A common mistake in this ignorant and deluded age is to fondly imagine that someone who is out of the state of grace (e.g. living off the proceeds of crime, such as fraud, burglary, embezzlement and the like; living in sin with a girl- or boyfriend or adulterous partner, committing fornication or worse; living as a Neo-Nazi, hating and attacking one's fellow men on spurious and evil pretexts; etc.), if not still daring to receive Holy Communion (which reception would only increase one's damnation, whatever vile liars may claim), could yet piously pray "Lord, I cannot now receive thee sacramentally, yet come at least spiritually into my heart, filling me with thy saving grace" – while remaining unrepentant. Obviously, one would need to repent of one's sins, making an act of perfect contrition (including the resolution to confess sacramentally as soon as possible, and resolving to amend one's life), else such a pretended spiritual communion would in no way help, but rather be an added blasphemy. Of course, persons may vacillate in the spiritual life as in all else; for just as a person may begin to pray in a state of damnation, yet end the prayer in a state of salvation (so says St Alphonsus, evidently alluding to acts of contrition inter alia), so a person having prayed for deliverance may soon enough slip back into evil habits, since vices enslave each unhappy sinner. It is in this sense that the counsel to make a spiritual communion when unable to receive sacramentally must be taken, according to those words "sinking we strive, yet call to thee for aid", hoping that by struggling to hold one's head above water, rescue may come from above, as it were.
Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Wednesday, November 1, 2017
As always, my spiritual batteries are all recharged, having returned from the wonderful experience of walking and participating in the twenty-seventh annual Christus Rex Pilgrimage, adding my own minor oddities to what Fr Caldow called "the who's who of the Traddy Zoo". Many thanks especially to pilgrim friends of mine, David and Lyle, who between them were great supports, and to Fr Rowe, my erstwhile parish priest, whose private Masses I essayed to serve as always.
I had resolved to receive Holy Communion at each of the five High Masses in worship of the Five Sacred Wounds of Our Lord, which I was able to do, and to focus my devotion said the Chaplet of the Holy Wounds also. There is a pleasing symmetry about the gloriously sung and brilliantly executed Masses: the Requiem for deceased pilgrims at 7 pm at the Cathedral in Ballarat on Thursday evening beforehand; the Votive of the Holy Cross at 6 am (a rather early hour!) at the same on Friday morning; the Votive of Our Lady Help of Christians at 11 am in the pine glade at Campbelltown on Saturday; the Pontifical Mass at the faldstool coram episcopo of Christ the King at 3 pm on Sunday in Bendigo Cathedral; and the Votive of the Trinity at 9 am on Monday morning afterward.
I added a very pleasant coda to the pilgrimage, by driving back to Melbourne airport in a hire car, with stops at Malmsbury (whose Botanic Gardens and Viaduct are well worth looking at) and, my favourite, Hanging Rock – which I successfully climbed during a providential break in rain showers, though I didn't find poor Miranda.
Friday, September 29, 2017
In the spirit of St Catherine of Siena, who venerated the office of Pope while fearlessly speaking the truth to power when addressing the all too human holder of that office, urging him ever to do his duty:
Remember, scratch a liberal, find a fascist! Fear not, but with courage support this vital endeavour:
Saturday, September 9, 2017
From the 1738 Paris Missal comes this Sequence for Our Lady's Nativity:
1. Gaudii primordium,Et salutis nuntiumDiem nostræ canimus.2. Quæ dat hora Virginem,Spondet Deum hominem:En venit quem quærimus.
3. Quam in matrem eligit,Hujus ortum dirigit,Deus omnis gratiæ.4. Domum quam inhabitet,Mox e qua nos visitetOrnat Sol justitiæ.
5. Quot micat luminibus,Suis Deus usibus,Quod vas fingit gloriæ!6. Quot latent miracula!Fiet hæc nubeculaIn vim magnam pluviæ.
7. Benedicta Filia,Tota plena gratia,Tota sine macula.8. Cæli quod jam habitas,Pande nobis semitas,Prece, Virgo, sedula.
And, thanks to Google Translate taking a French translation from the Schola Sainte Cecile's website, here is an English version:9. Iram promeruimus,Christe; pacem petimus:Hanc da matris precibus.10. Ut in nobis maneas,Corda nostra præbeasPura culpis omnibus.Amen. (Alleluja.)
We celebrate the day that begins our joy, the day that announces our salvation.The moment that gives birth to the Virgin Mary promises us a God-man: the one we are expecting will appear.The God of all grace, who chose Mary for her mother, presides over her birth: he overwhelms her with his blessings.The Sun of Justice decorates with his gifts the house he wishes to inhabit, and from which he comes to make himself visible to men.With what glory must shine this precious vessel, which God takes care to form for himself!What prodigies are here confined! It is a little cloud which rises, but which will yield for us a fertile and abundant rain.Holy and blessed daughter, filled with the graces of the Lord, pure and spotless virgin:Pray for us unceasingly, O holy Virgin, and open to us by this means the entrance of heaven, where you dwell.We have deserved thine anger, O Jesus; we sigh after our reconciliation: grant it at the prayers of thy Mother.So that we may be a dwelling worthy of thee, O Lord, deign to purify our hearts from all sin. Amen. Alleluia.
Friday, July 14, 2017
My second-favourite time of the week is the hour I spend kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament exposed on Friday evening (my favourite time of the week, of course, is that spent at Holy Mass). Typically I have time to address God in prayer; to recite hymns, antiphons and prayers in honour of the Blessed Sacrament; to say some of the daily office in some form; to pray over the texts of the Mass (as a Missa sicca); to recite the Rosary; and (should the priest be present) to step aside to make my confession. My only regret is not having more than one hour a week for this: if only it were every day!
Eucharistic Adoration is held every Friday at St Francis, Riverside, Tasmania, from 7 am to 7 pm (save for the usual Friday morning Mass at 9 am), normally concluding with Benediction at 7 pm, but on First Fridays culminating in a Holy Hour from 7 till 8 pm. If even one reader should attend Adoration here or elsewhere, I will be delighted, and beg that they pray for me, a sinner.
Sunday, June 4, 2017
Again we must pray against the pagans, that is, against terrorists who may as well worship a demon (since it is to Hell's depths they have been damned, barring a prodigy of grace efficacious to convert such atrocious sinners in their dying moments as they were shot). I spent the whole time driving to Hobart and back today listening on the ABC radio to nothing but coverage of the terrorist attack in London, so this is in the forefront of my mind.
Yet, as our priest reminded us today in an aside during his sermon, if we consider our own sins, we know that, but for God's forbearance and mercy, we ourselves would already have fallen into Hell – as Dathan and Abiron, who in their mad pride had outrageously sinned against the Lord by daring to offer unholy fire, went down alive into Hell (Numbers xvi, 33).
All have sinned and fallen short of God's glory, but are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans iii, 23f); else nothing but sin, Satan, death and Hell await us. Repent, pray, and pray for the conversion of all sinners!
I attach a link to last year's post, and append herewith extracts from the writings of St Maximus of Turin, who preached to his people, afflicted by the impending advance of barbarian invaders, in words which may help at this time of crisis and fear:
From the Sermons of St Maximus of Turin.(Sermons 83, 1; 85, 1-2; 86, 1; 85, 3; 86, 3)I remember having frequently said that we should not fear any warlike disturbances nor be frightened at any great multitude of foes since, as the Lord [sic; lege St John] says (1 John 4:4), “The one who is in us is greater than the one who is in this world”; that is to say, Christ is more powerful to protect his servants than the devil is to provoke our enemies. For although this same devil collects mobs for himself and arms them with cruel rage, nonetheless they are easily destroyed because the Saviour surrounds his people with superior auxiliaries, as the prophet says (Psalm 33:8): “The angel of the Lord comes round about those who fear him, and he will save them.” If the angel of the Lord snatches those who fear him from dangers, then one who fears the Saviour cannot fear the barbarians, nor can one who observes the precepts of Christ be afraid of the onslaught of the foe. These are our weapons, with which the Saviour has outfitted us: prayer, mercy, and fasting. For fasting is a surer protection than a rampart, mercy saves more easily than pillage, and prayer wounds from a greater distance than an arrow, for an arrow only strikes the person of the adversary at close range, while a prayer even wounds an enemy who is far away.
Perhaps you are anxious, brethren, at the fact that we hear continually of the tumult of wars and the onslaught of battles, and perhaps your love is still more anxious inasmuch as these are taking place in our times. But this is the reason: the closer we are to the destruction of the world, the closer we are to the kingdom of the Saviour. For the Lord himself says: “In the last days nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. But when you see wars and earthquakes and famines, know that the kingdom of God is at hand.” (Cf. Luke 21:9-11,31.) This nearness of wars, then, demonstrates to us rather that Christ is near. Therefore I must not be afraid of the approaching adversary, since by these signs do I understand instead that the Saviour is approaching, for although the one induces a temporal fear, yet the other will bring an eternal salvation. The same Lord, however, is powerful both to drive from us fear of the foes and to bestow on us his own presence. By these warlike disturbances, then, the destruction of the world is somehow signified, for this unrest precedes the future judgement of God.
Your love remembers that we preached that by good actions and constant prayers we may open to ourselves the gates of righteousness (cf. Psalm 117:19) and that by frequent almsgiving we may fortify ourselves as with a rampart of mercy. For to resist by almsgiving and to struggle by fasting are indeed an impregnable wall against the adversary. For although the enemy’s weapons may be powerful, nonetheless these weapons of the Saviour are stronger. If anyone is armed with them, even though he appear defenceless in the eyes of human beings, he is nonetheless adequately armed because the most high Divinity is guarding him. In tribuation then, it is good to pray, to fast, to sing psalms, and to be merciful, for by these weapons Christians are accustomed to conquer their adversaries; by these arms they are accustomed to guard the bulwarks of the city. For the holy prophet says (Psalm 126:1): “Unless the Lord guard the city, those who guard it keep watch in vain.” At the same time this teaches us that victory is not to be hoped for from arms alone but is to be prayed for in the name of the Saviour. Therefore, brethren, let us arm ourselves throughout this week with fasts, prayers, and vigils so that, when the mercy of God comes upon us, we may hold back the savagery of the barbarians.
Veni, Sancte Spiritus! Today being Pentecost Sunday, I will drive down to Hobart and M.C. the Missa cantata at Sacred Heart. Today being Pentecost Sunday, I mark the thirtieth anniversary of my Baptism, Confirmation and first Communion on this same beloved feast in 1987, albeit that Pentecost fell on the 7th of June that year (I keep the anniversary on the feast itself, but will also celebrate on Whit Wednesday of this week, being the exact date). In all but a few words, I repeat what I wrote last year: while I have very little to show for thirty years as a Catholic Christian, that is because of my sins and backsliding; but grace is greater than all, so I must give all glory to God for having blessed me so abundantly with the grace of the Holy Spirit in Christ Jesus our Lord. Te Deum laudamus!
Saturday, May 13, 2017
I believe this Sequence, once used in the Diocese of Coutances, is attributed to St John Eudes:
2. Cor amandum,
3. Cor æterni Numinis
En factum est Virginis
4. Hæc est Virgo sapiens,
Hæc est Virgo rapiens
5. Consors Patris dexteræ
Fit Matris Deiparæ
Cor et Natus.
6. Flos cordis Altissimi,
Flos cordis Virginei,
Flos et fructus.
7. Cordis nostri gaudium,
8. Amoris miraculum,
9. Fons vivus charismatum,
10. Rubus ignem proferens,
11. O fornax mirifica,
In te manent socia,
Ros et flamma.
12. Ros mire vivificans,
13. Infundatur omnibus
Ros ille pectoribus,
14. O Jesu Cor Mariæ,
Ros, ignis, fons gratiæ,
Ure, purga, posside
15. O amor, propera,
In terris ut super sidera.
16. Nova præcordia,
Nova fac omnia,
Nova fac omnia,
Ut Jesum laudent cum Maria.
Monday, April 3, 2017
We normally have a Sunday evening Missa cantata here in Launceston on the second Sunday of each month; however, as next Sunday is Palm Sunday, a day of great liturgical exertions, our chaplain drove up from Hobart a week earlier, so we could celebrate Passion Sunday on the first Sunday, which was yesterday, the 2nd of April. Next month, something similar obtains: to avoid clashing with parish missions, the Missa cantata will be celebrated on the third Sunday, the 21st of May. As April has five Sundays this year, this means that six Sundays will intervene between our two Missæ cantatæ. I do hope those who weren't present at Mass yesterday evening hadn't missed out through their own fault by not reading the schedule! I didn't send any reminder messages as I have in the past. And people will have to pay attention to find out when the next Mass occurs, given this latest change to our schedule.
Sunday, April 2, 2017
Las Huelgas was a Royal convent of Cistercian nuns… Until a few years ago one was only allowed to step into the huge bare church and look through the grille into the nuns’ choir. Now the convent of Las Huelgas has been opened by Papal permission, and it is one of the most magically beautiful places in the world.…no less extraordinary were the experiences of the commission who came to open the convent… a day or two before the commission left and its work was done, a feast was given to them by the abbess and the nuns. It took place at some strange hour, three or four o’clock in the morning, recalling accounts of audiences given by the Dowager-Empress of China which were at that hour; and the dishes, I was told, were either of an intolerable nastiness, or else quite exquisite in taste but entirely unfamiliar being from probably thirteenth-century recipes.
— Sacheverell Sitwell, Monks, Nuns and Monasteries (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1965), 125 & 127.
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Our small schola has mastered Henri Dumont's Messe Royale, which we have sung at all our monthly Latin Masses since it started; now, owing to a request from the congregation, we are learning the Missa de Angelis (Mass VIII and Credo III). I am aware that this setting of the Ordinary is sometimes done to death, and isn't considered the best nor the purest Gregorian chant, but it remains popular; and it is an introduction to the many other beautiful Gregorian chant Masses.
We also returned to an old favourite tonight: the Passiontide Vesper hymn, Vexilla Regis prodeunt.
Sunday, March 12, 2017
I haven't blogged about many of our monthly Latin Masses up here in Launceston, but thought I might mention that all continues as usual: our little choir psalm-tones the Propers, sings the Messe Royale for the Ordinary (we are starting to learn the Missa de Angelis, while I hope for us also to learn Dumont's Mass in the sixth tone) – accompanied on the organ – and adds suitable chanted pieces as motets for Offertory and Communion (this Sunday, Attende Domine and Ave verum). We have adopted the custom of singing a Marian anthem during the Last Gospel (Ave Regina cælorum at present), before a final hymn in the vernacular. Our slender resources mean that I first run the choir practice, then proceed to serve the Mass alongside Adrian, who acts as the thurifer. But best of all we thus have a simple but complete Missa cantata, doing the maximum not giving in to minimalism. Fr Suresh very kindly drives up each month – next month, he will come for the first Sunday, as he will be very busy down South for Holy Week – and celebrates Mass for us with devotion and attention, not to mention preaches a good strong sermon. Tomorrow morning, being a public holiday, he will say Low Mass at 8 am rather than 7, which Mass I will serve. So we are all very blessed: Deo gratias et Mariæ.