Lectio Divina: 5th Sunday of Lent, Year A

Love Conquers Death

Paris, April 04, 2014 (Zenit.org) Monsignor Francesco Follo

1) Love conquers death.

The Gospel passage that is proposed today by the Liturgy of the Mass invites us to contemplate the miracle of the resurrection of Lazarus as a preview and prophecy of Jesus’ resurrection that will take place in Jerusalem on Easter Day. The risen Lazarus is also a “sign” that life, when lived in friendship with Christ, is not defeated by death. Those who love never die because they give and live in another. Moreover, those who are loved by Christ don’t die, they “sleep ” and are awakened by Christ.

The love for Lazarus “forces” again a miracle from Jesus. In the Song of Songs it is said that “love is as strong as death” (8:6). Jesus in this gesture shows that love is stronger than death; He “wakes up” the friend from the deadly sleep.

There are many aspects that can be highlighted in this episode. Continue reading

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“Marian Saturdays” and The First Five Saturdays Devotion

Immaculate Heart of Mary

Immaculate Heart of Mary

Today is the First Saturday of the month of April.

I promise to assist at the hour of death, with the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months shall confess, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me.”

It may come as some surprise that this devotion of the first five Saturdays, requested by Heaven through Sister Lucia of Fatima in 1925 at her convent in Pontevedra, was not new; in fact it is an ancient custom in the Church! It fits precisely into the long tradition of Catholic piety that, having devoted Fridays to the remembrance of the Passion of Jesus Christ and to honouring His Sacred Heart, found it very natural to devote Saturdays to His Most Holy Mother.

It is sometimes asked why Our Lady asked for Communions of reparation on five first Saturdays, instead of some other number. On 29th May, 1930 Our Blessed Lord explained to Sr. Lucia in another apparition to her that it was because of five kinds of offenses and blasphemies against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, namely: blasphemies against her Immaculate Conception, against her perpetual virginity, against the divine and spiritual maternity of Mary, blasphemies involving the rejection and dishonouring of her images, and the neglect of implanting in the hearts of children a knowledge and love of this Immaculate Mother.

Our Lady of Sorrows on Holy Saturday with the penitent St. Peter.

Our Lady of Sorrows on Holy Saturday with the penitent St. Peter.

My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning” (Psalm 130:6)

It is also an age-old tradition that Jesus appeared to Mary on the Saturday, the day after His death, whilst the world lay in hushed waiting for the Resurrection. The great theologians of the 12th and 13th centuries, Sts. Bernard, Thomas and Bonaventure, explained the dedication of Saturdays to Mary by pointing to the time of Christ’s rest in the grave. Everyone else had abandoned Christ; only Mary continued to believe, demonstrating her deep faith by never doubting for a moment her Son’s promise of Resurrection. This was her day!

St Peter Damian, one of those who most aided the spread of Mariology in the eleventh century, expresses the same thought in the following manner: “Sabbath signifies rest, for one reads that God himself rested on that day. Is it not then fitting that the same day should be dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, in whom the divine Wisdom chose its abode, and rested as on a couch of holiness?”

The liturgical books of the ninth and tenth centuries containing Masses in honour of Mary on Saturday were largely the work of Alcuin (735-804), the Benedictine monk who was “Minister of Education” at the court of Charlemagne and who contributed in a decisive manner to the Carolingian liturgical reform. Alcuin composed six formularies for Votive (i.e. devotional) Masses – one for each day of the week. And he assigned two formularies to Saturday in honour of Our Lady. The practice was quickly and joyously embraced by both clergy and laity.

There were several theological reasons for dedicating this day to Mary. A 15th century missal gives several of those reasons in a hymn: Saturday is the day when creation was completed, therefore it is also celebrated as the day of the fulfillment of the plan of salvation, which found its realisation through Mary. Sunday is the Lord’s Day, so it seemed appropriate to observe the preceding day as Mary’s day. In addition, as Genesis describes, God rested on the seventh day, Saturday. The seventh day, and the Jewish Sabbath, is Saturday; we rest on Sunday, because we celebrate the Resurrection as our Sabbath Day. In parallel, Jesus rested in the womb and then in the loving arms of Mary from birth until she held His lifeless body at the foot of the Cross; thus the God-head rested in Mary.

St. John of Damascus (d. 754) writings testify to the celebration of Saturdays dedicated to Mary in the Church of the East.

Down through the centuries the Marian Saturdays were expressed in several local devotions. This was the day the faithful selected to go on pilgrimages. Sodalities held their meetings on Saturdays and called them Fraternity Saturdays or Sodality Saturdays. The seven colours or sorrows of Mary were in some places commemorated on seven consecutive Saturdays. The 15 Saturdays before the liturgy in honour of Mary as Queen of the Rosary, 7th October, recalled the fifteen decades of the rosary; in some areas this was the day that the crops and harvests were blessed and celebrated. An Irish version of the Saturday devotions to Mary is known as the Fifteen Saturdays of the Rosary. The devotion consists in receiving Holy Communion and saying at least five decades of the Rosary sometime during the day or evening on fifteen consecutive Saturdays or to meditate in some other way on its mysteries.

The devotion in honour of the Immaculate Conception by the Franciscan Order has also contributed to furthering this pious custom of “the Marian Saturdays”.

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Lenten reflections from CATHOLICISM, Week 4 Part 2


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Hymns of Lent 5



Christ embracing St Bernard (Francesc Ribalta,1565-1628)

And from Thy cross embrace me with arms outstretched to save

(From the translation by Monsignor R.A. Knox of words attributed to St Bernard)

The Epistle of the Mass of Passion Sunday, 5th Sunday of Lent, in the 1962 rite, this coming Sunday asks us (rhetorically, anyway):

Hebrews 9:14.

How much more, then, will the blood of Christ . . . cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

Speaking of Christ’s blood, of which particular hymn does this (more or less) literal translation of the first verse of a Latin medieval devotional poem remind you?

Hail, head covered in blood,
all crowned with thorns,
battered, wounded,
beaten like this with a reed,
with your face smeared with spit.
Hail, you whose sweet face,
changed and disfigured,
has lost its bloom
and turned completely pale,
the face at which the court of heaven trembles.

If you were thinking that the hymn is . . . Continue reading

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Dr John Rist: Cardinal Kasper’s new approach to the remarried has shaky historical foundations

From the CatholicHerald.co.uk:

The author of this piece, Dr John Rist, is the Fr Kurt Pritzl OP Chair of Philosophy at the Catholic University of America. He was Professor of Classics at the University of Toronto for 30 years and currently teaches at the Augustinianum, the Patristic Institute in Rome. He is widely published in the field of ancient philosophy, patristics and moral philosophy. He is married and both a father and a grandfather:

Cardinal+Walter+Kasper-300x229On February 20 last, Cardinal Walter Kasper gave an address, “The Gospel of the Family”, to the extraordinary consistory on the family called by the Holy Father, much of it concerned with outlining current difficulties – massive mobility, immigration, costs of childrearing, ageing populations, individualism, alienation of urban life, civil divorce, etc – faced by Catholics entering the married state.

A married Catholic such as myself might suppose that these prevailing circumstances suggest, rather than a relaxation of the rules debarring from Communion the divorced and “re-married” that promulgating from Rome requirements for far more serious marriage-instruction to be given to couples, by priests (or others) cognisant of these difficulties of marriage in contemporary society, would be a first obvious step towards solving, or at least diminishing the problem and easing the strain on marriage tribunals. Yet the cardinal proposes that the rule about Communion be liberalised for two groups of divorced and remarried Catholics: those who genuinely believe (or may even know) that they originally entered on a Church wedding with no firm intention, or inadequate understanding, as to the rules about validity; secondly, those who have contracted a civil second marriage because their Catholic marriage has failed “irretrievably” – with emphasis on a “probably very small group” of these last as especially worthy of relaxation of the rules.

However, it is not my intent to trespass upon the cardinal’s preserve in matter of teaching about marriage, but rather to handle that which is within my competency: the teaching of the Fathers of the Church. For while Cardinal Kasper admits that we cannot simply go back to ancient teachings, he does claim – at the same time suggesting an imprecise parallel with developing doctrines of penance for apostasy – that evidence from antiquity is sufficiently uncertain for a more relaxed approach to find patristic support. To show how weak is this claim, let me address the few texts the cardinal offers in support of his position, limiting myself to the period before the sixth century, since with Justinian an encroaching Caesaropapism engenders in the East a contorting of earlier evidence in favour of a more relaxed approach.

Though others have put forward “early” – though non-existent – evidence for his position, the cardinal wisely offers nothing from the first 150-odd years of Christianity, presumably accepting that marriage rules were then still strict and apostolically based. The first text he cites, from the mid-third century, is Origen (Commentary on Matthew 14:23-24) reporting that bishops of certain local churches “not without reason” allow Communion to those divorced and remarried. Yet Origen also says – not once but three times – that this practice is contrary to the scriptures: hardly endorsement, nor even toleration from so biblical a theologian. Councils apart (I shall come to them), Cardinal Kasper offers further evidence only from the fourth century, observing that Basil (letters 188 and 199), Gregory of Nazienzen (Oratio 37) and Augustine are aware of the same practice occurring. What he omits to notice is that there is no indication of any of them concurring in what plainly contravenes their ordinary teaching.

Moving beyond “private” theologians, Kasper claims that a more pastoral attitude is evidenced by the Council of Nicaea (325) – presumably by Canon 8 which (so he and others tell us) “confirmed” the more relaxed approach. Though this has occasionally been read into the text, yet its virtually certain intent is to permit Communion not to the divorced and remarried but to the widowed and remarried. For we need to bear in mind that a Christian’s marrying twice in any circumstances – including widowhood – was much debated, giving reason for the Council to address this uncertainty. Nor is Cardinal Kasper’s case strengthened by misapplying the Pauline notion of metanoia and going on to presume that the Fathers would consider “repentance” of the failure of a first marriage to justify entering into a second.

To conclude, upon examination the cardinal’s case depends on misinterpreting a tiny number of texts while neglecting numerous others which contradict them. How can this have happened? To my mind we have here an example of a procedure all too frequent in academia, more especially when work may be motivated by convenience or ideology: there is an overwhelming amount of evidence in one direction and one or two texts which might conceivably be read otherwise, from which is derived the desired conclusion, or at least that the matter is open.

Perhaps Cardinal Kasper has more texts to cite. Certainly he will be able to name some few scholars whose lead he has followed. But multiple exemplars of misleading academic practice ought logically to be no more convincing than one.

Dr Rist was Fr Z’s instructor at the Augustinianum in Rome. You can read his post about Dr Rist’s important article here.

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Alec Guinness – an ‘unusual’ conversion story

Sir Alec Guinness (2 April 1914 - 5 August 2000)

Sir Alec Guinness (2 April 1914 – 5 August 2000)

It is 100 years today that Sir Alec Guinness CBE first saw the light of day.  The worldwide fame and acclamation he received for his talented impersonations in diverse roles in cinema and theatre, is well known. But Alec Guinness also has a fascinating personal story to tell, including his conversion to Catholicism. From difficult and humble origins, along the way to becoming one of the most admired, outstanding and versatile of  British actors, Alec Guinness found his way to the discovery of truth in the Catholic Church. 

Recent discussion on our blog with some non-believers has resulted in a constant stream of questions and answers going back and forth, with no apparent satisfactory outcome. Of course one can always hope and pray that a tiny seed of faith might have been sown somewhere along the line that will eventually lead to the agnostics rethinking their views, but on the whole such discussions appear to end in an unsatisfactory stale mate!

Discovering faith is usually the result of a long, studious and even painful search, requiring much prayer and big doses of humility, plus a genuine desire to turn away from all that knowingly separates one from God (serious sin).

But “every man treads a virgin path to God” as Leon Bloy is supposed to have said, meaning that there are as many reasons for conversion as there are people who convert.

One of the most delightful I think is the story behind Alec Guinness’ conversion to Catholicism. He was filming an episode of G.K. Chesterton’s “Father Brown” series in a remote French village when:

“One evening Guinness, still in costume, was on his way back to his lodgings. A little boy, mistaking him for the real thing, grabbed his hand and trustingly accompanied the “priest.”

Alec Guinness in his role as "Father Brown"

Alec Guinness in his role as “Father Brown”

That incident affected Guinness. “Continuing my walk,” he said, “I reflected that a Church that could inspire such confidence in a child, making priests, even when unknown, so easily approachable, could not be as scheming or as creepy as so often made out. I began to shake off my long-taught, long-absorbed prejudices.”

Shortly thereafter, Guinness’s son Matthew, age eleven, was stricken with polio and paralyzed from the waist down. The future for the boy was doubtful, and at the end of each day’s work on the film, Guinness began dropping in at a little Catholic church on his route home. He decided to strike a bargain with God: If God would let Matthew recover, Guinness would not stand in the way if the boy wished to become Catholic.

Happily Matthew recovered completely, and Guinness and his wife enrolled him in a Jesuit academy. At the age of fifteen, Matthew announced that he wished to become Catholic. Guinness kept his end of the bargain with God: He readily agreed to the conversion.

But God wanted much more. Guinness began to study Catholicism. He had long talks with a Catholic priest. He made a retreat at a Trappist abbey. He even attended Mass with Grace Kelly while he was working on a film in Los Angeles. The doctrines of indulgences and infallibility slowed him for a time, but his description of finally entering the Church said it all: “There had been no emotional upheaval, no great insight, certainly no proper grasp of theological issues; just a sense of history and the fittingness of things.”

Guinness was received into the Catholic Church by the bishop of Portsmouth, and while he was in Sri Lanka making The Bridge over the River Kwai, his wife surprised him by also converting…”


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Lenten reflections from CATHOLICISM, Week 4 Part 1

And with apologies to our readers for missing out the second part of Week 3 last week, here it is:


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Fourth Sorrow of Mary – A Meditation

Icon of the Seven Sorrows of Mary

Icon of the Seven Sorrows of Mary

The seven swords in the icon each designate one of the following sorrows:

1. The prophecy of Simeon
. 2. The flight into Egypt
, 3. The  Boy Jesus leavng his parents to visit the Temple in Jerusalem
. 4. The Mother of God’s meeting her Son on the Via Dolorosa
. 5. The Crucifixion of Christ. 6. The deposition from the Cross
. 7. The Entombment of Jesus.

The first three sorrows afflicted Mary during Our Blessed Lord’s Infancy, and the last four were her deep sorrows during her Beloved Son’s Passion, Crucifixion and Death. Today’s meditation is on the  fourth sorrow of Mary: “The Mother of God’s meeting with her Son on the Via Dolorosa”.

“O all you that pass by the way, look and see, was there ever a sorrow to compare with my sorrow!” (Lam 1:12).


In the narrow streets of old Jerusalem, with the crowds shouting and pushing each other as they hurry by, it was here that tradition tells us that Mary came face to face with her Son. Simeon’s prophecy has been fulfilled: “thy own soul a sword shall pierce” (Luke 2:35). She sees him now – a Man despised, the One whom the people can’t bear to look at so disfigured does He look. She is not now listening to the Rabbi reading the prophet who speaks of the Suffering Servant. No here before her eyes that prophecy is being fulfilled. In this moment, wordless in their grief for each other that “there is a ceaseless and incomprehensible breathing between them” – just as the air receives the rays of sunlight so Mary, because of her oneness with Him was able to penetrate His Heart with courage and love. No words were spoken – they would have only been an intrusion. They were conscious only of each other. Mary the mother longing to spare Him from the torture that awaited Him on the hill. No she must not do this, her place was to help Him to carry on, in spite of His weakness, in spite of the prods the soldiers gave him with their spears.  She must strengthen Him to fulfill the Father’s will to the bitter end. She knows that her Son has need of her and she is there waiting. Devotion St. Thomas tells us means the will to give oneself readily to God’s service. Mary you have surpassed all in your readiness to say again, though in very different circumstances, “Here I am Lord I come to do your will”.

“We too are asked to take up as readily and as devotedly as possible the little crosses that come our way, to bear them with Him and for Him, and to go on unflaggingly – to go on if necessary to the mountain of myrrh, to the darkness and the burial: that is the way to know something of the inexpressible joy of that other, later meeting of Son and mother, when the day indeed had broken, the dawn indeed had come, and there was only joy for them now, and the shared happiness of their love, the love that, having gone down in silence together to the very depths of human agony, now rose together to the heights of more than human glory, to that joy of which no tongue can tell, but which is promised in degree in God’s mercy to all those who, in company with Mary, try to love and follow and serve her Son to the end.” Gerald Vann OP

“There is a law that is not in nature, at least, not in raw nature, namely, we who are strong should bear the infirmities of the weak and not please ourselves. It is here that Christianity makes its most unique and distinctive pronouncement and gives the supreme example of divinity, dying for the weakness and sinfulness of humanity. The Christian law is not the survival of the fittest, but the survival of the unfit!” (From ‘Guide to Contentment’ by Ven. Fulton J. Sheen.


I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful, in the consternation

of thy heart at meeting Jesus as He carried His Cross.

Dear Mother, by thy heart so troubled,

obtain for me the virtue of patience and the gift of fortitude.

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Benedict XVI and C. S. Lewis: The novelty of modern Agnosticism (and a possible response)

An insightful post by Michael Kenny on “Journey towards Easter” that should help respond to some of the recent questions posed in the comment section of our blog.

It is often asserted that agnosticism is the ‘default option’ when it comes to religious belief. People will claim that there is just not enough evidence either way to make a decision as to whether or not God exists. However, this, it seems to me, is something of a recent phenomenon, and contrary to the common experience of most cultures and ages. A quick survey of human history will provide ample evidence that it is properly basic to human experience to acknowledge the existence of some sort of divinity, which is responsible for the creation of the world, and the foundation of all the goodness and truth recognised by human beings.

This latter term – ‘recognise’ – is itself an illuminating one in this context, insofar as when we recognise something we experience re-cognition, or re-knowing (the word comes from the Latin cognoscere – ‘to know’). So in recognising something about the world, we are affirming something that, in a sense, we have always known; or rather, when its truth dawns upon us, it is a rediscovery of something that has always been fundamental to our understanding of the world. This is supremely the case in the recognition that God exists and has made the world, as well as the many corollary truths that flow from that….

Continue reading:



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Lectio Divina: Laetare Sunday, Year A

Lætere Sunday at Blackfen


Paris, March 28, 2014 (Zenit.org) Monsignor Francesco Follo

1) The Joy

The title and the introduction of the Exhortation of Pope Francis “Evangelii gaudium “: “The joy of the gospel” are the best commentaries on this Sunday’s Liturgy,” Laetare Sunday”.

The Holy Father in this policy document says: “The joy of the Gospel fills the heart and the lifetime of those who meet with Jesus. Those who let themselves be saved by Him are freed from sin, from sorrow, from inner emptiness and from isolation. With Jesus Christ joy is always born and reborn. “

In the time of bitterness, weariness and intellectual approach, abstract to the life of faith, the Pope in the “Evangelii gaudium “forcefully poses the joy of the Gospel as the completion of the message of Christ who said “I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”

Today we are invited to, “this precious joy upon which all virtue is founded” (Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy , Paradise 24 , 90-91 ) because Easter is approaching and the liturgy creates a dawn that announces the Easter sun and invites us to a moment of serene contentment in the midst of the austerity of Lent.

The Collect of this Sunday’s Mass reads: “Reconcile the human race to yourself in a wonderful way, grant, we pray, that with prompt devotion and eager faith the Christian people may hasten toward the solemn celebrations to come.” The fatigue of the journey is the price for the joy of the goal achieved. This reminds us once again that the purpose of Lent is to prepare for Easter, for the Easter world that will bloom from the Cross on which the eternal Love is sacrificed as a counterweight to all our denials of love.

Joy begins from the small and big human pleasures that everyone experiences from childhood, enjoying the love of parents, friends, brothers and sisters in humanity and faith. This joy, however, is filled with Christ. It comes from Jesus the Redeemer, who brings the glad good news that God is always with us.

Here are some examples to understand this. The first “epiphany” of joy is the Annunciation, which makes Our Lady say: “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46-47). The second is when the greeting of Mary, who carries the Savior in her womb, reaches Elisabeth: John the Baptist leaps for joy in her womb (Luke 1:44). At the birth of Christ, the angel announces to the shepherds “a great joy” (Luke 2:10). When the wise men saw again the star leading them to Christ “they felt a great joy” (Matthew 2:10). Zacchaeus received Jesus into her house “full of joy” (Luke 19:6). On the day of the messianic entrance into Jerusalem “the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the miracles they had seen” (Luke 19:37). And these are only some of the episodes of joy over the presence of Christ and the waiting for Him.

The prophetic announcements of the Savior are full of joyful words and jolts of happiness. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light, to those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone. You have multiplied the joy, you have increased the happiness. They rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as when they divide the prey … A child is born, unto us a son is given. Upon his shoulder dominion rests and He is called: Wonderful Counselor , Mighty God , Everlasting Father , Prince of Peace; great will be his government and peace will have no end.” (Isaiah 9:1-6 , cf. 4 Mt 0.14 to 15 and the Christmas liturgy ) However, this joy was already preceded by the joy of the patriarchs. And Jesus will say, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day and he saw it and was glad” (John 8:56).

As I already mentioned, there is the joy of the Incarnation and of Christmas. Joy announced by the angel (Luke 2:10), discovered by shepherds (Luke 2, 20) and by the Magi (Matthew 2:10), manifested by the aged Simeon and the prophetess Anna (Lk 2.25 to 38). The joy of Christmas comes from contemplating the beginning of our wonderful destiny of redeemed and our return to paradise. “In this day has been planted on the ground the condition of the citizens of heaven, the angels come into communion with men, who entertain themselves without fear with the angels. This is because God came down to earth and man has ascended to heaven. There is no more separation between heaven and earth, between angels and humans “(St. John Chrysostom). The Byzantine liturgy exclaims: “O world, sing and dance at the news (of the virgin birth of Mary), with the angels and shepherds glorify Him who wanted to show Himself as a child, God before the ages.” Joy of love, joy of union, high tenderness of the superabundant and bright happiness!

Finally, there is the joy of Easter which we are preparing for. It touches the highest pinnacle and finally explodes in the resurrection, indispensable complement to the death of the Lord and for our salvation. The Gospels gush of the beatific joy that passes from the angels to Mary Magdalene, the Apostles and the disciples of Emmaus. On the bewildered faith of all his followers, Jesus sheds the light of his glorious life, enlightens them and welcomes them. “And they departed quickly from the sepulcher with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples” (Mt 28, 8). “The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord” (Jn 20:20).

All this is summed up beautifully by St. Thomas Aquinas, who says: “Joy is the enjoyment of a sure good,” good that faith allows to see and enjoy.

2) The Bread of Truth is the Bread of Joy

It is said that faith is blind, but that is an incorrect saying. Faith allows seeing what the eyes of the body and simple human intelligence cannot see. Faith is to see what God sees “For the man sees the appearance but the Lord looks at the heart “(First Reading).

Healing or not, it is only faith that allows me to “see” how God sees from its infinite wisdom. As it is written “In your light we see light “(Ps 35, 10).

“Walk as children of light, and now the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth. Try to figure out what pleases the Lord. Have no fellowship with works of darkness, which bear no fruit, but rather reprove them.” (Second Reading)

During this Lent, a time of conversion to the light that comes from God, let’s meditate on the fact that our life is a breath which ends in a moment, and ask the Lord to increases in us the light of faith not to discuss who to blame for the ills of the world, but to make the Gospel and Jesus Christ the rule of our lives. We are dead even before we actually die if we do not believe in the resurrection from the dead and in the One who guides us toward Easter.

Let us identify with the man born blind who, gone out from from blindness and the interrogation, enters disappointed and confused in the world of those who think that they see. With him let’s go back to meet Jesus who asks him if he believes in him, if he sees Him as the true man and the true God, the Savior of the world.

I can feel his thrill in recognizing that voice and in fixing his gaze on those eyes full of light. I kneel with him in front of Jesus in the Eucharist. I do not think because I have been miraculously cured … I believe that my life is a miracle, even when it is shrouded in darkness. I believe that God loves me and is near me. I listen to his voice in the Bible, I do what He says through the Church, and I go where He sends me. I go to confession to be washed by his innocent blood and heal from my guilty and by my inability to see as He sees everything I am, what I could be and what happens to me .



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Big Battle Brewing – Michael Voris on “Church Militant”

We lost the battle on contraception. We cannot lose the battle on marriage.


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Confession – The Holy Father leads by example

During a penitential service in St. Peter’s Basilica March 28, Pope Francis went to confession:

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Hymns of Lent 4

Deposition from the Cross

“There is joy for all the members in the sorrows of the Head.”

This coming Fourth Sunday of Lent is still often referred to as Laetare Sunday, “Rejoice Sunday”, after the first word in the traditional introit of Mass on that day - Laetare, Jerusalem:

Rejoice, O Jerusalem and come together all you that love her: rejoice with joy, you that have been in sorrow: that you may exult, and be filled from the breasts of your consolation.

 I rejoiced at the things that were said to me: we shall go into the house of the Lord.

Laetare Sunday also reminds us that we are slightly past the midpoint of Lent, so rosy vestments might well be in order.

One hymn that, in my experience, is sometimes sung on Laetare Sunday and often on Ash Wednesday, is another one by Father Faber and, of course, it’s  . . .

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New Personal Parish of Blessed John Henry Newman, Melbourne


Tenebrae service, Blessed John Henry Newman Community, Melbourne

Tomorrow, 28 March 2014, will mark the canonical establishing of the Personal Parish of Blessed John Henry Newman in the Archdiocese of Melbourne, Australia. The parish will serve all those in the Archdiocese, which is Australia’s largest, wishing to worship in the Extraordinary Form.

Please see here for a report and Archbishop Hart’s decree on the Archdiocese’s website.

The personal parish will be accommodated in the church and facilities of St Aloysius’ Parish, Caulfield North (on Balaclava Road, for those acquainted with Melbourne). Actually, Mass in the traditional rite has been offered there every day for more than ten years.

For any who may be visiting Melbourne, please see the parish website for all further information.

The Caulfield area of Melbourne is becoming quite famous for Catholic developments. In Holy Cross Church, Caulfield South, priests of the St Benedict parish of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross serve former Anglicans who have resumed communion with the Roman See.

Just a kilometre or two the other way in East St Kilda is the Holy Trinity and St Nicholas Church of the Russian-rite Catholics .

Please remember Fr Tattersall, Fr McDaniels and Fr Marshall as well as all our Catholic brothers and sisters in the brand new parish in Melbourne and in the nearby Ordinariate and Russian parishes in your prayers.

[CP&S readers with sufficient time, funds, energy and bandages who might wish to visit Melbourne could consider going in October any year (in mid Spring - temperatures reasonably balmy). You could then also participate in the annual Christ the King Pilgrimage between two rural cathedrals, those of Ballarat and Sandhurst, in the state of Victoria. Please look at the pilgrimage's website. Many in the new Blessed Newman's parish, including their clergy, participate and they would make any international pilgrims feel most welcome. They would be thrilled.

Kathleen, any takers? You'll very soon get used to walking upside down.]

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Interview with Bishop Mark Davies

In this interview the Bishop of Shrewsbury Mark Davies speaks with LifeSiteNews.com’s John-Henry Westen about the defence of marriage, why marriage is exclusive to a man and a woman, why the Church loves gays and does not hate them, the future of the pro-life and pro-family movement in the U.K., how the Church encourages men and women of faith to continue standing strong amidst persecution, the source of strength for the battle…

Filmed on location in Shrewsbury, U.K. March 5, 2014 by LifeSiteNews.com.

You can read John-Henry’s article on the interview here.

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