Apologies for not having updated the blog recently- I have been suffering from ill health, probably some apostate has cursed me.
Recently I booked tickets for the BBC Songs of Praise Big Sing at the Royal Albert Hall. Tickets are still on sale via the Royal Albert Hall website for around £12. I’m told accessories such as bright bow ties, tinsel boas, Christmas hats etc. are appropriate as part of the filming will be broadcast on 24th December.
On Saturday I’m visiting Buckfast Abbey and will post some photos for your pleasure.
From the Catholic Herald…
On holiday last week in west Wales, we chanced on an Anglican church in Milford Haven. I say “Anglican” because although it didn’t call itself a Catholic church on the notice board outside I was surprised to see a large statue of the Sacred Heart just inside the entrance. This highly Catholic devotion, as I further discovered during our visit, was followed by Stations of the Cross, a side altar with a tabernacle, a prominent statue of Our Lady and notices about times of Mass.
I picked up an explanatory leaflet at the back of the church which solved my puzzlement at all these traditionally Catholic features. It stated, “We are a voice for traditional believers within the Church in Wales” and went on to list, in clear but careful language, several points in which the parish clearly differs from many members of the wider Anglican community, such as “We are committed to the sacredness of life, the holiness of marriage, and to an approach to human sexuality consistent with the teaching of the Lord and his apostles” and “We believe that men and women are equal in Christ but have different roles and responsibilities…and are unable to accept the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate.”
I realised we had stumbled into what Catholics would describe as a “High Church” parish, or as they might call it, an Anglo-Catholic one. It gave me pause for thought. I reflected on Pope Benedict’s dramatic, generous and imaginative gesture of an “Ordinariate”, whereby parishes unhappy with the direction of the Church of England (and Wales) following their acceptance of the ordination of women, could join the Church together rather than just as individuals.
As far as I could see, the only theological obstacle preventing this isolated, faithful little parish from joining the Church is the primacy of Peter i.e. the authority of Rome. I read more of the leaflet: “We work and pray for the reunion of all Christians on the basis of the Catholic faith of the undivided Church as received from Christ through the apostles…” This had been the position of the famous former Anglican, Blessed John Henry Newman – until his realisation that the “branch theory” of the Church, reflected in its Anglican, Catholic and Orthodox wings, was untenable and that, to be truly Catholic, he had to come over to Rome.
I was pondering what to write in the visitors’ book when my daughter joined me. “Why don’t you invite them to join the Ordinariate?” she asked. So after explaining that I was a Catholic visitor and how moved I was to find features in the church so familiar to Catholics, I did just that.
Many famous saints have taken the burden of suffering for the expiration of the sins of mankind. Jesus died on the cross for us but sinful and inhuman behaviour still goes on. It might seem that those who suffer for the sins of all of us were beating their heads against a brick wall. The terrible pains and illnesses they suffered were overlooked by an uncaring world. Or so it seems.
But even if the majority of people have never heard of St Padre Pio, St Gemma Galgani or St Faustina to name but a few, their sacrifice has been noted by God and by those around them.
How many people can voluntarily take on the severe pains of the wounds of Christ, suffer depression and the darkness of the soul and still remain committed to God. Like Job, whom God allowed the Devil to blight his life, never lost his faith in God. the loss of his children, poverty, terrible sores were visited upon him, yet he never complained and this is how one man can atone for the sins of others.
St Gemma Galgani 1878-1903, an Italian saint who died at the early age of 25, suffered much for her deep love of God.. She suffered much in her short life, including the loss her parents who died when she was very young.. She was frequently attacked by the Devil but bore it with stoic determination and then at the age of 21, She started to show the first signs of stigmata on 8th June 1899. She would write:
‘I felt an inward sorrow for my sins, but so intense that I have never felt the like again……. My will made me detest them all and promise willingly to suffer everything as expiration for them. Then the thoughts crowded thickly within me and they were thoughts of sorrow, fear, hope and comfort”
Just 4 years after this, she would die of tuberculosis after suffering dreadfully. She described herself as a ‘victim soul’, she suffered for others as well as herself.
St Faustina,, a Polish saint, 1905 to 1938, She again died early, at the age of only 33. She suffered many bouts of emptiness and depression and at times she could not feel the presence of God in her life. The Devil tested her most severely and at times she could not feel his presence at all. Although she is best remembered for bringing the world, The Divine Mercy image and devotions, she also took on terrible pain and suffering for the expiration of sins and for the praying for the holy souls in Purgatory.
St Padre Pio of Pietrelcina,, an Italian saint 1887-1968, he would suffer much illness in his life. At 6 he would suffer from severe gastroenteritis, and at 10 typhoid fever. In 1903, he entered the novitiate on 6th January of that year to the Capuchin Friars. Then commencing his 7 year study to become a priest, he soon became seriously ill and spent most of the study period to become a priest studying from his home.
On 20th September 1918, while hearing confessions Padre Pio had his first occurrences of stigmata, which was the bodily marks, pain and bleeding which corresponded to the crucifixion of Christ. This would continue for the next 50 years, right up to his death. Like St Gemma Galgani he suffered severe attacks from the Devil and suffered much for the expiration of sins.
It is good to pray the Divine Mercy and Rosaries for the the deliverance of sinners and quoting the Fatima prayer at the end of every decade of the Rosary, we can offer our prayers for the expiration of sin.
“Oh, my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to heaven. especially those in most need of thy mercy. Amen”