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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Patron Saint of Everything

"To other Saints Our Lord seems to have given power to succour us in some special necessity — but to this glorious Saint, I know by experience, He has given the power to help us in all. Our Lord would have us understand that as He was subject to St. Joseph on earth — for St. Joseph, bearing the title of father and being His guardian, could command Him — so now in Heaven Our Lord grants all his petitions. I have asked others to recommend themselves to St. Joseph, and they, too, know the same thing by experience" 
- St Teresa of Avila

Imagine being able to command God!  What awesome responsibility and honour was that of our Saint. If while on earth St Joseph could ask his Foster-Son anything and receive it, why should anything have changed now that they are together in heavenly glory?  Go to St Joseph in all your needs and be confident of being heard!

Our Shrine to St Joseph on Papa Stronsay, erected for the nine days of his Novena.  We owe so much to St Joseph, not least the fact that we live on the Holy Island of Papa Stronsay.  

Please continue, dear Saint, to watch over us with your protection and intercession that with your help, and that of your spouse, Mary, we may all be found worthy to enter into eternal glory.  Amen.

Friday, March 07, 2014

The Mass of the Five Wounds

Salisbury Cathedral

The Sarum rite of Mass was one of the rites of celebrating Mass in use in England before the reformation.  It is more properly called the Rite of Salisbury and originated as the Rite used in the Cathedral of that place.  One Mass in particular was extremely popular with the English people: the Mass of the Five Wounds.  In the Sarum missal, just before the text of this Mass is related the story of how it came to be:

"S Boniface the pope was sick, even unto death; and he urgently besought God to prolong his life in this world. God sent to him S Raphael the Archangel with the Office [the word Officium can also mean the Introit] of the Mass of the Five Wounds of Christ, saying to the Pope “Get up and write this Office, and you shall say it five times; and straightway you will receive health. And what priest soever shall devoutly celebrate this Office for himself or for another sick person five times, he shall receive health and grace, and in the future shall possess life eternal, provided he perseveres in good. And in whatsoever tribulation a man shall be set in this world, if he procures from a priest that this Office be said for him five times, without doubt he shall be set free. And if it shall be said for the soul of one departed, immediately after it shall have been completely said, that is, five times, his soul shall be loosed from pains”. 

Pope S Boniface therefore, hearing these things, immediately got up in the place where he lay sick, and conjured him [the angel] by Almighty God that he should depart from him without any danger to himself, and should straightway give a sign who he was, and for what purpose he had come to him. He [the Angel] at once said that he was the archangel Raphael sent to him from God, and promised that the things listed above would without doubt be ratified. Pope s Boniface then confirmed the Office by his apostolic authority, granting to all, truly confessed and penitent, who should say it for the fifth time, a seventh part of the remission of all their sins. And likewise, he loosed in the Lord forty days of mortal sins and one year of venial sins to all who should procure the aforesaid office to be said."

Salisbury Cathedral

Sunday, March 02, 2014

The Fast of Lent

The temptation of Our Lord in the desert.

Lent is a time that we may and should look towards with a certain holy joy and enthusiasm.  It is a time to reform ourselves, to do penance, to catch up as it were in the way of paying our debts to God.  There are perhaps so many things that we have promised to do, so many guilty indulgences or bad habits we have long been resolving to give up.  Now is the time, now if ever, during the holy time of Lent.  

Lent is the great Fast of the Church in which all Her children are called to take part.  The forty days serve to commemorate the time spent by Our Lord in the desert before His public ministry.  It was a time of prayer, fasting and fighting against temptation.  Lent is a time to recall the excess of Christ’s Love, especially His fasting, sorrows, Passion and Death.  It is a time to return this Love by serious efforts to conform ourselves more to His Pattern.  ‘If every year we rooted out one vice,’ says Thomas a Kempis ‘we should soon become perfect men.’ (Im. Bk. I cp. Xi).  Ah!  Indeed, if we and all sons and daughters of Holy Church would use the time of Lent to begin in earnest to forsake and uproot some evil propensity, some unmortified passion or inordinate attachment, how our lives would be changed for the better!  

To do something befitting the holy time of Lent, we could consider to abstain from meat and eggs during the forty days.  Then there are our personal and voluntary sacrifices that we should think about and prepare to make beforehand.  Even the most weak, the most weighed down by sin, need not feel gloomy and depressed when the time of Lent comes round, since it is for many a powerful incentive for sincere conversion and reconciliation with God.

How many times have we resolved to pray more, to meditate, to do spiritual reading and to make a steady habit of daily spiritual exercises?!  Lent is coming!  Let us make up our minds to offer God the spiritual service of prayer in a more fervent and constant manner!  At least now and then, it will be of great benefit and fittingness to make the Way of the Cross and to spend some time, if possible before the Blessed Sacrament.  We will surely find it most rewarding to spend more time with God in the quiet peace of prayer.  Our daily tasks will seem less enormous and painful to deal with and we will desire to return to the presence of God by retiring again to converse with Him in silence.  The habit of spending time with God will deepen our sense of His indwelling in our souls.  We will find that by retiring to Him, we are aspiring to Him.   ‘Prayer is good with fasting,’ (Tob. 12. 8) said the Angel to Tobias, and indeed the one helps the other.  Prayer is made easier and more agreeable with some fasting and fasting is made bearable with the support of prayer.  Let us be firmly decided this year, to make our season of Lent a time for God and an occasion of profit to our immortal souls.

— by a Transalpine Redemptorist monk.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

A Welcome Visit from Fr Hunwicke

For several years we have been friends with Fr John Hunwicke. That he might consider travelling to us all the way from Oxford, considering the fall he had when in Rome in 2012, seemed almost too much to expect. But to our delight we were privileged to welcome him to Papa Stronsay last week, where for four days he gave us conferences on the holy Liturgy: the Sarum rite, the missal of Stowe, and the history of Papal Anglicanism culminating in the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham during the reign of Pope Benedict XVI. 
Of course we did not simply receive conferences; there is nothing like having a friend to stay; it was super! And yes of course, we are hoping he will return again. 

 Fr Hunwicke's lively and engaging deliveries!
Every word clearly articulated and set to make its mark.

 One afternoon during his visit some of the brethren accompanied Father on a walk around the island.

Father has a keen interest in early monastic archaeology.

 Father examining the ruins of the 11th century chapel of St Nicholas on Papa Stronsay
which is built over an earlier one from the 7th century.

Again in the ruins of St Nicholas's chapel.
The neighbouring island of Stronsay in the background.

Not an easy walk along the beach on the eastern side of Papa Stronsay.

Our Desert in the Pathless Sea.

In Father's Mutual Enrichment blog
 he wrote about his time with us.

Many thanks Father for coming all this way!
Wonderful days!
Haste ye back!

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