Medicine for the Young

What we need most in order to make progress is to be silent before this great God with our appetite and with our tongue, for the language he best hears is silent love.

Who said that? St John of the Cross, the counter-reformer whose writings many Catholics have come to love. I resign myself to complete humility before the sight and gaze of these greats, these treasures of our tradition. I, myself, have a heavy cross. I often meditate on the more sanctified souls – how great then do they bear the wood of the cross? I say this because we have forgotten the way, in this world, to understand how badly we need the mercy of God!

Look at the youth: look at our inheritance, our younger generations. Look at whom we have to bear our torch. The world is in complete misery, and young men and women who have been brought up either anti-theist or without any faith have no means of coping with the anxiety of this world. They have no reason, religious nor existential, to make a leap of faith. Instead, the rates of suicide go up – why not? They’ve no reason to be here. One switch of a blade and it’s all over. Binge-drinking? Why not? There’s no spiritual nature to the cleanliness of our body and soul, no consequence for our actions. All we must do is carry the stone of this existence until it’s over! Why not escape while we can? Do a few drugs, lift our brains to Ganja, metaphorically if not spiritually. Nihilism has crept in, taken over, and redefined existence in the modern eye.

So therefore, the human condition makes no progress but regresses into a primitive state, perhaps one before man became respondent. Did not our loving Creator form mankind out of clay, in His image? Is this not the greatest act of love? But we live under the conditions of the greatest act of disobedience, destroyed by Christ on the cross. We are each cleansed of the structure of original sin at our baptisms, yet as humans we recognise our weakness and susceptibility to giving in to that which we know is bad for us. When we lack faith, we self-medicate, and turn into robotic things freely choosing our poisons when we know there’s something better in the world. We are rowdy, bashful, loud.

Our ears are closed.

Our lips constantly apart.

We crave nothing but what satisfies our heart for the mean time, until when its over we crave another temporary satisfaction.

We end up hating ourself, unaware of infinite mercy and forgiveness that God extends to every creature on the face of His green Earth.

He forgives us for forgetting the sovereignty, He forgives us for rejection our dominion. He forgives us for all that we repent for, and He takes us and hides us deep within His wounds until we go kicking and and leap out. We can do this a thousand times, and He will forgive us because He never tires of forgiving.

Aren’t we lucky? Don’t we have a vast and immense privilege to be children of Love itself?

Deep in Thy Wounds

Inspired by yesterday, I present to you one of my favourite hymns.

Soul of my Saviour, sanctify my breast,
body of Christ, be thou my saving guest,
blood of my Saviour, bathe me in thy tide,
wash me with water flowing from thy side.

Strength and protection may thy Passion be,
O blessèd Jesus, hear and answer me;
deep in thy wounds, Lord, hide and shelter me,
so shall I never, never part from thee.

Guard and defend me from the foe malign,
in death’s dread moments make me only thine;
call me and bid me come to thee on high
where I may praise thee with thy saints for ay.

Sanctify my Breast

e6eddd651a2f499abd793f57cccac174--blessed-mother-mary-blessed-virgin-maryToday during Low Mass, in the midst of our recessional hymn when the choir was gussied up with wind and conviction singing the final verse of “Soul of My Saviour,” I observed our parish priest, Fr Browne, and the change of his demeanour as we all recalled Jesus’s unfailing comfort and protection until our death and thereafter. Our breasts were truly filled with God’s peace and comfort, and Father who, after sixty years of ordination can still genuflect and bow and offer the sacrifice of Mass without any bodily complaints, kept a well-folded away secret: it was his birthday. Fr Browne is truly a humble man, and a true Jesuit. One of the only few left. Probably the only one still around offering the Mass according to the 1962 Missal.

But what remains remarkable is the immense humility of this gentle man, a character to say the least, and a man of humour and quiet contentment. My grandparents remember him, also, as a quiet and graceful soul often found in prayer. When preaching, he most usually concludes with

“and find yourself a good, Catholic bible. And read about the passion and death of our Lord. And pray the Rosary, and read about Our Lord’s passion. Meditate on what your saviour has done for you.”

We need priests like this! Each suffering an offering, every word a prayer, many gestures, a sacrifice. Today I experienced the lovingkindness of God in another, new way.  Through an eighty-six year old priest, whose life is dedicated to the love of the children of God. I hope to God that some day I can be his age, and as good a priest as him.

So, what is the lesson? It is hard to find role-models for young men, aspiring to be priests, when free-love hippies dominate the priesthood. I know one after the other whom, in this diocese alone, campaign and celebrate gay ‘marriage.’ I know one after another whom, in an effort to be ‘understanding’ or ‘loving’ stash away the truth and accept a parishioners obvious sin, such as living in a state of cohabitation. We need more priests who will tend to the sin-sick soul: and this is all of us. I need someone to tell me about the love of God, and not what I want to hear, but what I NEED to hear.

And for this, oh Lord, we pray.

Mildly, He Lays His Glory By

It’s amazing how University can take over your life. This first term has just come to an end, and with it, the beautiful season of Christmas and the culmination of another year

I haven’t had time to breathe, to sneeze, only time for a quick prayer and a visit with my friends. Then it was off to another class, practise, Mass, or service of some sort. Disposable words, once intended for good marks, have left the petrichor of an A average and a stronger desire to know this world of God’s creation.

University throws you into this state of oblivion. I am still confused by, and fail to understand the pretence that flows in the air at this school and because only a few friends followed me there, it saddens me to find it hard to meet someone who is half down to earth, with their feet firmly planted on the ground. Whether it be how one grew up, what one eats (or rather, smokes) for breakfast, or the books they read, there is no reason someone should be considered higher in the social hierarchy because they turn their sleeves up a certain way or flip the bottoms of their trousers up in a queer fold so as to look three sizes too small.

With that said, what would I learn if I wasn’t thrown into the unfamiliar? I’d be something like Plato’s cave dwellers. I don’t believe in some kind of ephemeral Catholicism, but (life) is ephemeral. Our chances are only as long as Heaven gives them time. So why waste what we have?

In the Church’s liturgy, the divine blessing is fully revealed and communicated to us through the Eucharist, which is the sacrifice on the Cross shown again to us, the children of God. We are with the Blessed Mother there, as we behold the spotless Victim. He is not there only then, but forever in Divinity expressed. This isn’t temporary. If I cannot grow closer to God, the Rock of Ages, the very Child whose birth we have erected trees, showered love, and given gifts to celebrate, then where shall I fall?

There need not be this oblivion; the sense of uncertainty, when you have the veil of a Blessed Mother to lead you. Knowing what to do with my life, knowing what you want to do with your life, will not arrive at the senses in  a smack. That only happens when you hit the rock bottom floor of despair, something I hope we can avoid. If we rely on God, don’t you trust him to hold you up?

This is something I’ve come to realise this first university Christmas. We’ve been singing for quite some time at Mass, and at the service of Nine Lessons and Carols, at tree lightings, etc, these words:

Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris’n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

The Prince of Peace does not leave us in anguish, the Son of Righteousness would not let us despair, for He indeed does bring light and life to all that ask Him, humility personified, and He came that we may more should die. The fiat of the Queen of Heaven and Earth. Winning supplication, glory unspeakable and remarkable. Here is Christmas. I pray that we keep this spirit every day, so that we can love and be loved as we truly are meant to do.

Our Lady’s Glory

A prayer today.

Chosen before the Earth's fruition to bear the divinity, and to become the Mother of God, the new Eve, co-redemptrix, and the help of the helpless. Oh Blessed Mary, Our Lady, image of purity and perfection: Pray for Us!

Chosen before the Earth’s fruition to bear the divinity, and to become the Mother of God, the new Eve, co-redemptrix, and the help of the helpless. Oh Blessed Mary, Our Lady, image of purity and perfection: Pray for Us!

O chaste and spotless Virgin! O Lady never touched by blame, corruption, or defilement! O Bride of Christ! You gave birth to the Word of God in a glorious and mysterious way, uniting Him to mankind and linking our apostate nature to the divine. You are the only hope, the prompt help of every Christian who seeks your refuge. Though I have often defiled myself with all sorts of impurities, words, deeds, or thoughts, though slothfulness has enslaved me to lust, though I often find myself weighed down by despair and depression, do not despise me. Rather, since you are the Mother of God and full of love for us, in your compassion pity me, prodigal sinner that I am, and accept this prayer which I offer to you with these impure lips.

With boldness that only a mother could manifest, beg your Son, our Lord and Master, to open to me His deep and tender loving mercy. Entreat Him to disregard my numberless sins. Ask Him to lead me to repentance, so that I may become His friend and follower, always conscious of His commandments and ready to observe them. In your compassion, stay with me always, you who are so tender of heart! In this life, ever intercede for me fervently, ever be at my side to repel the onslaughts of my enemies, ever ready to lead me to salvation. At the moment of my death, embrace my sorry soul, and drive off the sinister forms of the evil spirits.

On that awesome day of judgment, rescue me from eternal torment, and reveal me as an heir of that indescribable glory of your Son. O my Lady, O holy Mother of God! May I deserve this through your intercession and mediation, through the grace and love for mankind of your holy Son, our Lord, God, and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who deserves all glory, honour and worship, with His eternal Father, and His all-holy Spirit, now and forever, and ever. Amen.

O Lady, why are they multiplied who afflict me? By thy might thou shalt
follow them and scatter them.

Loose the bands of our impiety: take away the burden of our sins. Have
mercy on me, O Lady, and heal my sickness: take away the grief and anguish
of my heart.

Deliver me not into the hands of my enemies: and in the day of my death
strengthen thou my soul.

Lead me into the harbour of salvation: and give up for me my spirit to my
Maker and Creator. Psalm 3, the Psalter of the Blessed Virgin Mary