Lent: Ash Wednesday “Illegal” – Living Through The Passion of the Church…

The Gospel According to St Luke 18 31-40

A Third Time Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection

31 And taking the twelve, he said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written of the Son of man by the prophets will be accomplished. 32 For he will be delivered to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon; 33 they will scourge him and kill him, and on the third day he will rise.” 34 But they understood none of these things; this saying was hid from them, and they did not grasp what was said.

Jesus Heals a Blind Beggar Near Jericho

35 As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging; 36 and hearing a multitude going by, he inquired what this meant. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38 And he cried, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40 And Jesus stopped, and commanded him to be brought to him; and when he came near, he asked him…     

Comment: 
The above Gospel and sermon were preached on Sunday just gone – Quinquagesima Sunday – and provide food for prayerful reflection as we prepare to enter the season of Lent, tomorrow, Ash Wednesday.  The preacher, Father Linus Clovis from St Lucia, very kindly accepted an invitation to address one of our conferences some years ago, and we have very fond memories of him from that occasion.  I will send him the link to this thread, for his interest.

As always with devotional threads, feel free to discuss any relevant issues, and post your favourite prayers and hymns.

Reminder:  as usual, the blog will be closed to comments during Holy Week.   

30/11: Feast of St Andrew – Pray To Our Patron Saint For Scotland… Urgently! 

Maria Agnes Quinn, the young singer in the above video, writes: 

I KNOW IT IS VERY STACCATO  – my breathing was laboured because I’d had a bout of crying after singing and recording the Final Commendation in honour of my gran … Plus this hymn without music is actually a LOT MORE difficult than you’d think…  (My face reflects my mistakes! Ha!) …

Editor writes:

Dear Marie – please don’t apologise…

I consider your singing to be a lovely rendering of our national hymn, and, in fact, the very best of the few versions on offer on YouTube. Yes, it would be great to find a version with a professional organist, choir (with you lead singer!) and even drum effect. That would be very stirring.  However, I have the same search every year with the same result – no organ, no drums, no choir.  So, thank you Marie Agnes Quinn: I’ll be posting the link to this thread on your YouTube channel, trusting that you will be pleased to be featured here to mark this year’s Feast of our national patron saint. This is our Catholic Truth version of a Grammy Award 😀  

Note, too, everyone, the urgent need to pray for Scotland this year in particular, as we are moving very quickly into a very different way of life – under indefinite, if not permanent, totalitarian governance.  We have, in fact, lost our freedom.  All the more reason, therefore, to redouble our prayers to our national Patron Saint; the dire state of life in Scotland at this time, however, should not prevent us from celebrating this great Feast, so, as usual with devotional threads, feel free to post any relevant news and issues, as well as your favourite prayers, novenas, hymns and jokes. Just go easy on the “mean Scot” stories. 😀

Happy Feast everyone!

The lyrics are copied below, so that we can all sing along with Marie.                                         
When Christ our Lord to Andrew cried:
“Come, thou, and follow me,”

the fisher left his net beside
the Sea of Galilee.

To teach the truth his Master taught,
to tread the path he trod

was all his will and thus he brought
unnumbered souls to God.

When Andrew’s hour had come, and he
was doomed, like Christ to die,
he kissed his cross exultingly,
and this his loving cry:
“O noble cross! O precious wood!
I long have yearned for thee;
uplift me to my only good
who died on thee for me.”

The faith that Andrew taught
once shone o’er all this kingdom fair;
the cross that Jesus died upon
was honoured everywhere.
But times once changed and Andrew’s name
was for a while forgot;
the cross, though set in kingly crown,
became a sign of shame.

St Andrew now in bliss above,
thy fervent prayers renew
that Scotland yet again may love
the faith, entire and true;
that I the cross allotted me
may bear with patient love! ‘
Twill lift me, as it lifted thee,
to reign with Christ above.

27/11: Feast of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal – Pray for Church and World…

Comment: 

There are lots of stories of miracles associated with the Miraculous Medal (hence the adjective!) but the one which follows is of special interest to me because it involves the well-known American priest, Fr John Hardon SJ, whose account of our Scottish martyr, St John Ogilvie is linked on the homepage of our website

The Ice-Cream Miracle…

Despite the miracles associated with the medal, many people don’t believe it can make such a difference. Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. was one of those people. Not long after he had been ordained, a Vincentian priest encouraged him and others to promote the Miraculous Medal, because Blessed Mother really does work miracles through it. Although Fr. Hardon ordered a free pamphlet on how to bless the medals and enroll people in the Confraternity of the Miraculous Medal, he didn’t get one for himself.

But later, in 1948, when the United States priest encountered a ten-year-old boy who was in a coma after a sledding accident, he decided to see if it would help. A sister who worked at the hospital found one and a ribbon the priest could use to hang it around the boy’s neck. Even though the boy had been diagnosed with inoperable permanent brain damage, the priest read the prayer that enrolled the boy in the Confraternity of the Miraculous Medal.

As soon as he finished the prayer, the boy opened his eyes and asked his mother for ice cream. It was the first time he had spoken in nearly two weeks. New x-rays showed the brain damage had disappeared, and the boy was released from the hospital after about three days. Like the boy and his family, the priest’s life and his belief in the medal were forever changed. Source 

If you have any experiences of miracles yourself through wearing the medal, please share them with us here. Any related issues, favourite prayers, novenas, hymns etc. are also welcome, to help us mark this beautiful Feast day.  And, please, let us all remember to pray especially seriously on this Feast,  for great graces for all those involved in political life today; for those imposing totalitarian rule, whether knowingly or unknowingly, in the name of controlling the Coronavirus, and for a miraculous resolution to the election crisis in the USA. 

Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, pray for us!

November – Month of the Holy Souls… 

This thread is launched to allow us to share our favourite prayers, novenas and hymns for the benefit of the Holy Souls, and to gain indulgences for our deceased family and friends who may be among the Church Suffering in Purgatory.  Click here for details about indulgences for the Holy Souls.  Praying for the dead is a tradition firmly rooted in Sacred Scripture:  “It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.” (2 Machabees 12:46)

The month of the Holy Souls is also a good time to reflect on our own death – it’s the one event in life of which we can be certain… 

November is an opportune time when we might reflect on the need to overcome our own temptations and sins, and/or help the young people in our care to be aware of the danger of falling into the habit of serious sin. 

In particular, we live in an age of sensuality, when we are encouraged to “live for the moment” and “do our own thing”, throwing off old prohibitions and inhibitions. Hence, we have become a highly sexualised society with even very young children being sexualised by misguided parents and/or an education system that has lost all sense of right and wrong. 

Even some clergy minimise the gravity of sexual sin, dismissing it as almost inevitable in weak, fallen human nature.  Yet, St Paul teaches the opposite: “Fly fornication” he insists: “every other sin is committed outside the body but those who commit fornication sin against their own body… and your body, remember, is the temple of the Holy  Ghost…” (1 Corinthians 6:18-19). 

It is worth, therefore, reflecting on the above reminder of St Teresa of Avila, great  saint and Doctor of the Church, that some day, perhaps soon, we will find ourselves at our moment of judgment.

October & Living Rosary Association…

Ven. Pauline Jaricot

The following article, written by Kevin Rowles, one of our English readers,
is published here, with permission…  

On May 26th 2020, Pope Francis authorized the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, to promulgate the Decree concerning the miracle attributed to the intercession of the Venerable Servant of God Pauline Maria Jaricot, Foundress of the Societies of the “Council of the Propagation of the Faith” and of the “Living Rosary”, opening the way to her beatification. As we approach the month of the Rosary, I thought readers might like to know a little bit more about the important work of this incredible organisation.

The Living Rosary Association was founded in 1826 by Venerable Pauline Jaricot, then aged 27, at Lyon, France. The Venerable Pauline had already founded the Society for the Propagation of the Faith at the age of 20, and was a close friend of the Curé of Ars. The Living Rosary devotion spread like wildfire throughout the world and was formally approved and richly indulgenced by Pope Gregory XVI, and accorded official canonical status on January 27, 1832.

The Living Rosary is a perpetual devotion. That is, once joined, you agree to pray a daily decade of the Rosary faithfully for the remainder of your life. This obligation doesn’t bind under pain of sin, but your effort and desire to remain faithful are crucial. Your decade may be offered at any time of the day or night. ULRA builds a list of 15 names of those who contact them, wishing to join the Living Rosary. Each of the 15 people are then allotted their specific mystery to pray every day and are notified by post which mystery they are to be allotted and when to begin it. The intention of the decade is always the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and in honour of Saint Philomena.

Patti Melvin of Texas, U.S.A began the revival of The Living Rosary Association on December 8, 1986, with 30 members. The apostolate has been richly blessed by Our Lady and under the powerful patronage of St. Philomena, the membership now stands at 8,000,000 and has been planted in every continent of the world. Each member is asked to voluntarily give a monthly donation if possible, as the organisation has no other means of financial support. The donations received are then ploughed straight back into spreading the Living Rosary devotion, maintaining the ULRA centre, and mailing devotional literature and sacramentals such as the Rosary, the Brown Scapular, the Miraculous Medal, St Philomena’s Cord and St Philomena’s Oil to the missions and elsewhere throughout the world. If it isn’t possible to donate financially, ULRA asks that its members pray fervently that its material needs are met. The Living Rosary has ecclesiastical approval and is affiliated to the Shrine of St Philomena at Mugnano, Italy.

One ULRA article states: “In these days of evil, chaos, confusion, division and Modernism, the Living Rosary will be a mighty force in every family, parish, diocese and country. The Holy Rosary is a gift to us from the Queen of Heaven. If the Rosary is prayed faithfully and is strengthened by the unity of association, it will render the attacks of Satan impotent. The Living Rosary is endowed with great power before the throne of God through the union of charity that flows through its members. Immense are the graces and merits obtained daily, by every member, when united and animated by the fire of Divine Love in the Immaculate Heart of Mary. One who prays the Rosary alone receives the grace and merits of a single Rosary, but if he or she is united with EIGHT million members, then all of the graces and merits of the whole are gained.”

A regular newsletter called Dedicated Decades is posted to members. It is a beautiful magazine, full of traditional and inspiring Catholic devotional articles, pictures and prayers. It also contains reports of ULRA’s work and many testimonials from all over the world of spiritual and temporal graces received through the practice of the Living Rosary and the intercession of Our Blessed Lady and St Philomena. Dedicated Decades is a wonderful antidote to the spiritually poisonous literature so prevalent today. All ULRA literature and prayer cards show the Mass represented in the traditional form.

One letter published by ULRA, dated October 19th 2007, was heart-breaking to read:-

Cher Madame Patti, Bonjour from Goma in D.R. Congo. We have not written to you for a long time because the situation here in Eastern Congo is the very worst in the world according to U.N. reports. We are so sorry we missed Emma’s visit to us (Emma – Emmanuel is the ULRA African Liaison). We hear now he is in Sudan. God bless him! Oh, the renegade rebel, General Nkunda of Rwandan descent is massacring our people in large numbers! Many teachers and pupils cried to me to give them the Miraculous Medal, so at least when they are shot, they will be dressed in Our Lady’s medal. I told them I had none as when Emma came, we told him not to come to us, as we feared for his life. I am so sorry to say that many of those who cried for medals have since been killed. We had over 320,000 refugees who lived here and now they have been scattered. We have no way to reach Emma. When will he be back in Rwanda so that he can send us the medals? When is he coming out of Sudan? We are in the middle of the biggest war. Rebels invade at night and kill, claiming to be protecting the Tutsi of Rwandan origin. Please save the situation. If only Emma could come, we might at least die wearing Our Lady’s Miraculous Medal. We beg you, let us at least die with Mother Mary. Hear our voice! We cannot pray now, because we are all running and hiding, but at least the precious Medal would be around our neck. Please reply. We have no other hope! Bonnie in Bukavu, Congo is also struck and cut off from us . . .”

A tragedy like this is certainly enough to put our own problems into perspective, and it should also act as a rebuke to those Catholics who display general indifference and sometimes even contempt towards the beautiful sacramentals that Our Lady has given to aid us in our journey towards eternal salvation. It should also act as a prompt to us, to help make such sacramentals available to as many others as possible.

I joined ULRA and was given my decade, the Nativity of Our Lord, to start on Christmas Day 2003. Through good times and bad, it is comforting to know that one is part of a great spiritual family, supporting each other and praying for the most important of intentions – the hastening of Our Blessed Lady’s promise given at Fatima: “In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph”. I urge you to join – you won’t regret it!

To join ULRA, or for further details, please contact:- In England: Anne Curran, Universal Living Rosary Association, P.O. Box 9964, Colchester, CO1 9FN. ulrauk@gmail.com .
In America: Patti Melvin, Universal Living Rosary Association, P.O. Box 1303, Dickinson, Texas 77539, U.S.A. info@philomena.org

Comments invited…   

Converting to Catholicism: No Easy Task for a Protestant Pastor – Here’s Why… 

Comment: 

Keith Nester, the above speaker, made me wonder just how many people turn away from the Church due to the obstacles identified in the video. Happily, Mr Nester managed to get help to overcome the difficulties which he encountered, but how many others don’t move beyond initial enquiries or experiences, discouraged because of the Catholics they meet?  My favourite convert is a friend who became a Catholic after years of reading about Fatima.  What about you – any interesting conversion stories, whether your own, perhaps a favourite saint-convert,  or the conversion  of someone you know, family or friend?    We need a break from Covid and tyrannical governance so get typing those conversion stories and related issues – and that’s an order!  😀  

19/6: Happy Feast of the Sacred Heart! 

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus…

n 1673, a French Visitandine (Visitation) nun named Margaret Mary Alacoque had a private revelation of Jesus, in which he asked the Church to honour his Most Sacred Heart.

In particular, Jesus gave to St. Margaret Mary 12 specific promises made to all who venerated and promoted devotion to the Sacred Heart.

Jesus said to St. Margaret Mary, “Behold the Heart which has so loved men that it has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming Itself, in order to testify Its love … I promise you that My Heart shall expand Itself to shed in abundance the influence of Its Divine Love upon those who shall thus honour It, and cause It to be honoured.”

The entire purpose of this devotion is to draw a person closer to the heart of Christ. If a person spreads devotion to the Sacred Heart, it is natural for him or her to be closer to God. The moment that this devotion is observed in a superstitious manner, neglecting the need to live a virtuous life, all bets are off and Jesus’ promises are null and void.

Jesus wants us to rest on his heart, like St. John, and the Sacred Heart devotion is an opportunity for us to encounter him more than just on Sundays and to deepen our love of him.

The 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart Devotion

I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.
I will establish peace in their homes.
I will comfort them in all their afflictions.
I will be their secure refuge during life, and above all, in death.
I will bestow abundant blessings upon all their undertakings.
Sinners will find in my heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
Lukewarm souls shall become fervent.
Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.
I will bless every place in which an image of my heart is exposed and honoured.
I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.
Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in my Heart.
I promise you in the excessive mercy of my Heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Fridays in nine consecutive months the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in my disgrace, nor without receiving their sacraments. My divine heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.  Source

Comment: 

In the past, we’ve discussed the 12 Promises of Our Lord to all who venerate and promote devotion to His Sacred Heart.  We’ve compared “favourites”, so to speak.  I’ve probably quoted a very close friend of mine who told me that it was only when she read the above promises and undertook to spread this devotion in her own home, and wherever possible outside, that she experienced a change in herself which she attributes to Christ’s promise that lukewarm souls shall become fervent.  She certainly became fervent:  she changed from being a lukewarm Sunday Catholic to being devoted to the Faith and fervent in many areas of Catholic life – not least in her active support for Catholic Truth. 

So, share your thoughts about the 12 Promises, as well as posting your favourite prayers and hymns – all to honour the Sacred Heart of Jesus on this lovely Feast.   A very happy Feast day to one and all !  

June: O Take me to Thy Sacred Heart… 

The two young teenage friends of Catholic Truth singing in the above video, asked to do so because they want to honour Our Lord’s Sacred Heart, to mark this Month of June – the month traditionally dedicated to paying tribute to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. They assure me of their motivation, insisting that it’s not because I was threatening to sing this myself!   It is one of my favourite hymns and since I’m keen to add it to our small collection of video hymns,  I decided to take them at their word.  The two lads (who are 14 and 17 respectively) deserve our warmest appreciation  because they’re not students of music, or in any way professionally qualified, yet they gave generously of their time to learn the hymn and record it for us, so… Enjoy! 

As always, with Feast Day or dedicated “month” threads, feel free to post your own favourite hymns, prayers, novenas, stories etc.  Here’s one short prayer that I’m sure we all learned at school (well, those of us in a certain age group, at least!)…

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in Thee…  

19/3: Feast of St Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church – Please Pray for Us!

Dear St Joseph, pure and gentle,
guardian of the Saviour child,
Treading, with the virgin mother,
Egypt’s deserts rough and wild.

Dear St Joseph, spouse of Mary,
blest above all saints on high,
When the death shades round us gather,
teach, O teach us how to die,
teach, O teach us how to die.

He who rested on thy bosom
is by countless saints adored,
Prostrate angels in his presence
sing hosannahs to their Lord.

Dear St Joseph, spouse of Mary,
blest above all saints on high,
When the death shades round us gather,
teach, O teach us how to die,
teach, O teach us how to die.

Now to thee, no gift refusing,
Jesus stoops to hear thy prayer;
Then, dear saint, from thy fair dwelling,
give to us a father’s care.

Dear St Joseph, spouse of Mary,
blest above all saints on high,
When the death shades round us gather,
teach, O teach us how to die,
teach, O teach us how to die.

Dear St Joseph, kind and loving,
stretch to us a helping hand;
Guide us through earth’s toils and sorrows,
Safely to the distant land.

Dear St Joseph, spouse of Mary,
blest above all saints on high,
When the death shades round us gather,
teach, O teach us how to die,
teach, O teach us how to die.

Comment: 

As our blogger Petrus pointed out on the Coronavirus thread yesterday, the news that the Scottish Bishops have cancelled all Masses means that, for the first time since the Second Vatican Council, the only Mass being offered in Scotland today is the traditional Latin Mass.  Thus, for those Catholics who are unable to attend Mass in their parishes, the video below, of a young priest of the Society of Saint Pius X offering the ancient Mass, might be of interest and spiritual benefit.   Perhaps, on this Feast of St Joseph – one of the greatest saints in the Church’s calendar – seeing this beautiful Mass for the first time, or for the first time after many years of attending the Novus Ordo Missae, will bring about a huge change in the lives of some, at least, of those who are trying to make sense of the post-Vatican II Church.  For that great grace, we seek the intercession of St Joseph on this day, dedicated to his honour. 

As always, on Feast day threads, feel free to discuss any relevant issues, post your favourite hymns and prayers as a tribute  to the saint of the day, and share stories of your own experience of St Joseph’s intercessory powers;  as always, too,  feel free to post jokes, as long as they fit into the category of “good clean fun” …  

A brief explanation of the traditional Latin Mass…

Mass in the Edinburgh church of the Society of St Pius X – 19 March, 12.30 pm

Mass in the Glasgow church of the Society of St Pius X – 19 March, 6.30 pm  

Finally…

A very happy Feast of St Joseph to everyone!