From Cardinal Sarah : "In order to avoid hearing God's music, we have chosen to use all the devices of this world. But heaven's instruments will not stop playing just because some people are deaf."                                                                                              Saint John-Paul II wrote: "The fact that one can die for the faith shows that other demands of the faith can also be met."                                                 Cardinal Müller says, “For the real danger to today’s humanity is the greenhouse gases of sin and the global warming of unbelief and the decay of morality when no one knows and teaches the difference between good and evil.”                                                  St Catherine of Siena said, “We've had enough exhortations to be silent. Cry out with a thousand tongues - I see the world is rotten because of silence.”                                                  Chesterton said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”                                                Brethren, Wake up!

REPORT ON BLESSED DAVID GUNSON PILGRIMAGE - AND SERMON TEXT

The Pilgrimage took place on Sunday and Monday as planned, the walk through the bustling muslim shops of the Old Kent Road to St Thomas Waterings giving it an uncanny affinity to the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem. Just as bustling would the street have been, though then populated with the bereaved Catholic poor, stripped of their religion, and their Protestant merchant masters, when Blessed David was dragged head-down on a hurdle along it. Life goes on, and sacred, sometimes momentous, things happen in spite of it.

400 years on, through all the secular change, the memory of the Pilgrim Route to Canterbury refuses to die. These photographs taken along the route on Sunday bear testimony.



We are grateful to Fr Mark Elliott-Smith for offering Holy Mass on the Monday evening, and to Fr Stephen Morrison, OPraem, for his wonderful homily.  For those who wish to study it at greater length, the transcript is given below.
The Professed Brethren 'social-distancing' carefully!

This was the first post-lockdown event of the Grand Priory, well done to all those came and joined in the celebrations.

Sermon for the Feast of Blessed David Gunson, Knight and Martyr

+ In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.

Greetings to everybody listening to this video-sermon, and to all our friends in the order of Malta who will receive it on the feast day of Blessed David Gunson, Knight of the Order of Malta, naval man and an extraordinary hero, who was martyred under Henry VIII in defence of the rights of the Church. He was a martyr for the Truth - one who was tried for treason by the civil authorities for the admission of the Truth, namely that the King did not have supremacy in spiritual matters in this realm, and that King Henry was no better than a heretic for purporting to do so. As a result, Blessed David suffered the ultimate punishment, which at that time was an extremely cruel death by hanging, drawing and quartering. As a martyr, he is an example of heroism for all of us, alongside others of our holy religion who died at the same time, particularly Blessed Adrian Fortescue and the Venerable Thomas Dingley. But there were so many others - some named, some unnamed - who perished at the time of the Protestant Reformation, who remain examples to us of courage and fortitude, and of ‘speaking truth to Power,’ which is not always an easy thing to do.  

PRINCE BERTRAND D'ORLÉANS-BRAGANÇA and ST LOUIS

Following our report HERE on the attack on the statue of St Louis, King of France, in the eponymous city in Missouri, USA, we post below a video comment by Prince Bertrand d'Orléans-Bragança, Bailiff Grand Cross of Honour and Devotion of our Order. His Royal Highness is a descendant of the House of Bourbon, and a direct heir in the male line of Saint Louis.

His address is a rallying cry to Christendom. He is speaking to each one of us as Christian knights.

Saint Louis Roi de France, priez pour nous.

BLESSED DAVID GUNSON HOMILY

The Annual Homily for this Pilgrimage is this year preached 'virtually'. We are greatly indebted to Father Stephen Morrison, OPraem, for his profound insights into martyrdom, which speak to us very eloquently in this present time, in the video below.
 
Blessed David Gunson, pray for us

BLESSED DAVID GUNSON PILGRIMAGE

Our first post-lockdown event will be the Blessed David Gunson Pilgrimage. The pilgrimage this year will take a slightly different form, following the coronavirus shutdown and the fact that the feast falls on a Sunday. The celebrations will fall into three separate sections. 

(i)      Pilgrim Walk: the walk along the Martyr route will begin at 4pm on Sunday afternoon, 12th July. Please gather at 4pm sharp outside the (Anglican) church of St George the Martyr Borough High Street, SE1 1JA.  We shall walk as normally quietly saying the Rosary along the Old Kent Road to St Thomas Waterings for brief prayers, following which Anthony Delarue will provide drinks in the garden in Southwark to those who wish to come.

(ii)      Holy Mass of Blessed David Gunson: will be celebrated at 6pm on Monday 13th July at, 6pm, at Our Lady of the Assumption, Warwick Street by Fr Mark Elliott-Smith. Members wishing to robe, please do so at the rear of the church and sit down once robed. You should not enter the sacristy or the rest of the building.

(iii)    Homily: preached by our chaplain Fr Stephen Morrison, OPraem, is posted  HERE. (This is wonderful, do not miss!)

If you feel able, please take this opportunity to return to the liturgical life of our Order by attending all or part of these celebrations. Appropriate social-distancing measures will be in place for each element. 

Please email mc(AT)gpesmom.org, if you intend to come to any of the above.  

Blessed David Gunson, pray for us.

FEAST OF BLESSED ADRIAN FORTESCUE MARTYR ON. PATRON OF THE GRAND PRIORY OF ENGLAND

Painting of Blessed Adrian Fortescue by Andrew Festing, brother of Grand Master Festing,
in the possession of the Order in London, and based upon the portrait in Rabat, Malta
Today is our Patronal Feast in England! Adrian Fortescue was born around 1480, the son of Sir John Fortescue of Punsborne, Hertfordshire. He was made a Knight of the Bath in 1503 and was high in the favour of King Henry VIII, taking part in the Wars of England against France in 1513 and 1523. His personal piety is attested by his Book of Hours which survives with devotional maxims in his own hand. As a cousin of Anne Boleyn, he was present when she was crowned as Queen in 1533. Sir Adrian was twice married and had seven children. He became a confrater of the Dominicans of Oxford in 1533. In 1539 he was attainted of High Treason without trial, by an Act of Parliament which condemned fifty persons opposed to Henry VIII's ecclesiastical policies. Adrian Fortescue was beheaded on Tower Hill, London on Wednesday 9 July 1539, together with the Venerable Sir Thomas Dingley, a Knight of the Order. The Order of St. John of Jerusalem has considered Sir Adrian as a martyr and has promoted devotion to him at least since the early seventeenth century as a member of the Order. Leo XIII declared him Blessed on 13 May 1895.

For more information click here, including a translation of Mgr Ducaud-Bourget's biography of Bl. Adrian.

COLLECT OF THE MASS
O God, since all things are within your power, grant through the prayers of blessed Adrian, your martyr, that we who keep his feast today may become stronger in the love of your name and hold to your holy Church even at the cost of our lives. Through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Blessed Adrian Fortescue, pray for us 

TUITIO FIDEI ALERT - SAINT LOUIS

It may seem a long way away, and at one level quite absurd, but this story, a spin-off of the satanic movements around the world of the last fortnight, impacts upon our entire culture and Faith.

The city and images of Saint Louis in the United States, named for the saintly King whom our forebears in the Order served during the Crusades, is being attacked by a mob. They wish to destroy the saint's statue, and rename the city. It's bad enough being attacked by people with some knowledge, as our Order has alway been, but here we have a bunch of uneducated idiots who don't know their history, who are motivated by hatred of all that is Catholic.


Be under no delusions, this is the thin end of the wedge. Satan has tasted blood in recent months. Tedious as it may be, we have to fight each of these battles as they come along, a bit like playing tennis. Otherwise, quite simply, we lose. Christendom loses.

The Order of Malta doesn't lose.

Our Lady of Philermo, pray for us
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us
Saint Louis, pray for us

The painting is by el Greco, in the collection of the Louvre.

UPDATE
There is a very disturbing article of a protest HERE, where this time at least, Truth prevailed. But for how long? We must pray hard, and be prepared to act, in charity but firmly, if necessarily. 

The picture below, under a threatening sky, is from the scene. (On a happier note, how lovely that the City of St Louis, Missouri, looks so very French.)

CANON TUCKWELL RIP

Of your charity, pray for the repose of the soul of 
The Very Reverend Christopher Howard Joseph, 
Canon Tuckwell, 
Administrator of the Cathedral Church of the Precious Blood, Westminster,
Chaplain of our Order,
born Kingston-upon-Thames 25th September 1945,
who departed this life on Friday 26th June 2020 
at the Royal Trinity Hospice in Clapham.

Requiescat in pace.

The photograph shows his stall in the Cathedral, with the unfolded cappa of a Canon of the Cathedral Chapter. This will be placed upon the coffin at the funeral, and is the only time a Westminster Canon gets to wear his cappa with the train let down.

FEAST OF OUR HOLY PATRON SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST

The Grand Priory of England wishes you all the very happiest of feasts, though sadly remote from the fraternity we would expect to share together in the Order family, at altar and board.

But, Deo gratias, we are not remote from the voice of the Order, as our dear Brother, Fra' Paul Sutherland, has graciously sent a copy of his hymn to Saint John, for us to share individually in our devotions on the day.

If this organ were BBC Radio 3, we should all be encouraged to sing it simultaneously in the morning. Thankfully, the Grand Priory would never brook anything so vulgar.

HYMN IN HONOUR OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST

     O GOD almighty, by whose leave,
     We seek thy mercy to receive,
     And undertake with single voice
     To make thy will our only choice.

2   John, herald of thy Son, we thank
      For cleansing souls on Jordan’s bank;
      His words and deeds of such renown,
      Did earn him thus a holy crown.

3   Grant, Lord, like him, that we may know
     The Lamb of God’s triumphal glow,
     To swell the homage we should pay
     The One that taketh sins away!

 4   Beneath Christ’s ensign we repair,
      Thy foes to quell, thy Word declare,
      Yet humbly serve the least of men,
      That they may find thy grace again.

 5   O Father, that we ask be done,
      Through Jesus Christ, thine only Son,
      Who, with the Holy Ghost and thee,
      Doth live and reign eternally.  Amen.

Fra' Paul proposes the Tune 'Winchester New', which may be heard HERE.

BLESSED JOHN THE BAPTIST, PRAY FOR US

(The painting shows the Baptist by Anton Raphael Mengs, ca. 1760, housed in Museum of Fine Art, Houston, Texas.)

LITANY OF LORETO - NEW INVOCATIONS

The Litany of Loreto holds a very dear place in the piety of the Order of Malta, as indeed it should with all Christian souls, and it is therefore with great joy that we can thank the Holy Father Pope Francis for the addition, published by decree of the Congregation of Divine Worship last Saturday, the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, of three new invocations to the Lauretan Litany, following requests from pious bodies of the Faithful. The first two are titles of Our Blessed Lady in common piety, the third a reflection of our own troubled age, a long-standing feature of the Litany, which has grown as the needs of the people of God change. We give below the text of the Letter issued by the Prefect Robert Cardinal Sarah. At the end we give the new complete texts.

We rejoice in the reflection for the great Marian piety of the Sovereign Pontiff; may our Blessed Mother guide and guard him.

From the Vatican, June 20, 2020 
Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary 
Eminence, 
The Church, on pilgrimage to Heaven’s Holy Jerusalem, — to enjoy inseparable communion with Christ, her Spouse and Saviour –, walks along the paths of history entrusting herself to Her who believed in the Lord’s word. We know, in fact, from the Gospel that Jesus’ disciples learned from the beginning to praise the “blessed among all women” and to count on Her maternal intercession. One cannot name the titles and the invocations that, in the course of the centuries, Christian piety has given to the Virgin Mary, privileged and sure way of encounter with Christ. In our time also, which is going through reasons of uncertainty and bewilderment, pious recourse to Her, full of affection and confidence, is particularly dear to the People of God. 
Interpreter of this sentiment, the Sovereign Pontiff Francis, receiving the desires expressed, wished to establish that, in the formulary of the litanies of the blessed Virgin Mary, called “of Loreto,” the following invocations be inscribed: “Mater Misericordiae,” “Mater Spei” and Solacium Migrantium.” 
The first invocation will be inserted after “Mater Ecclesiae,” the second after “Mater Divinae Gratiae,” and the third after “Refugium Peccatorum.” 
While I am happy to communicate this disposition to Your Eminence, so that it is known and implemented, I take the occasion to express to you the sentiments of my esteem. 
Yours very devotedly in the Lord, 
Robert Cardinal Sarah Prefect 
Monsignor Arthur Roche Archbishop Secretary

DISTRACTIONS!

Ah, dear Reader, we thought that headline would get your attention! Distractions in prayer, the enemy of the Covid-19 Retreat! Distractions in prayer, or "spiritual distractions," are not new. In the form of images or ideas, they parade through even the most pious minds. Is there a cure to rid ourselves of them? Yes, do not give them too much importanceand interpret them as an opportunity to turn back to the Lord; an opportunity for “conversion”. We are very grateful to the international Catholic news-site Aleteia, and to the author, Élisabeth de Baudöuin, for this article, to whom all credit.

 

Distractions touch all forms of prayer (Holy Mass, communal prayer, holy rosary, private prayer, adoration).  They vary according to one's temperament, state of life, and circumstances: the philosopher reasons, the parents think of their children, the resentful harks back, the ambitious man builds his future... Their nature informs the person about himself: his worries, affections, passions, temptations. Who escapes distractions in prayer? No one, not even the saints! Saint Teresa of Avila speaks of it as a true "infirmity", as much painful as unavoidable. She recounts that sometimes, even in solitude, she could have "no fixed and settled thought, neither of God nor of any good thing", and that her spirit resembled "a madman that nobody can chain". She admits that she was thinking "of nothing bad, but only of pointless things". One day, she found herself counting the nails in the shoe of the nun who was praying before her. Nothing serious, if we consider some of our less bright distractions. But how are we to understand this "infirmity"?

 

“Prayer Disorders” That Prevent Concentration

Spiritual distractions are inherent in our condition as bodily beings. The explanation is simple: man is not merely a spirit. And as the spirit seeks to reach God, its efforts are thwarted by the weight of the "matter" which holds it down. The "matter"? First of all the five senses, constantly in activity, which grasp, despite themselves, "everything that passes": this or that noise (the ringing of the mobile phone that one’s neighbour forgot to turn off), some image (our new neighbour's hairstyle), some smell. True “prayer-disturbers”, the senses constantly provide food for the mind with what they capture, thus preventing it from concentrating on the supernatural truths that it is nevertheless seeking.

 

But the action of the senses does not explain everything: with earplugs, a blindfold and a clothes-peg on the nose, there are still distractions. Why? Saint Teresa of Avila replies: "The natural powers, that is to say, memory, imagination (the “madwoman of the house”) and understanding (the faculty of reason), which never cease to wander, divert the will from its objective: to settle on God”.

 

Faced with the often painful and disconcerting experience of distractions, one may be tempted to be discouraged. Indeed, when you have too many distractions, you can say to yourself: "I am not made to pray". The temptation may then be to abandon everything. This is what you certainly should not do. If we stopped praying because we have distractions, we would never pray! Distractions only reach the peripheral part of our being. But God gives himself to us in the depths of the soul, where distractions do not enter, where the bodily senses have no access. They therefore do not prevent prayer from working within the soul and transforming it.

 

Distractions are an opportunity to choose the Lord again

So what should we do? Persevere, of course! And don't pay distractions too much attention, much less dramatize them. But do not take pleasure in them. That temptation nevertheless exists, and can be strong. As long as one does not dwell on them voluntarily, spiritual distractions are not a sin. “They are even a grace!” says one priest loud and clear. Because they are an opportunity to turn back to the Lord, to actively chose him, whom we had temporarily abandoned. To come back to him in the form of the prayer which we were making before.

 

To abandon a distraction that pleases us to return to Christ is to perform an act of love.” “They teach us to live on dry, black bread in the house of God”, so we read from the pen of Fenelon. Interest osuch a modest allowance, on such a pittance? Yes, by making prayer difficult, distractions allow man to seek God for himself, and not for the consolations of the senses he can give. Likewise, because of the effort they involve to rid oneself from them, they strengthen the will to find Him and stir up the desire to unite  ourselves with Him.

 

Yet more graces: this concerns also our very poverty. Now, "the poorer we are […], the more we are fit for the operations of consuming and transforming love", writes Thérèse de Lisieux. The young doctor of the Church, however, poses two conditions: choosing to remain poor; and love of this poverty. Saint Paul says a similar thing: “So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” (2 Cor. 12:9

 

And so here is the unexpected consequence: to live in praise, submission and thanksgiving; spiritual distractions allow God to establish his reign in the heart of man. They become then a pathwayfar more than an obstacle, to come to God in humility.

 

Elisabeth de Baudöuin

Translation Grand Priory of England

 

FEAST OF THE MOST HOLY BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST

The Procurator and all the Members of the Grand Priory England wish you all a very happy Feast of Corpus Christi.

As we approach, this coming week, the easing of the 'lockdown' and the reopening of our churches (Deo gratias!), making available again to Catholics that Sacred Space which is their birth-right, and access to the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, our daily Food, we are grateful to our chaplain Father John Osman for this little meditation upon returning in the correct attitude. It is indeed a very good thing that, for a few weeks ahead, we can go to adore, but not to receive; this is the concluding chapter of all we have learned over the last three months. Let us not forget this lesson, every natural thing has a supernatural purpose, and God intended us to benefit from this strange period of virus.  Let there be no going back to our old ‘normal’. 

For many, it seems the idea of a ‘Spiritual Communion’ has been a novelty, with prayer formulae to be learned anew. Yet every Holy Communion we make of Our Lord’s Body and Blood in the Sacred Host should be accompanied by an act of spiritual communion, with the same sense of awe we felt at our First Holy Communion (and if we cannot remember that, we should try! do you remember the date?) Let us heed Father Osman’s words and go back into the world as new men and women, armed with Our Lord’s Sacred Body in our hearts, ready for the spiritual battle which awaits us. And with Our Lady, rejoice in it!

CORPUS CHRISTI

Fr John Osman,  Conventual Chaplain

This year because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the forced closure of our churches, we shall not be able to keep the great solemnity of Corpus Christi as heretofore. The impressive act of witness of the Blessed Sacrament Procession in London, to which Knights and Dames have been committed over recent years, will not take place. Let us hope that next year we shall be able to restore this wonderful tradition of witnessing to the True Presence of Jesus Christ and the blessing that this Presence brings us in our lives. 

The lack of a Procession should not deter us though from deepening our appreciation of this great Sacrament and of thanking Our Lord more profoundly for this wonderful gift, hopefully to be the greater appreciated because of deprivation in this time of lock down. The desire to receive Jesus Christ, truly Present in His humanity and divinity in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar can be intensified by not being able to receive Him in the Eucharist at this time. Deprivation should lead us to a deepening of faith and trust in Our Lord and His love for us and His desire to be close to us. 

Archbishop Fulton Sheen was one of the first priests to promote the Catholic Faith through the media; he was declared Venerable in 2012. He tried to spend an hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament every day, remembering Our Lord’s request to the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Could you not watch with me one hour?”

Asked what inspired his great love of the Holy Eucharist, Archbishop Sheen shared a story about Communist soldiers overrunning a Catholic village during the Revolution.  He recounted how the Communists rounded up the village’s inhabitants, forced them to gather in the church, and made them watch as they destroyed the Tabernacle, throwing the consecrated Hosts down on the floor. The soldiers’ captain warned the people never to return to the church. But that night, one little girl went to the church, despite the risk to her own life. After an hour of prayer in reparation for the desecration, she knelt and received Jesus in Holy Communion, picking up the Host from the floor with her tongue. The little girl came back every night and kept this up for more than a month, but on the thirty second night, after reverently receiving the last remaining Host with her tongue, she was discovered and shot dead.

What a wonderful witness to Faith and reverence for the Holy Body of the Lord!

At this time, as we celebrate Corpus Christi, let us examine our conscience and ask some pertinent questions, with this little girl’s example in mind:

Do I receive Our Lord’s Body in a state of grace?
When did I last confess my sins and receive absolution?
Do I receive Our Lord devoutly and with love for Him in my heart?
Do I prepare to receive Him?
Do I offer thanksgiving each time for having received Him?

Let us use this time therefore when we are deprived of the Blessed Sacrament to prepare ourselves to receive Him with even greater joy and devotion when we return to His Presence once again.

O SACRAMENT MOST HOLY, 
O SACRAMENT DIVINE, 
ALL PRAISE AND ALL THANKSGIVING BE EVERY MOMENT THINE.

PROTECT THE YOUNG FROM TRUE EVIL INCARNATE - POPE'S WEEKLY AUDIENCE

At the Weekly Audience yesterday the Sovereign Pontiff made an urgent appeal to us all to protect the young from the various evils which assail them anew every day in the modern world.  To us in the Order of Malta the young, as they set out on their Pilgrimage through life, are the successors of the pilgrims to Jerusalem whom we tended in the first centuries of our existence, beset by the Evil One in many enticing guises.

As His Holiness said : "Every effort must be made to protect children …", "Children are the future of the human family: all of us are expected to promote their growth, health and tranquility." He referred specifically to economic exploitation, saying "I appeal that every effort be made on the part of institutions to protect minors, by filling the economic and social gaps that underlie the distorted dynamic in which they are unfortunately involved."

In present months there have been grotesque attacks on the young in the form of sexual exploitation, using them to make publishing profits through the many 'youth' magazines aimed at corrupting their innocence. This is child abuse, quite simply, and an example of much that Pope Francis has in mind.

CitizenGo have teemed up with Enough is Enough to protest Condé Nast's Vogue magazine's youth imprint 'TeenVogue" which is encouraging children in lockdown to indulge in 'sexting' – for the majority of you who don't know what this means, it is the sending of immodest photographs of themselves by text message to friends. This is both morally corrupting, and deeply compromising to their future careers, as these images remain forever online, frequently resulting in blackmail and suicide.  Please sign the protest petition HERE. as they rightly say, "a parent's worst nightmare."

If you have the stomach for it, you may see TeenVogue HERE. Not a pleasant sight. 

NEXT: The United Nations is using the Coronavirus to dramatically promote Abortion across the developing work, as its humanist solution to the health problems. Dead children cannot catch a virus, and don't cost money – problem solved. Again CitizenGo has a petition. Please sign it HERE. This is extremely urgent. Do this before you leave this page.

The Devil is having ball during Coronavirus, but Knights of Malta have taken him on before – and won.

We must never loose heart, as Pope Francis tells us: "In our darkest moments, when we sin or are disoriented, we always have an appointment with God. We do not need to be afraid, because God will change our hearts and give us the blessing reserved for those who allow Him to change them." (from Yesterday's General Audience).

O Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy up on us.
O Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy up on us.
O Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy up on us.

Our Lady of Philermo, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Blessed Gerard, pray for us.

THE MOST HOLY AND UNDIVIDED TRINITY

We are grateful to our friend and Chaplain, Father John Osman, priest of Saint Birinus, Dorchester-on-Thames, for this reflection upon the Most Holy Trinity for today's feast. It is very poignant this year, as we leave Paschaltide and enter the long summer of green Sundays, to reflect that we have spent the whole of Lent and Easter nearly completely alone - involuntary anchorites. God grant, with our eyes fixed firmly upon the Trinity, that this is not lost time, but may be turned to our spiritual advantage and to building our strength against the Enemy. The illustration shows a knight, such as you might be, gentle Reader, bearing into spiritual battle the shield of the Most Holy Trinity. May it always be yours.


The Sunday following the great Feast of Pentecost and the Giving of the Holy Spirit, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity. We contemplate the Mystery of God as He is in Himself, Father, Son and Holy Spirit and as He has been experienced by the Church throughout History. It is difficult, indeed impossible, for us to contemplate the Mystery of God Who is infinite in His perfections. How could we who are finite and limited comprehend God Who has no limitations?  We can know something about the Creator if we look intelligently at the created order – the work of His hands, but we cannot know Him unless He reveals Himself to us in a language which we can understand. The profound question in every human heart whether articulated or not is “What is God like?” and then perhaps a concomitant question: “How do I know Him?” God answers this question for us by speaking our language, that is by taking our human flesh by becoming man and taking human flesh of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The WORD, that is the Second Person of the Trinity who threw the stars into space and is the agent of creation, that Person takes flesh and becomes Man born of woman.
That is the Mystery of the Incarnation, the mystery of Emmanuel – God with us. It is Jesus Christ Who reveals to us His Father and tells Philip “To have seen me is to have seen the Father, for the Father and I are ONE." Furthermore, Our Lord told us that He goes to the Father and that the Father will send us the Gift of the Holy Spirit after Our Lord’s Ascension into Heaven. The Holy Spirit who will be with us until the end of time and Who will lead us into all truth. Our Lord tells us that He will not leave us as orphans but that He will come back to us and be with us. 
Trinity Sunday, in a certain sense, sums up God’s Revelation which was brought about through the Paschal Mystery – that is Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection, His Ascension to the Right Hand of the Father, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
The human mind and human language are inadequate in seeking to explain the relationship that exists between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – yet the Fathers of the Church sought to illustrate the Mystery of the Triune God by living it with deep faith in their own lives.
The Divine Trinity takes up His abode within us on the day of our Baptism, when the priest says: “I baptize you in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Every time we sign ourselves with the sign of the Cross we remember Gods’s Name and the Mystery into which we have been immersed through the waters of Baptism. With regard to the Sign of the Cross, it should always be done with care and devotion and with a remembrance of our Baptism. The Theologian Romano Guardini said: “We make the Sign of the Cross before praying, so that we may bout ourselves spiritually in order, focus thoughts, heart and will on GOD; after praying that what God has given us may remain with us.
PRAYER embraces the whole of our being, body and soul, and everything is consecrated in the Name of the TRIUNE GOD.”
Let us make our own prayer that of St Hilary of Poitiers:
“Keep uncontaminated, the Faith that is in me until my last breath. Protect my conscience that I may be faithful to what I professed in the waters of regeneration, when I was baptized in the Name of the Most Holy Trinity”  (St Hilary: de Trinitate XII)
The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is at the heart of our Catholic Faith and the in the experience of the Church throughout the ages. It is not a mathematical problem to be solved, but a mystery to be lived.

(Illumination by the Dominican Guillaume Perrault, 'Peraldus', 1190-1271, of a Christian preparing to do battle against the Seven Deadly Sins, from his volume 'Summa de virtutibus et vitas'.)

SIR GEORGE BOWYER ANNIVERSARY - RIP

Today is the anniversary of the death of Sir George Bowyer, Bt, the pious and romantic founder member of the British Association, one-time possible Grand Prior of England, patron of 'our' Sisters of Mercy, and benefactor and builder of our Conventual Church of Saint John of Jerusalem in St John's Wood, in the pavement of which, before the high altar, his heart is buried.

Of your charity, pray for his soul. If you happen to be in St John's Wood, do make a visit to the church, where for various reasons he has been rather neglected of late. Chaplains are invited to remember him at the altar at Holy Mass. Gone are the days of an annual chantry Mass in the beautiful church he so generous gave us.

The engraving above is from the Illustrated London News of June 8 1860, in the possession of the Editor.
The window below of St Edmund of Abingdon shows Bowyer presenting his new church in that town to its holy patron. (Click  to enlarge.)

REFLECTION ON OUR REDEMPTION 15 - PENTECOST

This is the 15th and last paper in our series Reflections on our Redemption which have been running since Passion Week. They may all be revisited using the search box top-left.

We are grateful, yet again, to Fr Joseph Hamilton for this final meditation upon the descent of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost.

Please pray for our beloved Order at this time, that it may be guided by the Holy Spirit into the path of Truth and Humility, not easy virtues for those living in the modern world which hates both; pray for our Chaplains, without whom we could not hope to be a Catholic order, that they may have the courage to give us the teaching we need; pray this weekend for the 20,000 or so Chartres Pilgrims who cannot walk due to the virus, and for our own small band of British Order Pilgrims who walked valiantly in Our Lady's path in London yesterday, praying for your intentions. Above all pray of the Church, that it in this time of crisis She may be given the strength to restore the awesome sway of Christ in our fallen world. We must each play our little part; the choice is yours.
The painting in the video shows the 'Descent of the Holy Ghost' by Sir Anthony van Dyck, 1618-20, in the collection at Sanssouci, Potsdam.

VENI SANCTE SPIRITUS, REPLE TUORUM CORDA FIDELIUM

SAINT UBALDESCA, VIRGIN

Gentle Reader, please accept our apologies for posting on this great saint a day late. Yesterday as every year, Saint Ubaldesca coincided with Saint Augustine, Apostle to the English. So, with apologies to the great Carmelite saint Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, her near neighbour, and today's feast of the altar, we now offer her to your undivided devotion. The painting illustrated is in the possession of the Museum of Saint John in Clerkenwell. It is of course due to the late date of the painting that our Saint is shown wearing a black habit, not red, see below.

Saint Ubaldesca Taccini represents the perfection of female service in the Order of Saint John.

Born at Castello di Calcinaia, in the county of Pisa in 1136, to farming stock, her parents pious people who practiced the virtues of obedience and silence, qualities they encouraged in our Saint from infancy. She learnt to pray constantly and practiced bodily mortifications, a spirituality which seems so foreign to our modern ears, but which throughout Europe produced the great age of Christendom, in the ashes alone of which we live now.
This life of virtue instilled into Ubaldesca a profound sense of charity and kindness, and she gave regularly to the Poor – having so little herself she frequently gave only time and understanding, often the most cherished gifts even by those who have no material goods. We see in all this the true and full vocation of womanhood.
The essential practice of examination of conscience led her to seek, in prayer for guidance, the true form her vocation should take.
One day while baking the bread, as if miraculously, she had a vision of an angel, who told her to seek admission to our Sisters of Saint John of Jerusalem of Carraia in Pisa. Knowing how poor her family was, and unable to provide the usual dowry, she doubted, but was assured by the angel that the Reverend Mothers were so rich they had no need of any dowry but her virtues, which, to dispel her further doubt, the Holy Spirit would provide where she lacked.“There is no woman in Pisa who will be more full of virtues than you. And because of your merits, the city will be delivered from great perils,” the angel told her. Pious as they were, her parents, through love of God and faith in their only daughter, took her the next day to Pisa.

THE HOLY EUCHARIST AND CORONAVIRUS

We give below the text of a paper by Bishop Athanasius Schneider, as part of our continuing Tuitio Fidei, upon the current Coronavirus crisis and the Most Holy Eucharist. It challenges us, and the Church, at pastoral, liturgical and theological levels.

It is particularly good for us here in England that His Excellency cites, at length, the spiritual care for the 19th Century urban poor by the Anglo-Catholic Oxford Movement, which tradition has continued to enhance the numbers of English Catholic clergy, and indeed members of our own Order, over the past century and a half.

It is also good in the light of the continuing friendship and mutual hospitality between our beloved Order and the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, the true successors of the Oxford Movement, working together as we do in the care of the Our Lords the Poor. There is something wonderfully Catholic and international (tautology?), firmly in the tradition of the Venerable Bede whose feast we celebrate today, and of Newman, about a German from the Ukraine, now bishop in Kazakhstan, citing 19th century Anglicanism in the context of eucharistic theology! Ad maiorem Dei gloriam!

We are thus deeply grateful to His Excellency for this challenging contribution, which fits well into our series "Reflections on our Redemption" as Paschaltide draws to a close, with the triumphal descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Church – "Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire."

The Eucharist, the greatest treasure of the Church, in time of tribulations 
H.E. Bishop Athanasius Schneider 
WE ARE WITNESSING a unique situation: It is for the first time in the history of the Church that the public celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice has been prohibited almost on a worldwide scale. Under the pretext of the Covid-19 epidemic, the inalienable right of Christians to the public celebration of the Holy Mass has been infringed, disproportionately and unjustifiably. In many countries, and especially in predominantly Catholic countries, this prohibition was enforced in such a systematic and brutal way, that it seemed as though the ruthless historical persecutions of the Church were brought back. An atmosphere of the catacombs was created with priests celebrating Holy Mass in secrecy with a group of the faithful.
The unbelievable fact was that in the midst of this worldwide ban of the public Holy Mass, many bishops even before the government banned public worship, issued decrees by which they not only forbade the public celebration of Holy Mass, but of any other sacrament as well. By such anti-pastoral measures those bishops deprived the sheep from the spiritual food and strength which only the sacraments can provide. Instead of good shepherds those bishops converted into rigid public officials. Those bishops revealed themselves to be imbued with a naturalistic view, to care only for the temporal and bodily life, forgetting their primary and irreplaceable task to care for the eternal and spiritual life. They forgot the warning of Our Lord: “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Mt. 16:26). Bishops who not only did not care but directly prohibited their faithful access to the sacraments, especially to the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist and the sacrament of Penance, behaved themselves as fake shepherds, who seek their own advantage...

FEAST OF SAINT PHILIP NERI


Please pray today for our late confrère and chaplain of the Priory, Mgr Antony Conlon, whose 41st anniversary of priestly ordination falls today.
Tu es sacerdos in æternum.

The photograph was taken two years ago on pilgrimage with friends at Shepherd's Field at Beit Sahur outside Bethlehem.
Tu es pastor bonus.

Dr Conlon, lately parish priest of Goring-on-Thames, died on Low Sunday this year.
Requiescat in pace. 

Please pray also for our many Oratorian friends and chaplains, as they celebrate the festival of their Founder and Patron.
Sancte Philippe Neri, ora pro nobis.


(Photo courtesy of James Barton.)

REFLECTIONS ON OUR REDEMPTION 14 - AWAITING THE HOLY GHOST

We are grateful, yet again, to Father Joseph Hamilton for taking the time from his PhD to provide us with a meditation on the events at the close of Eastertide, as, with the Twelve Apostles in the Upper Room, we await the coming of the Holy Ghost.




VENI SANCTE SPIRITUS, REPLE TUORUM CORDA FIDELIUM