Archives for Eastbourne Ordinariate Mission

Pentecost Novena: Day 4 (25 May)

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

Monday of the seventh week of Easter

Thou in toil art comfort sweet,
Pleasant coolness in the heat,
solace in the midst of woe.

The Gift of Fortitude

By the gift of Fortitude the soul is strengthened against natural fear, and supported to the end in the performance of duty. Fortitude imparts to the will an impulse and energy which move it to under take without hesitancy the most arduous tasks, to face dangers, to trample under foot human respect, and to endure without complaint the slow martyrdom of even lifelong tribulation. “He that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved.”

Prayer

Come, O Blessed Spirit of Fortitude,
uphold my soul in time of trouble and adversity,
sustain my efforts after holiness,
strengthen my weakness,
give me courage against all the assaults of my enemies,
that I may never be overcome and separated from Thee,
my God and greatest Good. 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 offer myself soul and body to Thee, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Thy purity, the unerring keenness of Thy justice, and the might of Thy love. Thou art the Strength and Light of my soul. In Thee I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve Thee by unfaithfulness to grace, and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against Thee. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Thy light and listen to Thy voice and follow Thy gracious inspirations. I cling to Thee and give myself to Thee and ask Thee by Thy 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 Thee Adorable Spirit, helper of my infirmity, so to keep me in Thy grace that I may never sin against Thee. Give me grace O Holy Ghost, Spirit of the Father and the Son, to say to Thee always and everywhere, “Speak Lord, for Thy servant heareth.” Amen.

Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who, before ascending into heaven, didst promise to send the Holy Ghost to finish Thy work in the souls of Thy Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me, that He may perfect in my soul the work of Thy grace and Thy 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 Thy 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 Thee, 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; 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 Thy true disciples and animate me in all things with Thy Spirit. Amen.

Pentecost Novena: Day 3 (24 May)

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

Seventh Sunday of Easter

Thou, of all consolers best,
Visiting the troubled breast,
Dost refreshing peace bestow.

The Gift of Piety

The gift of Piety begets in our hearts a filial a?ection for God as our most loving Father. It inspires us to love and respect for His sake persons and things consecrated to Him, as well as those who are vested with His authority, His Blessed Mother and the Saints, the Church and its visible Head, our parents and superiors, our country and its rulers. He who is filled with the gift of Piety finds the practice of his religion, not a burdensome duty, but a delightful service. Where there is love, there is no labour.

Prayer

Come, O Blessed Spirit of Piety, possess my heart.
Enkindle therein such a love for God,
that I may find satisfaction only in His service,
and for His sake lovingly submit to all legitimate authority. 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 offer myself soul and body to Thee, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Thy purity, the unerring keenness of Thy justice, and the might of Thy love. Thou art the Strength and Light of my soul. In Thee I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve Thee by unfaithfulness to grace, and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against Thee. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Thy light and listen to Thy voice and follow Thy gracious inspirations. I cling to Thee and give myself to Thee and ask Thee by Thy 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 Thee Adorable Spirit, helper of my infirmity, so to keep me in Thy grace that I may never sin against Thee. Give me grace O Holy Ghost, Spirit of the Father and the Son, to say to Thee always and everywhere, “Speak Lord, for Thy servant heareth.” Amen.

Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who, before ascending into heaven, didst promise to send the Holy Ghost to finish Thy work in the souls of Thy Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me, that He may perfect in my soul the work of Thy grace and Thy 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 Thy 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 Thee, 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; 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 Thy true disciples and animate me in all things with Thy Spirit. Amen.

Witness to the faith and glorify the Lord

Fr Neil’s homily for the Seventh Sunday of Easter

Video | Order of Mass

The Martyrdom of the Blessed Signoretto AlliataYet if one suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but under that name let him glorify God. (1 Pet 4:16)

In the Gospel our Lord refers to glory five times. The first reference is to our Lord praying to the Father; “glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you.” This is a strange prayer request, because surely the whole of the earthly life of Christ has revealed and radiated the Father’s truth and glory? A closer reading reveals that this particular request relates to the coming events of Christ’s rejection, crucifixion and resurrection. This is the summit and ultimate moment of heavenly glory. The uniting of the will of both Father and Son, in the actions that are to take place, assures that both are glorified. That which seems immediately to be a tragedy and loss will, later, be revealed as the moment of divine victory — a victory over sin, death and the devil, opening up eternal life to those, who believing in Christ, have the Father revealed to them. “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9b) One of the themes in John’s gospel is that our Lord’s ‘lifting up to glory’ is about him being raised up upon the cross as much as it is connected to his resurrection and ascension into heaven.

The second element of glorification is that which the Father will bestow upon the Son, once his work on earth is completed. This glory is the heavenly glory that our Lord emptied himself in his incarnation for the sake of our salvation, as scripture tells us; ‘though he was in the form of God, he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.’ (Phil 2:6–7) This is the glory Christ receives at his ascension to the right hand of the Father. This glory now however encompasses the wounds of his Passion. Throughout his resurrection appearances it has been the wounds of his crucifixion that affirm that he is the Lord who died and is now risen; ‘He said to Thomas, “put your finger here and see my hands, and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing.”’ (John 20:27) These agonising wounds are now the signs of his triumph and glorification of the Father.

The third aspect of glorification that our Lord refers to is that he might be glorified through his disciples. The disciples of Christ belong to both the Father and the Son: “all mine are yours, and yours are mine” says the Lord. They are children of the kingdom of God and heirs of the promise. Christ has revealed the word of God, the word of truth, to them and they have believed and accepted the true identity of the Lord as Son of God. Earlier in the gospel we have Christ saying, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” (John 6:29)

There is a deep connection between what we believe and how we glorify Christ. We might find this slightly confusing at first. It would seem self-evident that it’s what we do, more than what we believe or know, that either brings glory or scandal upon God and our faith.

We so often fall into this trap of thinking that belief and actions are separate categories or aspects of our faith. They are not. What we believe impacts dramatically the direction and manner of our actions, aims and goals. One example should demonstrate what I mean. St Paul, before his conversion, was terrifying and persecuting the Church based on his beliefs about God. It was those beliefs that drove him to his actions. It was only the Damascus Road experience and hearing the Lord’s voice, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” that turned his actions around.

What we think and believe about the Christ is paramount in directing our actions. If Christ is the Word made flesh, God incarnate, Son of the Father, who speaks the words of eternal life, then what he teaches and demonstrates has eternal relevance. They cannot be brushed aside and must inform both our own words and actions.

Most do not read theological text books but are informed about the faith predominantly through the prayers of the Church, in particularly the liturgy of the mass. Lex orandi, lex credendi, meaning we pray what we believe. In turn that which we believe, we aim to put into practice. The clearer we are able to live out our faith the greater glory of the Lord is revealed.

St Peter, in his epistle, has constantly tried to get across that it is trust and belief in the Lord that will enable us to face the trials we are experiencing in a manner which reveals the glory of Christ. Indeed, after the example of Christ himself, whose suffering glorified his Heavenly Father, it is these very trials that will not only glorify the Lord but will be our emblems of glory in the heavenly realms. Nowhere is this more clearly displayed than in the Martyrs and the manner of their death. The signs of their sufferings are also carried into heavenly glory as they bear witness to the wonder of God’s saving grace.

Maya Angelou, a famous writer and performer, was once asked in an interview if she was a Christian. Her response was something like, ‘Goodness no! It is what I try to be, but it isn’t something I can yet claim to be.’ What she was trying to say is that there is a manner of life and belief that reveals oneself to be Christian — that is, Christ-like.

All the baptised have a vocation to be a witness (a Martyr) in what we believe, in how we pray, and in the manner of our lives, as we put into practice the Word of truth that is Christ the Lord. In this we reveal that we are being authentically Christian, and our Lord is glorified.

Pentecost Novena: Day 2 (23 May)

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

Saturday of the Sixth Week of Easter

Come, Thou Father of the poor.
Come with treasures which endure;
Come, Thou Light of all that live!

The Gift of Fear

The gift of Fear fills us with a sovereign respect for God, and makes us dread nothing so much as to offend Him by sin. It is a fear that arises, not from the thought of hell, but from sentiments of reverence and filial submission to our heavenly Father. It is the fear that is the beginning of wisdom, detaching us from worldly pleasures that could in any way separate us from God. “They that fear the Lord will prepare their hearts, and in His sight will sanctify their souls.”

Prayer

Come, O blessed Spirit of Holy Fear,
penetrate my inmost heart, that I may set Thee,
my Lord and God, before my face forever.
Help me to shun all things that can offend Thee,
and make me worthy to appear before the pure eyes of Thy Divine Majesty in heaven,
where Thou livest and reignest in the unity of the Ever-blessed Trinity, God world without end. 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 offer myself soul and body to Thee, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Thy purity, the unerring keenness of Thy justice, and the might of Thy love. Thou art the Strength and Light of my soul. In Thee I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve Thee by unfaithfulness to grace, and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against Thee. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Thy light and listen to Thy voice and follow Thy gracious inspirations. I cling to Thee and give myself to Thee and ask Thee by Thy 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 Thee Adorable Spirit, helper of my infirmity, so to keep me in Thy grace that I may never sin against Thee. Give me grace O Holy Ghost, Spirit of the Father and the Son, to say to Thee always and everywhere, “Speak Lord, for Thy servant heareth.” Amen.

Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who, before ascending into heaven, didst promise to send the Holy Ghost to finish Thy work in the souls of Thy Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me, that He may perfect in my soul the work of Thy grace and Thy 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 Thy 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 Thee, 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; 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 Thy true disciples and animate me in all things with Thy Spirit. Amen.

Pentecost Novena: Day 1 (22 May)

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

Friday of the Sixth Week of Easter

Holy Spirit! Lord of Light!
From Thy clear celestial height,
Thy pure beaming radiance give!

The Holy Spirit

Only one thing is important — eternal salvation. Only one thing, therefore, is to be feared — sin. Sin is the result of ignorance, weakness, and indifference. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Light, of Strength, and of Love. With His sevenfold gifts He enlightens the mind, strengthens the will, and inflames the heart with love of God.

To ensure our salvation we ought to invoke the Divine Spirit daily, for “The Spirit helpeth our infirmity. We know not what we should pray for as we ought. But the Spirit Himself asketh for us.”

Prayer

Almighty and eternal God,
Who hast vouchsafed to regenerate us by water and the Holy Spirit,
and hast given us forgiveness all sins,
vouchsafe to send forth from heaven upon us Thy sevenfold Spirit,
the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding,
the Spirit of Counsel and fortitude,
the Spirit of Knowledge and Piety,
and fill us with the Spirit of Holy Fear. 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 offer myself soul and body to Thee, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Thy purity, the unerring keenness of Thy justice, and the might of Thy love. Thou art the Strength and Light of my soul. In Thee I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve Thee by unfaithfulness to grace, and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against Thee. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Thy light and listen to Thy voice and follow Thy gracious inspirations. I cling to Thee and give myself to Thee and ask Thee by Thy 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 Thee Adorable Spirit, helper of my infirmity, so to keep me in Thy grace that I may never sin against Thee. Give me grace O Holy Ghost, Spirit of the Father and the Son, to say to Thee always and everywhere, “Speak Lord, for Thy servant heareth.” Amen.

Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who, before ascending into heaven, didst promise to send the Holy Ghost to finish Thy work in the souls of Thy Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me, that He may perfect in my soul the work of Thy grace and Thy 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 Thy 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 Thee, 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; 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 Thy true disciples and animate me in all things with Thy Spirit. Amen.

Always be prepared to give an account for the hope that is in you

Fr Neil’s homily for the Sixth Sunday of Easter

Video | Order of Mass

St Peter preaching in the presence of St Mark“Always be prepared to make a defence to any one who calls you to account, for the hope that is in you.”

Peter is probably writing his letter from Rome. It is most likely that he was under house arrest and it is in Rome, under Nero, that he will be martyred.

A great theme in his letter is about how to deal with the suffering and persecution that the church is experiencing. He is speaking not from theological knowledge alone but a real lived out experience.

In our passage from his epistle today, he is tying together three strands: our bearing witness to the hope that is within us; the manner of that witness and suffering for the faith. This is the seed bed for a developed theology of Martyrdom in later Christendom.

Throughout the New Testament the word martyr carried the meaning of one who bears witness to the Lord. Hence Peter’s exaltation to his readers: ‘give an account of the hope that is in you’. In the light of Christ’s resurrection and after the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit drove the Apostles and first Christians to proclaim the Good News of the Lord’s triumph over sin and death.

This proclamation was accompanied by great oratory and miraculous signs of healing. Yet just as our Lord himself spoke and healed he was also rejected and crucified. A genuine proclamation of the Gospel, the truth of Christ, therefore is also marked by great joy, rejection and persecution.

Peter is making the connection that suffering for the faith is also an opportunity to witness to Christ. That witness however is as effective as the manner in which we face the trials before us. He has already said, earlier in his epistle, that our suffering must not be because we are justly being punished for wrong doing — we cannot expect any great reward for that. It is the manner our of conduct for unjust suffering that will ‘shame those who revile us’ and give credence to our witness to Christ.

Earlier in this chapter (1 Peter 3:9–12) he states:

Do not return evil for evil or reviling for reviling; but on the contrary bless, for to this you have been called, that you may obtain a blessing. For “He that would love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking guile; let him turn away from evil and do right; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those that do evil.”

In our post-Christian country, to stand out for the faith is often to invite mocking ridicule and criticism. How tempting it is to mock and ridicule in return? But to do so is to mar our witness to Christ who: ‘…was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth,’ (Isaiah 53:7).

Peter quotes Psalm 34, telling us to seek peace and pursue it. It is a peace that is found only in the knowledge that our citizenship is not here on earth, but in eternal heavenly glory. The more we are able to grasp this reality, to fix our eyes on the beatific vision of our Lord, the more we are able to hold worldly concerns lightly.

The saints and martyrs are those who have been captured by this divine glory of the Lord, where their hearts were truly fixed. St Paul articulates this well:

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.’ (Romans 8:18)

Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ.’ (Philippians 3:8)

In Acts it was Stephen’s witness to the Lord’s eternal glory that led to his ecstatic joy and martyrdom from stoning at the hands of his captors. The saints are martyrs in Christ know that in him they are made truly alive even while they are dying. How could they deny the Lord of life in whom they are rooted into the divine life of the Trinity?

The history of the Church ever since has been marked by this ultimate witness to Christ. Wherever the witness to the Lord has been marked by suffering and persecution there the Church has flourished and grown. So much so that the phase has been coined within the Church that has said ‘the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.’

How then are we to apply this call to witness given our own particular circumstances of lockdown and limited access to the sacraments?

Cardinal Pell seems to offer a compelling model that we might seek to emulate. He was unjustly imprisoned, and by a sheer act of spiteful cruelty from the state was denied the ability to celebrate the sacrament of the mass for more than 400 days.

Cardinal Pell had every reason to come out of gaol full of resentment at the manner of his treatment. Yet, while he was obviously scarred by his experience and justifiably insisted that an inquiry should take place as to how such an injustice was able to take place, he held no bitterness towards his persecutors. Here is a man who knows Christ as the true Judge and in whose hands his life ultimately rests.

The inability for us to live out the sacramental life as a Catholic is a real trial but also an opportunity to bear witness to the Lord. How we react and respond to this time of testing will either lend credibility to our witness to Christ or fail to show any differentiation between the ways of faith and the ways of the world. If it is the latter, if we choose to react in a worldly way, then a great opportunity to renew the life of the Church in this country will have been lost.

In this mini-martyrdom, are we ready to act and speak in a way that gives a reason for the hope that is in us?