Avenge me of mine adversary (Luke 18:1-8)

In the Parable of the Unjust Judge and the Persistent Widow we are given a purely human account of how ‘justice’ works. Men grant ‘rights’ and follow ‘laws’ simply out of convenience, rarely if ever, and seldom for the right reasons, groping towards the natural law. What is justice, anyway? When we confront this knotty, Socratic question, we often find ourselves caught up in a culture of entitlement, litigation, conflict, and division. Some semblance of order may sometimes result, but it never lasts long, and it’s hard to see what it is we really want.

The Unjust Judge “neither feared God nor respected man”. After much nagging, he reluctantly gives the widow her rights, but his actions are not motivated by charity. What motivates our actions is known only to God and our conscience. Only Our Lord –appearances can deceive – is able to tell who is or is not like the Unjust Judge. If, unlike the Unjust Judge, we find unaffected, sincere, selfless love within ourselves, we are keeping Christ’s commandment to love, and “whatsoever we ask, we receive of him” (1 John 3:22). For, God, utterly unlike any earthly judge, is Love, and by his nature is also Just.

When we appeal to God, as the Persistent Widow did to the Unjust Judge, we are praying in a particular way. Petitionary prayer is perhaps the most common form of prayer, especially in times of distress and need. When we ask God for things, we often behave like we are pleading with an arbitrary, human judge. But while man-made law deals with externals, and with our surface-level desires and needs, God is different. Even those of us who are filled with charity will not always receive from God those things for which we ask. When we pray, like the widow “avenge me of mine adversary” – whether a person, evil spirit, or a particular sin – God often refuses. This is because prayer is itself the expression of a desire, a desire for union with God above all. When we ask for something and God does not give it to us, this does not mean that we lack charity. Rather, it means God is loving, healing, and judging us in a way which transcends human understanding: he knows best. In doing this, he fulfils our primary desire for union with him, rather than other desires. Instead of asking God for our ‘rights’, we should simply love our God and neighbour. We should understand that God allows us to suffer in particular ways for our own good. This love is what keeps on coming back to God, as did the widow to the judge, and we know that God does whatever is necessary to fulfil love’s desire by bringing us to eternal life.

Prayers and best wishes,
Keir,
seminarian on placement

    Celebrating the Canonisation of our patron, St John Henry Newman

    This weekend was very significant in the life of our Ordinariate. St Peter’s Square in Rome was packed for the canonisation of Saint John Henry Newman, one among five that day. Because he is our patron many Ordinariate clergy and laity were there, as many photographs on social media proved.

    Here in Eastbourne we had a more modest affair yesterday evening. Our 7:30 evening mass was the focus for celebrations, followed by some refreshments in the hall afterwards. It was a Solemn Mass, with a special souvenir order of service, and featured the Te Deum at the end. Fr Thomas celebrated and preached. The regular congregation were joined by extras from the 4pm Sunday mass community, people from Christ the King and members of the local Newman Association.

    Thank you to those who contributed to the evening and who brought food and drinks.

    Graham, Fr Neil and Keir Martland serving.

    Graham, Fr Neil and Keir Martland serving

    During the Te Deum after Mass

    During the Te Deum after Mass

      Novena with Newman: Day 9 — Model of Friendship

      Cardinal NewmanAll over the world, people are preparing to celebrate the canonisation of Blessed John Henry Newman on Sunday 13 October.

      This is a time of special grace for us to join together and form links in a great chain of prayer, where we call upon the soon-to-be-Saint to crown our prayers with his intercession in heaven.

      Everyone can form links in that chain by joining in the Novena with Newman — nine days of prayerful preparation for the canonisation, starting on Friday 4 October and finishing on Saturday 12 October on the eve of the canonisation.

      Day 9: Friday 12 October (S Wilfrid; S Ethelburga)

      Intention: That we are helped to cultivate the gift of charity.

      From his writings:
      The love of our private friends is the only preparatory exercise for the love of all men.

      Prayer: A decade of the Rosary (any you choose, although it’s usually the Joyful Mysteries on Saturday) for this intention, and then:

      O God our heavenly Father, we offer you heartfelt thanks for the life and holiness of John Henry Newman. In him you give us an inspiring example of priest and teacher, heroic and humble in his labour for the salvation of souls and the pursuit of holiness. Through his intercession we ask you to lead us by the kindly light of the Holy Spirit, and so grant us peace and joy in the one fold of the Redeemer. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

      If you would like a leaflet to print, we’ve a PDF of the entire Novena on one side of A4 (Originally published by the Oratories of England):
      Novena with Newman

        Novena with Newman: Day 8 — Servant of the Church

        Cardinal NewmanAll over the world, people are preparing to celebrate the canonisation of Blessed John Henry Newman on Sunday 13 October.

        This is a time of special grace for us to join together and form links in a great chain of prayer, where we call upon the soon-to-be-Saint to crown our prayers with his intercession in heaven.

        Everyone can form links in that chain by joining in the Novena with Newman — nine days of prayerful preparation for the canonisation, starting on Friday 4 October and finishing on Saturday 12 October on the eve of the canonisation.

        Day 8: Friday 11 October (Pope St John XXIII)

        Intention: That we are given the grace to see the Church as more than a human institution but the Body of Christ.

        From his writings:
        The Church of God cannot change; what she was, that she is. What our forefathers were, such are we; we look like other men, but we have that in us which none others have — the latent element of indomitable fortitude. This may not be the age of Saints, but all times are the age of Martyrs.

        Prayer: A decade of the Rosary (any you choose, although it’s usually the Sorrowful Mysteries on Friday) for this intention, and then:

        O God our heavenly Father, we offer you heartfelt thanks for the life and holiness of John Henry Newman. In him you give us an inspiring example of priest and teacher, heroic and humble in his labour for the salvation of souls and the pursuit of holiness. Through his intercession we ask you to lead us by the kindly light of the Holy Spirit, and so grant us peace and joy in the one fold of the Redeemer. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

        If you would like a leaflet to print, we’ve a PDF of the entire Novena on one side of A4 (Originally published by the Oratories of England):
        Novena with Newman

          Novena with Newman: Day 7 — Educator of the Laity

          John Henry NewmanAll over the world, people are preparing to celebrate the canonisation of Blessed John Henry Newman on Sunday 13 October.

          This is a time of special grace for us to join together and form links in a great chain of prayer, where we call upon the soon-to-be-Saint to crown our prayers with his intercession in heaven.

          Everyone can form links in that chain by joining in the Novena with Newman — nine days of prayerful preparation for the canonisation, starting on Friday 4 October and finishing on Saturday 12 October on the eve of the canonisation.

          Day 7: Thursday 10 October (St Paulinus of York)

          Intention: That we may be inspired to gain a deeper understanding of the teaching of our faith.

          From his writings:
          I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it.

          Prayer: A decade of the Rosary (any you choose, although it’s usually the Luminous Mysteries on Thursday) for this intention, and then:

          O God our heavenly Father, we offer you heartfelt thanks for the life and holiness of John Henry Newman. In him you give us an inspiring example of priest and teacher, heroic and humble in his labour for the salvation of souls and the pursuit of holiness. Through his intercession we ask you to lead us by the kindly light of the Holy Spirit, and so grant us peace and joy in the one fold of the Redeemer. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

          If you would like a leaflet to print, we’ve a PDF of the entire Novena on one side of A4 (Originally published by the Oratories of England):
          Novena with Newman

            Novena with Newman: Day 6 — Counsellor of Converts

            John Henry NewmanAll over the world, people are preparing to celebrate the canonisation of Blessed John Henry Newman on Sunday 13 October.

            This is a time of special grace for us to join together and form links in a great chain of prayer, where we call upon the soon-to-be-Saint to crown our prayers with his intercession in heaven.

            Everyone can form links in that chain by joining in the Novena with Newman — nine days of prayerful preparation for the canonisation, starting on Friday 4 October and finishing on Saturday 12 October on the eve of the canonisation.

            Day 6: Wednesday 9 October (Bl John Heny Newman)

            Intention: That we conform more closely to God’s will and purpose for our lives.

            From his writings:
            Regarding Christianity, ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt.

            Prayer: A decade of the Rosary (any you choose, although it’s usually the Glorious Mysteries on Wednesday) for this intention, and then:

            O God our heavenly Father, we offer you heartfelt thanks for the life and holiness of John Henry Newman. In him you give us an inspiring example of priest and teacher, heroic and humble in his labour for the salvation of souls and the pursuit of holiness. Through his intercession we ask you to lead us by the kindly light of the Holy Spirit, and so grant us peace and joy in the one fold of the Redeemer. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

            If you would like a leaflet to print, we’ve a PDF of the entire Novena on one side of A4 (Originally published by the Oratories of England):
            Novena with Newman