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Sunday 19 May 2013

Vocation of the Laity

There are few lay people who understand or even realize that we are all called to have a spousal relationship with Jesus.

The nuns of Tyburn, who adore the Ecuahristic Heart of Jesus, reminded me that all of us are called to this intimacy with Christ. All.

So few of the laity understand this sublime call. It involves the total giving up of one's self to Christ.

I have a challenge. Three to four women are needed for a core group of a community which will adore Christ in the Eucharist. This call is for anyone who wants to live in a community and work towards the conversion of England, do reparation for abortion, the apostasy of the clergy and sins against the Holy Eucharist.

I have seven years experience in a lay community, and the prayers and good wishes of Tyburn. The Tyburn-Walsingham connection is not an accident.

Both are places of suffering, martyrdom, reparation.

Pray, think, reflect, act. Are you interested? Devotion to Our Lady of Walsingham could bring about unity in the fragmented Church here.

The time for courage is now, and the time for good deeds is now. This window will be closed soon, as the world will not tolerate the setting up of free religious oriented groups, either lay or vowed, in the coming future.

Do not put off tomorrow what can be done today.

Crucial Days for Irish Abortion Bill and SSM Bill in Great Britain

Just for the heck of it poem

For Number One Son

Strange to watch black ink disappear
from my pens, like small rivulets pouring
out of the hillsides on the dales.

Some pens I have had since 2004,
on a shelf, in a drawer, or holder
in the kitchen long forgotten messages

on sticky notes cluttering the fridge.
We writers love the tools of our craft,
and relate to paper, pens, ink like so

many fine tuned instruments there to help
us sing. One learn which brands are best suited
to one's fingers, but still, like Austen's quill, or

Montblanc writer's edition, one wants one's
own teddy bear pen at midnight, when ideas
creep over the white covers, surround one's

head, demanding attention like hungry cats.
So, as I listen to these children of the night
begging for food and drink, I reach for a

Pilot or Optiflow left over from college days,
wishing I had my old calligraphy points or better
yet, my gold and black of old or a new Aspinal.

Some writers like fine tips, some bold, but none
scratchy or blotting. We are spoiled for choice
with roller balls or mechanical pencils, or gel pens.

Still we write on and on, despite the wrong
size of nib or horrid colour. My son's silver pen lies
in a drawer somewhere, unused by the techy one,

but like me, he wishes he could haunt stationers' shops
and look for that perfect pen. His bamboo kanji pens,
ignored until he has time; when will that be?

We wait for inspiration, and I use yet another school
girl's pen found somewhere in order to answer the
siren's call now--write now. Write now.

These pens on my duvet have crossed several oceans
waited in five countries for me to open the case,
instead of using my computer, which is hundreds

of miles away. The bottles of ink in my luggage
dripped, of course, the red, but I am grateful for
American ziplock baggies. So, I wait for my computer

enduring a few frustrations, and candle-light would make
no difference; I think of Lincoln as a young pioneer, stuffed
into a tiny attic with pencil and paper, like gold dust,

rare in New Salem. I am sure he was more comfortable
in Springfield on the leafy streets, with pens galore, most
likely gifts in leather cases from his aesthetic wife.

In this room by the sea, in a late spring which feels
like winter with no Christmas, to paraphrase another
word-smith, I wonder, what were his pens like and

did he think anyone would read his tales, or poems,
like my 100s lying in boxes, with plays, short stories,
essays, satires, somewhere in Illinois in storage.

Life is too short for all the words leaning against
my brain this twilight, like birds on a wire in the wind;
leaning for warmth and solidity. These birds struggle

to stay, but finally forced to fly away while I pretend
to sleep. Goodbye words, goodnight. Rest by my pens
until later, I am too tired to entertain you tonight,

by playing music to meet your fancy--and yet,
the ink flows like water trickling down the window
in this bleakest of seasons in Kent.

There are no safeguards in this bill

Comment by Archbishop Vincent Nichols and Archbishop Peter Smith on Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill

15/05/2013 1:05 

"We urge members of the House of Commons to think again about the long-term consequences of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill in deciding how to vote at the report stage and third reading debates next week (20-21 May).
"Many people within and beyond the faith communities deeply believe that the state should not seek to change the fundamental meaning of marriage. This proposed change in the law is far more profound than first appears. Marriage will become an institution in which openness to children, and with it the responsibility on fathers and mothers to remain together to care for children born into their family, is no longer central to society’s understanding of marriage. It is not too late for Parliament to think again and we urge MPs to do so.

"Furthermore, the Bill as currently drafted poses grave risks to freedom of speech and freedom of religion. If the Bill is to proceed through Parliament we urge members to ensure it is amended so that these fundamental freedoms we all cherish are clearly and demonstrably safeguarded."

A short commentary on one of today's reading from Romans 8

People who are interested only in unspiritual things can never be pleasing to God. Your interests, however, are not in the unspiritual, but in the spiritual, since the Spirit of God has made his home in you. In fact, unless you possessed the Spirit of Christ you would not belong to him. Though your body may be dead it is because of sin, but if Christ is in you then your spirit is life itself because you have been justified; and if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, then he who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to your own mortal bodies through his Spirit living in you.

Too many Catholics are interested in unspiritual things. What are unspiritual things? Vacations, accumulation of wealth, hot cars, jewellry, fancy clothes, gourmet food, even family pride. Anything can hold us back and the false gospel of prosperity leads us away from the real life of penance and sacrifice which allows God to purify us so that the gifts can flow out from our souls into the world.

Heresy or any disobedience from the Church's teaching is a serious sin and blocks the gifts of the Holy Spirit. But, we can be raised from the dead, by turning from all sin, not merely mortal sin.

Are we wasting time, instead of praying? Are we gossiping? Are we not focused totally on Christ?

  So then, my brothers, there is no necessity for us to obey our unspiritual selves or to live unspiritual lives. If you do live in that way, you are doomed to die; but if by the Spirit you put an end to the misdeeds of the body you will live.

  Everyone moved by the Spirit is a son of God. The spirit you received is not the spirit of slaves bringing fear into your lives again; it is the spirit of sons, and it makes us cry out, ‘Abba, Father!’ The Spirit himself and our spirit bear united witness that we are children of God. And if we are children we are heirs as well: heirs of God and coheirs with Christ, sharing his sufferings so as to share his glory.

We do not know what happened to Jairus' daughter after she was raised from the dead. We cannot imagine going to the edges of hades, the first limbo, where the just were waiting for Christ's Harrowing of Hell. We cannot imagine being called back to life by God Himself, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. But, she was called out of physical death into a spiritual life, and I am sure, she was never the same.

So too, we are changed. Let us be real builders of the Church in allowing God to purify us so that we live as new creations. God, as we know from the Scriptures, is the God of the living and the dead. Come Holy Spirit and bring us to new life.

Pentecost Lost

From the CCC

1830 The moral life of Christians is sustained by the gifts of the Holy Spirit. These are permanent dispositions which make man docile in following the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
1831 The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. They belong in their fullness to Christ, Son of David.109 They complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them. They make the faithful docile in readily obeying divine inspirations.
Let your good spirit lead me on a level path.110For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God . . . If children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.111
1832 The fruits of the Spirit are perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory. The tradition of the Church lists twelve of them: "charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity."112

Let us be honest and face the fact that most of the adolescents who have received these gifts are not exhibiting them. Why?

Several reasons may be delineated.

One, the formation necessary for children after baptism is not occurring in most Catholic families, which is the meaning of my Pentecost Poem below. Formation begins immediately, in the womb and especially after baptism. The cardinal virtues are given at baptism, as are many other gifts. Without early formation, those gifts listed above, which COMPLETE and PERFECT the virtues lie dormant.

Parents have the primary responsibility for the early spiritual formation of their children.

Two, the conveyor belt so-called preparation for Confirmation may include as few as four classes in Great Britain, although usually more in the States, even as many as 24 over a year of prep. Those dioceses here in GB which only demand 4-6 classes cannot expect the Confirmands to be open and ready for the fullness of grace which comes through the sacrament. The deceit of the preparation which does not even demand a break with mortal sin stops all grace from becoming active. Some places still do not have Confession as a requirement for Confirmation prep.

Three, those who are giving the prep may not be living the life of virtues themselves and, therefore, cannot lead those under them to the completion and perfection of baptismal grace. If one has not experienced the flowing of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in one's own life, how can one lead others to the appropriate mind-set and state of the soul to receive Confirmation properly?

Four, too much emphasis is on the receiving of the gifts outside the context of baptism and the fact that Confirmation, being one of the three Sacraments of Initiation, must be understood as a continuum of a life of grace from baptism and nurtured by the Holy Eucharist. This does not seem to be understood by some teachers. Confirmation is here further explained in context from the CCC:

1302 It is evident from its celebration that the effect of the sacrament of Confirmation is the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost.

1303 From this fact, Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of baptismal grace:
- it roots us more deeply in the divine filiation which makes us cry, "Abba! Father!";117
- it unites us more firmly to Christ;
- it increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us;
- it renders our bond with the Church more perfect;118
- it gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross:119

Recall then that you have received the spiritual seal, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence, the spirit of holy fear in God's presence. Guard what you have received. God the Father has marked you with his sign; Christ the Lord has confirmed you and has placed his pledge, the Spirit, in your hearts.120
1304 Like Baptism which it completes, Confirmation is given only once, for it too imprints on the soul an indelible spiritual mark, the "character," which is the sign that Jesus Christ has marked a Christian with the seal of his Spirit by clothing him with power from on high so that he may be his witness.121

1305 This "character" perfects the common priesthood of the faithful, received in Baptism, and "the confirmed person receives the power to profess faith in Christ publicly and as it were officially (quasi Ex officio)."122

The signature mode of power should be evident after the reception of the sacrament. Like the inspiration of the Spirit into the world at Creation, the young persons should reflect a newness of life and resolve, as well as creativity. Such words as being born in the spirit or being a soldier of Christ are not poetry, but real. A person is changed ontologically and this major change should be manifested.

Lastly, one must ask if there are obstacles in the person's soul which stop the graces being operative. There is a need for spiritual direction, not merely teaching, in Confirmation prep. Some reasons have already been outlined here as blocks to grace, but there may be more of a personal nature, such as fear, abuse, gross ignorance, or even demonic blocks caused by young people getting involved in the occult. Such blockages need to be addressed. If a change is not seen after the administering of the sacrament, a team must stop and review preparation. Power and peace, as well as the completion and, at least, the beginning of the perfection of the virtues, should be obvious.

If not, something is wrong, and Pentecost is lost.

On Hell

This is an odd topic for Pentecost, but this post is on hell. Why I am writing on hell is partly the mystery of grace  One reason is that there are too many people who call themselves full of the Spirit but do not believe in hell.

The CCC notes that "The affirmation of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church on the subject of hell are a call to the responsibility incumbent upon man to make use of his freedom in view of his eternal destiny. They are at the same time an urgent call to conversion: 'Enter by the narrow gate for the gate is wide and the way easy , that leads to destruction, and those who enter it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.'"

Very few, as against the idea of universal salvation-but what does this mean and what does this have to do with Pentecost?

When the apostles left the upper room, they were not only full of the Spirit, but new men, totally dedicated to a new way of life. Did they know what this meant? No, but, like little children being led by the hand, they had to completely leave their old lives and go where God was leading them.

Too many of us want the goodies of Pentecost without the leaving of the old life, and this is a real leaving off of things, people, places. We must be completely detached, even from ourselves.

Only Caleb and Joshua entered the Promised Land, as the others who complained of the difficulties and only wanted the goodies of the new land and not the trials, perished.

Those who lacked courage never entered into the Promised Land, the symbol of heaven.

This is our responsibility, as noted in the CCC. We must allow God to completely convert us, not merely parts of our souls, minds, hearts.

The Calebs and Joshuas of this world enter the narrow gate. They live by Faith, the heritage of Pentecost.

Without Faith, no one is worthy of the grace of Pentecost

Hell is the other side of the coin-the place where the complainers and those who lacked courage go--those who want the fleshpots of Egypt and not willing to enter the Land of Promise.

None of the disciples coming out of the upper room knew where they were going or what they were to do.

But, they knew that the Gospel was about BEING full of the Spirit.

Joshua told his people to choose life, not death.

Choose life. Those of us who are baptized do not have a choice. It has been made.

Pentecost Poem

Part One

One of the Irish nuns in the Heart,
of Jesus, when her white skirt
when down to the lace edges
which dusted the thick green grass,

learned to walk in Tyburn fields
as this was done, by many families
in London, wanting their children
to walk the walk of the martyrs.

Her baby footsteps measured out
the paths of Campion, Southwell,
Sherwin, Ward, all who went before
with sometimes gnarled toes and

bleeding legs. Yet, little Celt cooed
and walked and finally ran about
the tender grasses on the edge of
Marble Arch, her parents savvy

to the ways of the world. Her
formation began young. Her play-
fellows in the sun reaching out for
Faith as they reached out to their

parents of the promise-those who
took vows at the font seriously.
Where are those parents now?
Who is leading the little ones

to learn the Ave and Pater and
the life of goodness, as the little
one with the flowing hair did
long ago? Her soul is assured

salvation and the day of eternal
Pascha rosatum sees her 
standing with the golden virgins
at the foot of the Eucharistic Throne. 

Part Two

Little Margaret munching on
a clover, not seeing her future
martyrdom within the walls
on the edge of Bainiardus'

land, a tenant of the Abbot
foreshadowing even then
Benedict's Rule but rudely
taken when called Bear's Watering,

taken like the lives of so many 
whose blood filled the rills
under toddler Meg's white shoes.
She is now dust in her black habit.

but remembered for her first
steps, the steps of virtue
all made in the place of springs
like Fountains, like Glastonbury

and today memories or even 
forgotten by the shopping crowds
and youth jogging over the same
paths. No announcement of fiery

tongues capture their imaginations,
long stuffed with the goo of satan.
Margaret's Pentecost discovered
only by those who stop and listen.

Oswulf's Stone lies in their hearts
because their mothers, their fathers
did not take them to Tyburn to
learn how to walk and so they

run to a different place, away from
Margaret's peace in the land of
the Spirit, where she sings and runs
with the Wind, like horses of heaven.