fulfillment of God's Will


Mary was taken up into Heaven.
What do we mean by this? In the case of Mary we mean something different than when we say the saints are in Heaven. We have the relics of the saints but Mary was taken up body and soul, there are no fragments of her body here on earth. One day the bodies of the saints will be united to their soul just as one day the souls of those in purgatory will be united  to their bodies and even those now in Hell. But Mary because of her Immaculate Conception, this singular Grace of God, is now in that state of Resurrection that even the greatest of saints must wait for, in that sense she is more like her Son and Lord than any other Saint. Thus we honour God with latria and the saints with dulia but Mary with hyperdulia.

She already enjoys the fullness of what we hope for at the 'consummation of the ages'. Our hope is what we say in our funeral rites, 'In my flesh I shall see God', 'I shall behold him face to face'. Mary uniquely enjoys the fullness of Grace, for she is the 'highest honour of our race'. She reflects as a perfect mirror without any blemish the Grace of God, she reflects and also contains Grace, nothing comes between her and God.

She is the purest, the most perfect, of creatures. Everything else that is created is marred by sin, everything whether it is a stone or bird, a human being or a distant star, every thought, every emotion, is touched by sin but not Mary, she is free of all contamination. On earth, even as the Immaculate, she is frustrated by evil beyond her as God's plan is frustrated by sinfulness. Though sinless, she is limited by the sins of others, like Jesus she inhabits the domain of the Lord of this World and is consequently limited by human culture, by the limits of human knowledge and yes, by the daily assaults of the Devil, the ancient dragon that stalks her, that causes her flee into he desert. In Heaven she is limitless, in heaven she truly experiences 'the fullness of Grace', she shares in God's complete freedom and in His knowledge and understanding, she has become as scripture prophesies and as the angel are 'like unto God'. Thus her motherhood, which on earth was limited, becomes the motherhood of all humanity, in perfect Communion with God she shares in His infinite love and infinite mercy, and infinite compassion. On earth she could intercede for those she knew, and certainly pray that God's will in all things might be done. In heaven she extends her maternal care too all, with motherly intimacy she know us and cares for us.

If we are truly Christian we need to have a Chris-tlike devotion to His Blessed Mother. It needs to be founded not on the saccharine, touchy-feelingness of much modern 'charismatic' devotion but on basic Christian teaching of death, judgement, heaven and hell and on above all a true understanding of what Christ has accomplished for us, especially by His Saving Death and Glorious Resurrection, for what Mary enjoys now is what we are called to enjoy after the Consummation of the Ages, when God's Holy Will is accomplished, for She is our model and our hope, and the fulfillment of God's will.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

What is reality?




Is there a connection between the Transfiguration and the Assumption? The Assumption is of course not the Octave day of  the Transfiguration, but is it an accident the two feasts are so proximate?

The Transfiguration makes us question the nature of reality. The disciples are used to seeing Jesus doing ordinary human things, yes there are miracles but it is easy to see them as a human action, a wonder, rather than a divine revelation. The Transfiguration forces them to question this basic perception, on the holy mountain they experience Jesus as being quite unlike them. What they glimpse is directly linked to Jesus' death, it is supposed to strengthen them for his death, presumably they are supposed to look beyond  the very human aspects of his suffering, death and burial.

They are left to struggle with the question of what is more real, the humiliation of Jesus in his passion or his exaltation and the reconciliation of God and man, what they are called to see is what God sees.
There are earthly and heavenly realities, both these feasts invite us to look beyond the veil.

The ancient way of portraying the the Assumption is the Apostles gathering for the Blessed Virgin's funeral after she appears to die, but like the synagogue officials daughter she appears to be dead but to God she merely sleeps. The disciples are focused on her body, they do not see Christ who also stands behind them who comes to receive her soul with two (some times more) saintly bishops, there are two planes of reality in this icon, what is happening perceived by physical eyes in the city of Jerusalem (or Ephesus) and what is happening under the watchful eye of the seraph, which is perceived by the eyes of faith alone.

The Christian faith calls us to look beyond what appears to the senses to what is revealed by faith, to see with eyes of God.

The Assumption or Dormition invites to see human death with the eyes of faith, just as the Transfiguration invites us to view Jesus suffering from the perspective of Heaven. Death and corruption, pain and suffering melt away in the presence of God's glory. Christians are called to look beyond the veil to the heavenly reality.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Prayers Please


I have just had a lady I married a little while ago come to see me, she is having twins a  boy and girl. She has been told that the girl is fine  but her son has a problem which means his lungs have not developed, he will die shortly after birth.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Osculum Pacis


I am not one of those who hate the sign of peace. I hate it when it it is trivialised, when Mrs Brown offers a lukewarm handshake to Mr Brown, which hardly seems to symbolise they are 'one flesh' in the Lord, or when Mrs Green wonders why Mrs White hasn't run down the aisle to greet her and comes up to Holy Communion full of resentment or at least wondering at the precariosity of their friendship. Then I also hate being given an enthusiastic 'sign of peace' and then being ignored after Mass. The sign is supposed signify what we are, truly a community of brothers and sisters in the Lord, at peace with God and our neighbour and a source of peace for the world.

I am glad the Holy See has issued a new document on it and decided not to move too, to before the offertory, as in the Ambrosian Rite, after all the 'sign of peace' is intimately connected to Holy Communion. It is simple, if we are not in Communion with our neighbour, then we can't possibly be in Communion with the Lord. It is I think the offering of ourselves at Holy Communion that is more important than our offering of cash at the offertory, it is then that we should be leaving our offering (of ourselves) at the altar in order that we might be reconciled to our neighbour. The procession to communion is about us coming to receive Christ in communion but it also about Him receiving us, bot individually but also collectively as the Church, pure and free from sin. The sign of peace should be a significant pre-Communion rite, therefore it should be solemn and holy, not lightly undertaken. One reason for it remaining where it is is the assertion by liturgical scholars that in ancient times the Pater Noster ended by a kiss of peace.

Joe at Catholic Commentary suggests the sign of peace is meaningless and more about social inclusion than anything else. In the past a paxbrede was often used to take 'the peace' from the celebrant to at least significant members of the congregation. The paxbrede was often a silver or even wax plaque or an icon or a relic or a crucifix. The veneration of the Cross on Good Friday could be sign as a 'Peace' rite, the crucifix, or as our forefathers might have used the relic of the True Cross, being offered to the faithful only at the end of a rigorous Lent during which they were expected to have been reconciled to God and man.

The problem with the 'sign of peace', is like many of our rites, even Holy Communion, that it is trivialsed and without meaning. Amongst our servers, here, the sign of peace is offered in the traditional way, the Agnus Dei starts as soon as I  have offered it to the senior server or MC. In the Johannine Missal it always began with the celebrant who in a sense took it from Christ on the altar and it was passed on from to others on the sanctuary and those in choro, in large monasteries it could of course include several hundred people from the abbot down to the newest postulant. In the Pauline Missal it is supposed to bubble up from the community and presumably disappear as quickly as it appeared. What we do is wrong, apparently, though it eliminates on the sanctuary the hug-fest often seen and because it is hierarchical it gives a good indication that the proper for the priest just before Holy Communion is at the altar with the Body and Blood of Christ.

As I say, I think the sign of peace is important, but I can understand the frustration of those who see it as plain silly, the longer it goes on, the sillier it often becomes, we urgently need to find an alternative to the very secular handshake, which in the UK is often associated with dodgie car salesmen.  Perhaps the reason why it is often an uninspiring rite is related to the trivialising of Holy Communion itself.

Perhaps it ought to be restricted only to those going to Holy Communion, only to those truly at peace with God and their neighbour. Before the Reformation at York during Christmastide a bough of mistletoe was raised before the rood, it was a sign for reconciliation of enemies, the release of captives and slaves, the forgiveness of debts, the end of conflicts. Under it the estranged would kiss and be reconciled, this is presumably  what the sign of peace should be about, a truly sacred rite.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Save Us, O Lord


Syria, Iraq, Jordan,  Iran, Lebanon, Egypt, Libya, Nigeria, Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Somalia; there the body of Christ is torn apart. I really cannot bear to look at the bodies of children and the suffering of so many. This video was sent to me with the request I post it by the Coptic Orthodox wife of a reader; no bodies, just the anguished plea of a mother for her abducted daughter.

Can we still continue to dialogue with Islam, when so much suffering, so much blood is being spilt?
We have heard of the Pope's distress at this suffering, he as asked for prayers for those who suffer but hasn't himself addressed the suffering of our brothers and sisters. Can we really continue with the dialogue set up in the last century, it is no longer 1960 or 1970?

"Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."
Murderers continue to murder whilst the effete swap smooth words.

And what is Eccleston Square doing?

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Archbishop Martin criticises one of his young priests


There is always a dark-side to the The Tablet, so maybe this report about Archbishop Martin of Dublin criticising one of his very few younger priests should be taken with a small pinch of salt but His Grace does have form  of being critical and unsympathetic towards his younger priests. That of course could explain why he has so few of them, and possibly why his diocese is so unattractive to young men who might have a vocation. It is obviously indicative of a poor management style and could well be a reason why the few young priests he does have might well be considering looking for bishops elsewhere in the world.

His comments made in Australia (what was it His Holiness said about 'airport bishops'?) seem indicative of a management style in the Church that would be unacceptable elsewhere and I would expect was one reason the abuse scandals were not addressed in Ireland. As there are so few young priests in the Archdiocese of Dublin it is not too difficult to identify who this individual actually is. Priests should certainly not be breaking confidences, the onus on a bishop not to do so is even greater, everything that has been said over the last 50 years about the father/son relationship of a priest to his bishop seems to be negated by the Archbishop's remarks. If a son of his is fearful or disconcerted about the actions of the Pope, and many are, it is a bishop's responsibility to give him the support he requires. Pope Francis has often spoken about the evils of gossip, especially clerical gossip, it seems that this young priest has been betrayed by both his Parish Priest and his Bishop, who see a problem rather than seeking to understand and help.

Many young priests are indeed disconcerted by this sudden lurch back to the 1970s, the rise of the personality cult of Francis, with the implications of a new-Ultramonatism, or at least a Church where the Pope is the sole arbiter of  everything, is indeed alien territory for many younger priests. It is not the faith they have been taught in the seminary, or in the catechism, or in the ordinary magisterium of St John Paul II or Benedict XVI, the fact that an Archbishop seems to greet this with incomprehension bodes ill indeed for the future of his Church, especially when so many Prelates, even those who are designated 'the Pope's theologian' seem to be teaching something contrary to the Lord himself.

Recently the Pope said if a priest has a problem with his bishop he should go and sort it out, even it means a shouting match. Well it is even more incumbent on a bishop to sort problems out with his priests, rather than do as Archbishop  Martin has in the case of this young priest, both his age and status demand this of him.
What is not acceptable for any bishop is gossiping or complaining, either to other priests, which is bad, or as appears here, to a group of laity, who then report his words in the press. No wonder Dublin has such a poor reputation for the pastora care of it priests.

Pope's 10 Ways

Photo: www.WorldMeeting.2015.org

Monday, August 04, 2014

Credible Witnesses


My friend Fr Z writes about neo-martyrs crucified by ISIS. Since the Vatican Council it is easy to think that apart from one or two internal problems the Church lives in vibrant sunshine but of course the Church lives constantly with the blood of its children, thatThe great crisis of  Church is one of faith, fat sleek bishops, comfortable middle-class priests, nuns who embrace a secular agenda are hardly credible witnesses but is why the Pope has since the mid fourth century worn blood red shoes, and the Roman Pontiff's correct dress isn't the white cassock but blood red ornaments that are worn over it. The Church walks in blood, her clothes are spattered with blood. If there is no blood flowing in streams from her children, then the Church is a dead thing. It is the blood of Christ and his saints that gives her life and is a sign of her being alive. 

Without martyrdom there is no Church. The Way of Christ is the Way of the Cross and Christians are called to embrace it. As a priest the faithful have every right to ask me, "Father, would you be willing to die for our faith?" Fortunately no one has recently, and to be honest I don't know what my answer would be, I know what it should be, 

We are all called to be martyrs, the Greek word 'witness' is martyr. It strikes me that in the West we no longer have credible witnesses. Down the ages the number of children, of ordinary men and women, has far exceeded the number of  bishops and priests. The great crisis of  Church is one of faith, fat sleek bishops, comfortable middle-class priests, nuns who embrace a secular agenda hardly give the sign of being credible witnesses.

Perhaps the question, 'Would you be willing to die for our faith?' should be one we all ask ourselves and one another, especially our leaders and professional Catholics, for not only should we be willing to die for our faith but live for it too.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Man stuff

I am not sure I believe what many traditional Catholics say about the old Mass being more appealing to men, than the new. Lace and brocade certainly have a superficial appeal to a small percentage, the historical 'rootedness' and symbolism to a larger percentage. What is pretty obvious is that men don't come to Mass, and possibly working class men come less than other men. When men do come to the old Mass, some at least seem to respond to it in a rather amazing way, it sets light to their faith. 
In some parishes it seems that lectors and everyone else on the sanctuary, except the priest, are women or girls, and that in our Catholic schools the majority of our teachers are women, especially in our Primary Schools. In that sense the Church of today is really, if not feminine, it is dominated at parish and diocesan level by women. I think that accounts in many ways for the breach between the 'local Church' and what is invariably nowadays called the 'institutional Church'. The faith is invariably transmitted through feminine perspective.
After the first celebration of the Novus Ordo at the end of the Council Card Heenan famously said that men of England wouldn't put up with what the Council Fathers had just witnessed in the Sistine Chapel, but his complaint was actually not about the changed liturgy but the chanting and psalm singing, something above the normal fair of Englishmen: Low Mass, Mass in its simplest and most unadorned form, a reasonably brief and peremptory Rite.
As a man, I hate fuss. I like clarity, yes I respond to beauty, like the well designed lines of a piece of efficient machinery, which is why I like High Mass. I prefer Trooping of the Colour to the ballet, a Beethoven quartet to symphony, a classical painting to a piece of Cubism, a Modrian painting to a Jason Perry tapestry. 
I suspect like most men I could well be descried slightly autistic, I prefer the clarity of a legal document to the airy- fairiness of the Spirit of ... Give me the Canons of any Council rather than the pages of canonised ambiguity and contradiction, give me the hard edge of Thomas or Bonaventure rather than the fluffiness of modern feminist theologians.
I remember a sermon once on the healing of the Centurion's servant, in which preacher compared the Centiturion to Our Lady, the Centurion want orders, Our Lady was willing to 'ponder these things in her heart', we men do ponder but against clear guidelines of 'do this', 'do that', I remember a young man at Sandhurst, who loved all that marching up and down because it gave him the chance to pray, obeying orders came naturally to him,

The Lectionary of the Old Rite certainly seems to be clearer than that of the New, quite a lot about the evils of fornication and unchastity in the Epistles, and quite a lot about how to live a 'good' life in the Gospels, whereas the New Rite Lectionary, certainly on Sundays, presents morally ambiguous extracts from the Old Testament, a rather massaged series of extracts from the Epistles and Gospels. The theology is different, the selection of readings rather than organically developing over centuries gives us a very definite 'Christ of the Council', or at a least a Christ, a Christology and Ecclesiology taken from the decade or so over which the Lectionary was compiled and of those involved in its manufacturing. It comes from a time when ambiguity was fashionable, the Christ that is presented to us is ambiguous, or at least it is different from the morally and theogically directive Christ of the old Lectionary. That is not surprising considering the old Lectionary came into being in a time of real theological debate and ecclesial growth whilst the new Lectionary was put together by men who were essentially conciliatory towards what was then the 'modern world'.

I am not suggesting the Lectionary is 'unmanly' but the Christ it presents is of its time. Dr Shaw, interestingly, says of Pope Francis that he isn't interested in  philosophy or the theology, that he is essentially a politician. I think that is a fair description. In that sense I think he is indeed a conciliatory Pope. The words of Cardinal Kaspar, "the Pope's theologian" ring true in this context, when he speaks about ordinary Christians not being given to heroism, “But it's a heroic act, and heroism is not for the average Christian.” It is this absence of heroism that seems to be problematic for men (and boys) today. My Muslim friends, who are not wild sword wielding Islamic terrorists, see Christianity as wimpish and unmanly: The effeteness of the West, the destruction of the family, sexual ambiguity, amorality, materialism they put down to Christianity. Islam presents manliness in terms of heroism, a man is someone willing to die to defend his faith, his family and his country. A true man despite other pressures will pray five times a day and fast strictly during Ramadan. He will submit to the will of God and teach his family and neighbours to do the same. 
The post-Concilliar Chuch is very much one of, "Who am I to judge", it is seen as morally ambiguous: "gentle Jesus meek and mild" puts up with and accepts everything and anything, except and absence of gentleness, meekness and mildness, for most men this is profoundly unsatisfying.and is more likely to savage or criticise members of his household than act as leaven or source of change. >It is this kind of conciliatoriness that the Church n this country has been pushing for decades t has led to social acceptance, and reasonable relationships with those in power and the 'Establishment' but it has actually lost any power to change society, an often alienates its most committed members and leaves confused and ill informed those less committed, most especially men.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Job with SPUC?


I have been asked to run this ad:

Want to work for a leading charity in the UK Pro-Life Movement?
Personal Secretary to the Chief Executive
A key role in building grassroots support for the pro-life movement in the UK
The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) is looking to recruit a Personal Secretary to the Chief Executive based at its London HQ. The post is part-time (15-25 hours per week, negotiable). The deadline for applications is Friday 15th August. Salary details available on request.
The role
Applicants must have an absolute commitment to the pro-life cause, experience working at director/board level and the ability to cope with a wide range of secretarial responsibilities.
Duties will include drafting letters, taking dictation, maintaining a filing system, assisting in making travel arrangements, photocopying and printing.
Candidates must have a good level of word-processing skill and possess the ability to take dictation. Shorthand skills are highly desirable.
You must also have excellent communication and organisational skills and enjoy working under pressure.
For more information or to receive an application form please contact Patrick Kingman.
Tel: 020 7091 7091
Email: patrickkingman@spuc.org.uk

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Magdalen Vestments


































I love this set of vestments, they date from about 1910, I think. There is something about them that says, 'Magdalen'.
They are made up of embroidery, appliqué and gold thread, on the chasuble there are a few descreet pearls. The cope is completely perished, the silk has gone, the chasuble is almost unwearable and the decoration has become a little muted, the dalmatics aren't too bad.

Despite all that we were man enough to wear them last night at the High Mass for Magdalen Day.

As the choir are on holiday, it was a rather homely High Mass; De Angelis and a couple of motets sung by those lovely sisters.

One year, maybe, kettledrums, cornetti, citterone.  Call me an old liberal if you must, but I am not one of those fussy priests who object to the guitar in church, I have heard a quite adequate figured bass continuo played on an extended necked baroque guitar substituting for a bass vihuela.

There are more photographs here



p.s. say a prayer for Tom who is getting married to Vergine at an old rite Pontifical Mass in Paray-le-Monial on Friday, Tom is on the Gospel side.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Join us for St Mary Magdalen's Day




Tomorrow we celebrate our Holy and Glorious Patroness St Mary Magdalen, the chosen messenger to the Apostles.

The great problem is half our servers and most of the choir are away.

Actually we began our celebration on Sunday, anticipating her feast.
To help us out my friends those wonderful sisters have kindly agreed to come down to sing at our EF High Mass at 6.30pm.

 +++

Our Western tradition is that all of those women at the Lord's feet, the one who pours out costly ointment, the one who covers his feet with kisses and tears are the Magdalen, even Mary of Bethany, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, the one who chose the better part who sits at his feet.

I am tempted to see the woman caught in adultery is her too; what crueller thing to do than to get Jesus to condemn a woman who was once notorious but is now a disciple of Jesus.

She becomes a symbol of the Church and the faithful remnant of Israel, despised and rejected like Jesus himself, and yet delighting in his presence.

To be a follower of Jesus means to be a Magdalen, to weep over one's sins, to choose the better part and recognise Him and be united, with him.
I don't know if I am being over imaginative but there seem to be three stages to the Magdalen's relationship: weeping she shows us purgation, sitting and listening is about illumination and finally in the garden in her encounter with the Risen Lord she is united to him.
She is 'every disciple', we are all called to weep over our sins, then we are able to indeed choose the better part, to truly listen to Jesus, only then do we recognise him and are able to announce his Triumphant Rising.

Only then perhaps may we have the grace to suffer with him, for the legend is that after the Resurrection she lived the life of a penitent and contemplative, all was to prepare for that and was to prepare her for the day when she would see Jesus' Father and her Father, Jesus' God and her God.