For men it is impossible, but not for God: because everything is possible for God.

Dear friends,
We often get puzzled over our Lord’s comments about camels and the eye of a needle, and because we’re thinking about this we forget what it’s leading up to. Christ makes the contrast not so much between the rich and the poor, but between the rich and God. The rich here, therefore, are those who look to their wealth rather than to God. As though their wealth is going to help them, as though it is a sign that God is pleased with them.

But Christ’s vision, is that we don’t look to ourselves, we look to God – we have to look to him if we’re going to enter the kingdom of God. God is more than happy to lead us, with our camel, through the eye of a needle, but only if we do things his way. If we try this under our own power, then we’re going to spend the rest of our lives peering at needles and camels. If we turn to God, then he will guide us, but we have to be ready to follow his path rather than our own. We need to surrender to his plans for us.

Blessings, Fr Thomas.

    “It is not good for man to be alone.”

    19th Sunday after Trinity (27th in Ordinary Time)

    Dear friends,
    These words of God are spoken in the story of our creation, at the beginning of our existence. It reveals a fundamental truth about what it is to be human. We are social creatures and in printed into our DNA is the need to be in relationship and have communion with others.
    The irony of our modern world is that there are more people doing more things at a quicker rate than any other generation before us. Yet despite this busyness and constant noise and chatter the number of people who feel isolated, rejected, ignored and alone is greater than ever.
    From the very get go the most intimate human relationship of a husband and wife is marked as a sacrament; ‘the two shall become one flesh’ and ‘what God has joined let no-one put asunder.’ It is in the act of love making that a person encounters another at their most vulnerable intimate self. There is an engagement at a level that should be exclusive and precious to the husband and wife alone and requires a deep level of trust and faith.
    Jesus’ fierce defence of marriage in the gospel is because it images the intimate relationship of trust, faith and communion that we are called to in our spiritual discipleship. Our relationship to the body of Christ is one of sacramental intimacy.
    Blessings, Fr Neil

      Adoremus Liverpool

      A couple of weeks ago Sheila and Fr Thomas went to the Adoremus Congress in Liverpool. Some of the details and talks can be found on the Catholic News website.

      Following the pilgrimage, Sheila gave a report after mass, over cake:

      As you may know I attended the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage and conference in Liverpool last weekend. This conference was attended by 10,000 people ending with a procession of the Blessed Sacrament. During the two days, there were many interesting presentations, testimonies (especially those given by three University students) and talks given on so many aspects of the Eucharist.

      There is one in particular that I would like to tell you about, one that we can do something practical about. It was given by representatives from Aid to the Church in Need. We can make donations to this worthwhile cause and have had second collections to support their work but ACN are asking us to do something practical: attend Adoration for somebody who can’t attend themselves. We are so fortunate to be able to attend Eucharistc Adoration without being in fear of our lives. Can I urge you to attend Adoration in the name of one of those people as they cannot attend for themselves?

      Sheila read out some examples and there are cards available, giving details or you can use the case studies on the ACN website.

        Happy Michaelmas!

        Today is the feast that, in our Anglican days we called St Michael and All Angels. Now we have to get used to it being the feast of the archangels, St Michael, St Gabriel and St Raphael. There are some lovely folk traditions associated with this feast and we use the recipes from the Lavender and Lovage blog. This year I have forgotten to get blackberries so will have to hunt some out!

        One of the passages in the Office of Readings this morning was from a sermon by St Gregory the Great explaining that angels are angels by their function, rather than nature.

        Some angels are given proper names to denote the service they are empowered to perform. In that holy city, where perfect knowledge flows from the vision of almighty God, those who have no names may easily be known. But personal names are assigned to some, not because they could not be known without them, but rather to denote their ministry when they came among us. Thus, Michael means “Who is like God”; Gabriel is “The Strength of God”; and Raphael is “God’s Remedy.”

        Today is a good day to remind us that we can ask the Archangels for their prayers. The prayer to St Michael is probably the most famous and is prayed at the end of our said masses. There is a very lovely prayer to St Raphael to ask for his intercession for healing:

        Glorious Archangel St. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, you are illustrious for your gifts of wisdom and grace. You are a guide of those who journey by land or sea or air, consoler of the afflicted, and refuge of sinners. I beg you, assist me in all my needs and in all the sufferings of this life, as once you helped the young Tobias on his travels. Because you are the “medicine of God” I humbly pray you to heal the many infirmities of my soul and the ills that afflict my body. I especially ask of you the favour [here mention your special intention], and the great grace of purity to prepare me to be the temple of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

        And for those who like a little philosophy with your blackberries, we enjoy reading Peter Kreeft’s article about Angels.

        However you choose to celebrate, have a happy Michaelmas!

          Harvest Thanksgiving: Sunday 2 September

          Harvest Appeal for Matthew 25 Mission

          We are celebrating our Harvest Thanksgiving on Sunday 2 September with Mass at 4:00pm, and we invite offerings in thanksgiving for God’s goodness which we will pass on to the Matthew 25 Mission in Eastbourne.

          Matthew 25 Mission are an Eastbourne based registered charity assisting people in need and offering practical help and support to anyone, regardless of race, religion or gender. They provide a listening ear and sympathetic pastoral care with information and advice as well as provision of food, clothing and basic necessities. Volunteers at the Matthew 25 Mission aim to support people trying to rebuild broken lives, especially those with life-threatening addiction, loneliness, bereavement, unemployment, homelessness, offending and more.

          In addition to the basics as illustrated here which can be included in a food parcel, the Mission also provides healthy meals for those without the facilities to provide for themselves, and perishable donations are often used in this way. But food parcels don’t just contain food, and donations of basic toiletries are also welcome.


          Readings at Mass

          Deuteronomy 8:7–18
          1 Timothy 6:6–11, 17–19
          Luke 12:15–21

            Pentecost Novena: Day 9 (19 May)

            The Holy Spirit as a dove in the Bernini window at St Peter's Basilica, Rome

            Saturday the Vigil of Pentecost

            Thou, on those who evermore
            Thee confess and Thee adore,
            in Thy sevenfold gift, descend;
            Give Them Comfort when they die;
            Give them Life with Thee on high;
            Give them joys which never end. Amen.

            The Fruits of the Holy Spirit

            The gifts of the Holy Spirit perfect the supernatural virtues by enabling us to practice them with greater docility to divine inspiration. As we grow in the knowledge and love of God under the direction of the Holy Spirit, our service becomes more sincere and generous, the practice of virtue more perfect. Such acts of virtue leave the heart filled with joy and consolation and are known as Fruits of the Holy Spirit. These Fruits in turn render the practice of virtue more attractive and become a powerful incentive for still greater efforts in the service of God, to serve Whom is to reign.

            Prayer

            Come, O Divine Spirit,
            fill my heart with Thy heavenly fruits,
            Thy charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity,
            goodness, faith, mildness, and temperance,
            that I may never weary in the service of God,
            but by continued faithful submission to Thy inspiration
            may merit to be united eternally with Thee in the love of the Father and the Son. Amen.

            Our Father,
            who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name.
            Thy kingdom come,
            Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven.
            Give us this day our daily bread,
            and forgive us our trespasses
            as we forgive them that trespass against us.
            And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
            For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory,
            for ever and ever. Amen.

            Hail Mary, full of grace;
            the Lord is with thee.
            Blessed art thou amongst women,
            and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
            Holy Mary, Mother of God,
            pray for us sinners now
            and at the hour of our death. Amen.

            Then the Gloria is said seven times

            Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,
            and to the Holy Spirit;
            as it was in the beginning, is now
            and ever shall be,
            world without end. Amen.

            Act of Consecration to the Holy Spirit

            On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses, I o?er myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light, and listen to Your voice, and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You, by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds, and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart, I implore You, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace, O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere, “Speak Lord for Your servant heareth.” Amen.

            Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

            O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth, the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of Your true disciples and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.