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!

TUITIO FIDEI - SAINT EXUPERY

" 'He says you eat greens like the goat and pork like the pigs. Your wives are shameless and show their faces - he has seen them. He says you never pray. He says, what good are your airplanes and wireless... if you do not possess the Truth?'

"And I am forced to admire this Moor who was not about to defend his freedom, for in the desert a man is always free; who is not about to defend his visible treasures, for the desert is bare; but who is about to defend a secret kingdom." (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. 'Wind, Sand and Stars', Cap. VII, iv.)

For 900 years we have fought the Moor. Not for the first time must we learn from his dedication to his faith.

Now is the time for us to defend "a secret kingdom." Our Faith, Our Church, Our future. A secret revealed by God. Against the world, the flesh, and the Devil.

Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio!

IN PREPARATION FOR CHRISTMAS - A MONK WRITES

 THE INCARNATION - ADVENT - A TIME TO PREPARE

We are indebted to our Chaplain Father Edward Corbold OSB, for this truly wonderful meditation upon Christ's entry into our life on earth, and our corresponding entry into his life of Eternity, Deo volente.

Father Corbold prepared this talk to be delivered at the Yarlington House Recollection, which would have been last Saturday. It is deeply to be regretted that we could not gather in such convivial joy this year; we offer out thanks to Count and Countess de Salis for the hospitality they offered us in will if not in fact, and to DuncaMcKechnie and his family for their efforts of organisation.

Please pray for the soul of our late confrere, Tony Chambers, Carolyn de Salis' brother-in-law, and for his widow Rosemary. May he rest in peace.

THE INCARNATION

In a few weeks’ time we shall be celebrating Christmas, the Feast of the Nativity (the Incarnation). Our familiarity with it can blunt our awareness of the enormity of it – God became Man, ‘Emmanuel’, God with us.

 

The Christian belief in the Incarnation is quite staggering. The more we know about the universe, its vastness, its age, the more it is a mystery that God its creator could have chosen this planet, this race, this age (only two thousand years ago) to send his Son, Jesus, to it. It is a scandal, a stumbling block, a trip- wire, which has tripped many people. Lots of genial Christians are in fact crypto-Arians, willing to admit that Jesus is the most sublime of God’s creation but drawing the line at the assertion of the Incarnation. So straight away our faith is being tested. So, we can say, ‘Lord, I don’t understand, but I believe’. We are agnostic for the reason that we live by faith.

 

It is so easy to put the Incarnation into an historical box as an event which took place two thousand years ago, a sort of ‘one off’ intrusion into the world, instead of seeing it as the presence of God into the world  - NOW.

SAINT CECILIA AND SOLDIERS FOR CHRIST

Today, the last Sunday of the Year, the Feast of Christ the King in the Universal Calendar, is the Feast of Saint Cecilia.

This gentle child martyr virgin, patroness of the caressing muse of Music, the angels' art, inflames us to violent battle against the Powers of Darkness.

The Benedictus Antiphon of her morning Office rings out - "As dawn was breaking into day, Cecilia cried out saying: Courage, soldier of Christ, cast away the deeds of darkness, and put on the armour of light."

"Dum aurora fine daret, Cecilia exclamavit dicens : Eia, milites Christi, abicite opera tenebrarum et induimini arma lucis."

Let those fools who would deny our duty to fight for Christ against the World and the Devil, who makes his nest even within our midst, and turn our ancient and holy Order into a den of spiritual pacifists, take heed. Christ the King requires of us an Army, and we must be ready to answer the clarion call. 

Ordo Sancti Ioannis Hierosolymitani Militaris et Hospitalis Melitensis, custodi et inflamma nos!

(The painting is by Carlo Saraceni,Venice, c 1610. Now Los Angeles County Museum of Art)

DEAR FRIEND - MEMENTO MORI

Blessed Robert Southwell, who was martyred, aetatis Domini, on 21 February 1595, wrote these verses below, so fitting for this month, and for our present age.

This excellent blog-post (H/T FrZ), by Anne Barnhardt HERE reminds us of our frailty, and the need to approach the Sacraments with awe. Now that we have been momentarily deprived of the Holy Eucharist, let us take this to heart, so that when we can next approach the august Throne of the Altar, we shall be properly and humbly disposed.

Every Communion should be received as if it were our First Holy Communion, and as if it were our last - our Viaticum. How many of us can claim that?  Memento Mori. Remember your death.

Read her HERE.

BEFORE my face the picture hangs
  That daily should me put in mind
Of those cold names and bitter pangs
  That shortly I am like to find:
But yet, alas! full little I
  Do think hereon that I must die. 

I often look upon a face,
  Most ugly, grisly, bare and thin;
I often view the hollow place
  Where eyes and nose had sometime been:
I see the bones across that lie,
  Yet little think that I must die.

My ancestors are turned to clay,
  And many of my mates are gone;
My youngers daily drop away,
  And can I think to 'scape alone?
No, no, I know that I must die,
  And yet my life amend not I.

If none can 'scape Death's dreadful dart,
  If rich and poor his beck obey;
If strong, if wise, if all do smart,
  Then I to 'scape shall have no way.
Oh! grant me grace, O God, that I
  My life may mend, sith I must die.

 

The top picture is by Albrecht Dürer (1521), the second by Domingos Rebelo (1919). It is salutary to think that, while romanticised, this depiction of Viaticum in a peasant house is only 100 years old. How much understanding we, and the whole Church, have lost in a century.

URGENT UPDATE ON NOVEMBER INDULGENCE IN LOCKDOWN

Before we have barely got started on our Indulgences for our deceased friends and relations, notwithstanding the generosity of the Holy See in extending this task to the whole month of November, the Devil has enlisted the British Government to frustrate our efforts. See the last post HERE.

Fear not!

The Special Conditions announced by the Holy Father in March (SEE HERE) continue to apply, and we may thus gain the Holy Souls Indulgences (on 8 separate days) under these conditions of a pious act done at home (Holy Rosary, Stations of the Cross, Spiritual reading for half-an-hour, Litany, etc) with prayer for the Pope's intentions, the intention to unite ourselves to the will of the Church at the altar, but in the absence of attendance at Mass and Holy Communion, and of immediate Confession, but with a firm purpose to receive both these Sacraments at the earliest opportunity.

If we are able to visit a church for private prayer we should try to do so. Confessions are also available under various conditions in many parishes.

The text of the Apostolic Decree may be found HERE.

Thus there is no justification to ignore the obtaining of these glorious Indulgences. Paradoxically it has never been easier, and probably never will be again. So, please, set to work in the greatest act of charity humanly possible, the releasing of your family, or indeed total strangers, from Purgatory to the Eternal Bliss of Heaven. They are crying out to us for our prayers.

For the of you who are isolating, please remember our very popular post, Spiritual Communion in Self-Isolation, HERE.

Pray also for our Bishops, that they may, within the great tradition of our 900 year-old history, learn the joy of a good holy fight.

ANIMAE EORUM, ET ANIMAE OMNIUM FIDELIUM DEFUNCTORUM, PER MISERICORDIAM DEI REQUIESCANT IN PACE. AMEN.

(Painting, The Holy Souls in Purgatory, Antonio María Esquivel, 1850)

EXTENSION OF NOVEMBER INDULGENCES FOR WHOLE MONTH

UNDER the fatherly gaze of the Sovereign Pontiff, and ever solicitous for the salvation of souls, the Apostolic Penitentiary has mercifully granted special indulgences in this year of the Coronavirus, when the actions of the civic authorities make difficult frequent visits to churches and cemeteries, and to avoid the gathering of large groups. The Decree was signed on 22 October, the Feast of Pope St John Paul II.

The indulgences applicable to the Holy Souls, customarily available daily to the Faithful for the week from the 1st November, are this year extended to any eight days, not necessarily continuous, throughout the month of November. 

The Indulgence for the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (2nd November) may be fulfilled on any day of the month.

The usual generous concessions for the housebound apply to this provision.


For those of us who every year set out on All Saints with with such good intentions to release eight souls from Purgatory, and who reach the end of the week distracted by daily chores and disappointed at our failure, this year there really is no excuse.

The formal text of the Indulgence is printed below :


For the faithful departed 
§ 1. A plenary indulgence, applied exclusively to the souls in Purgatory, is granted to the Christian faithful who:

1° on each single day, from the first to the eighth day in November, devoutly visit a cemetery and, even if only mentally, pray for the faithful departed; [Note: one plenary indulgence for each day, if the usual conditions are met]

2° on the day of Commemoration of All Faithful Departed [November 2] (or, according to the Ordinary, on the preceding or subsequent Sunday, or on the day of the solemnity of All Saints) piously visit a church or oratory and there recite the Pater and the Credo. 


(Enchiridion Indulgentiarum, 4th edition.)

REQUIEM AETERNAM DONA EIS DOMINE, ET LUX PERPETUA LUCEAT EIS
REQUIESCANT IN PACE. AMEN.

DEFENDING "CITIZEN GO"

CitizenGo, known we are sure to many of our readers, is an international Catholic community which serves to support ethical campaigns worldwide. They have recently raised awareness of the case of Asia Bibi, a campaign promoted here by Grand Prior Fra' Ian Scott; the case of the persecuted street preachers in England raised on this blog in the past; erosion of religious freedom by banks, covered here recently; as well as innumerable cases of support fighting abortion, blasphemy, and fundamental ethical issues. They work through campaigns of petitions and advisory support. These campaigns work!

As in any organisation offering free speech, we do not always agree fully with the campaigns they promote, but it is our duty as Catholics to use our own conscience to determine our actions and opinions.

Now their UK representative, Caroline Farrow, a Catholic mother, journalist and commentator, is suffering persecution by legal action from international Left-wing organisations, with the immense funding potential of George Soros and other globalist organisations, who wish to silence the ethical voice of the Catholic majority, in its opposition to abortion, LGBT and other radical policies, and defence of the family.  Persecution is similarly being meted out in Kenya upon Ann Kioko, their Campaigns Director. Africa is proving, Deo gratias, a much harder nut to crack than Europe, and the battle there is more vicious. But they cannot fight alone.

We are asked for our active support, as well as financial contributions to defend free-speech. You may read about it and contribute HERE.

Please be generous, with your time to inform yourself, as also with your prayers.

Our Lady of Philermo, pray for the Christian world.

BLESSED GERARD HOMILY

The Feast of our noble and blessed Founder, in the 900th year of his heavenly nativity, was celebrated with considerable splendour at Saint James's Church, Spanish Place. This was the first big event for the Order since the coronavirus disruptions, and was the occasion for the delayed Investitures of eight new Members of the Order, who are to be warmly welcomed and congratulated. Our thanks for hospitality of the altar to the Rector, our chaplain Fr Colven.*

The Choir of Saint James's, under the direction of Ed Tambling, excelled itself in joyful beauty in Byrd's Mass for Five Voices, to the starved delight of the large congregation. They also sang Justus ut palma by Palestrina, and Tallis's O salutaris.

The Celebrant and Preacher was our learned chaplain Father John Hemer MHM. Father Hemer preached upon Truth and Obedience, and opened with particular reference to the Pachamama episode of a year ago, which we covered on this Blog HERE and HERE, and praised our doughty and influvating Austrian confrère, who may be seen in video HERE, who brought it to a watery end.

Father Hemer's illuminating and uplifting text follows below. We are, as ever, extremely grateful to him.

Feast of Blessed Gerard

 

EXACTLY a year ago some of us held our breath, some of us looked on in horror as the events of the Amazon synod unfolded, October 6th – 27th I could scarcely believe what I was seeing when a pagan idol, the so-called Pachamama was, evidently, venerated in the Vatican gardens, and later brought in procession to the Basilica where the first vicar of Christ, prince of the apostles lies buried. And just when you thought it couldn’t get worse it did. Several copies of that lifeless idol were enshrined in front of an altar in the church of Santa Maria in Traspontina while the living and life-giving body of Christ was reserved on another altar in the same church, the whole thing presided over by a lady Anglican minister who was out and proud lesbian. You can’t make it up!

 

         I don’t know about you but my heart rejoiced when I saw the film on YouTube of those young Austrian men removing those vile pagan images from the church and dumping them in the River Tiber where they most definitely belonged. And my heart leapt for joy when I first looked over the readings for this evening and saw those words of St. Peter in the first reading:

 

For of all the names in the world given to men, this is the only one by which we can be saved.

 

If I could I’d be tempted to cartwheel across the sanctuary on hearing those words a few moments ago. Don’t worry, I can’t even run for a bus any more, so anything more energetic would be out of the question.

 

Pope Benedict, the morning after his election spoke at Mass warning us about “the dictatorship of relativism.” And I remember thinking how true, but assuming that the relativism he spoke of was something outside the Church, something post-modernists were engaged in, but not us Catholics. How naïve I was! That relativism is there at the heart of the Church and it’s been around a lot longer than last year’s synod. And we are, I believe, engaged in a fierce struggle to preserve, uphold and proclaim the integrity of the Catholic Faith. Part of the mission of each one of us here, in different ways, is to hold before the world the absolute uniqueness of Jesus Christ, true God and true man.

 

And that’s the first thing I would want to say to all of you tonight, but especially those who have their investiture and are formally entering the Order. Our Order is massively involved in charitable work all over the world and that’s wonderful. But if we are not carefulwe can easily ‘undersell’ our vocation by suggesting that what we do is all about feeding starving children, housing the homeless, clothing the naked etc. Don’t get me wrong; a great deal of what we do is what you might call human uplift or development. We do that not in order to win people over but simply because Christ told us to: I was hungry and you gave me to eatetc. We have, on the whole, a fine record in this regard, and remember the Catholic Church is out and away the largest charity in the world. However, especially in our post-modern “all-religions-are-basically-the-same” sort of culture we can avoid a lot of awkward questions and be pretty sure of people’s admiration and support if we confine our talk to helping people materially. I’ve had plenty of conversations with people who thought it was wonderful that I was in Pakistan helping the poor etc, but at the same time thought I had no business whatsoever trying to preach the gospel to them. No, through our personal search for holiness, our reverent celebration of the liturgy and our following of the order’s rule, we must try to bear continual witness to Christ our Lord. We’re not do gooders, we are do Goders! Here is a slightly different translation of the gradual we’ve just heard:

 

The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip. 


Let’s live and work and pray in such a way that this be an accurate description of each one of us.

 

If we are at all familiar with 16thC. English church music we will know Thomas Tallis’s lovely setting of some of today’s gospel. But there is a subtle and important difference between the two texts. Tallis’s version says:

 

If ye love me keep my commandments 

 

So an imperative, a command. What we read tonight however was:

 

If you love me, you will keep my commandments, 

 

No command, just a future indicative, a future statement of fact. The explanation for this difference is fairly simple; there are manuscripts which have the imperative, and probably the translation which Tallis was working with had just such a command.

 

         The problem with the text Tallis uses is that it can, in the wrong hands, be made to sound moralistic and controlling. As a priest, more than once I’ve come across a passive-aggressive controlling parent saying to a child: “If you love me you will do what I want, and if you don’t do what I want, then you don’t love me.” Now I’m not even raising the possibility that Jesus might be doing this, just that people with their own hang-ups could use this to portray Jesus as a moralising control freak.

 

         That’s why I’m so glad that the text we use today has the simple future indicative, 

 

you will keep my commandments

 

and so do most of our modern translations. In other words, keeping the Lord’s commandments isn’t a condition of loving him, it’s a consequence of it. If we love him, then, fairly naturally, we will do what he asks of us without too much complaining. We have all experienced in our own lives what this means, especially I think earlier on. When we start to take our faith seriously, when the Lord moves in on us, we start to love him, to be attracted by him, to be drawn to him. The things of God delight us, we can’t get enough and living the Christian life gives us joy and energy. Now it’s not that this initial ardour cools off – although it can of course – but rather it matures into healthy habits, a life style that is naturally Christian. So when we get up in the morning none of us here has to make the big decision “shall I pray or not today?” or shall I tell the truth, shall I be honest in my use of money? Shall I be kind to people or shall I be horrible? etc?” All that flows quite naturally from our often humdrum and unspectacular efforts to love the Lord. That’ why Jesus says in Matthew’s gospel

 

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yokeis easy, and my burden is light."(Mt. 11:29-30)

 

We know though that despite the truth of that we sometimes struggle to be the people we are called to be. That’s why Jesus promises to send another Counsellor, helper; the word of course is Paraclete, and here, somewhat unusually, Jesus defines that word a bit more precisely:

 

The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him.

 

The Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, is the one who helps us see things as they really are. In my teens and twenties, we were very aware of the Eastern Block as a set of societies who tried systematically to supress the truth in all sorts of ways. George Orwell in his novel 1984 which satirised totalitarianism wrote about the ‘mutability of the truth’ – basically the idea that the truth was whatever the ruling party said it was. We were rightly indignant about that, living as we did in a society where free speech was an inalienable right. Well the Communist block’s gone but we find our ability to speak the truth is curtailed in all sorts of ways in our western world. And it’s precisely the Catholic Church that’s getting into trouble increasingly for speaking the truth about the basics of humanity, gender, when life begins and ends and many more things.

 

When John talks about ‘the world’, he doesn’t just mean ‘the planet’. He means human society organised in a way which excludes God. So once a society starts to do that, it simply can’t receive the Holy Spirit because it can’t stand the truth. There’s a scene in Acts at the trial of Stephen where Stephen preaches with great eloquence and if you like tells an alternative history of the Jewish people and shows that they had resisted God all the way along. (That was nothing new; all the prophets had been saying the same things for hundreds of years, sometimes in much saltier language.) Then they all stop their ears and rush at him. In other words they know that Stephen is telling the truth, and once you hear that, you either change your ways, repent, or you silence the truth and attack the one who is telling it too you. And we see that happening in all sorts of ways today. But Jesus promised that the Spirit of Truth would be with us forever

 

I will not leave you orphans – 

 

We are not just people who have to stoically try to keep Jesus’ commandments, we have someone who will help us do it, the Paraclete.

 

         We celebrate the 900thcentenary of our founder. We ask that the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete give us the grace to continue the example he set, to continue keeping the Lord’s commandments because we love him. Finally we pray for those who take this important step tonight that they will truly be able to show the world that:

 

of all the names in the world given to men, the Holy name of Jesus is the only one by which we can be saved.

 Blessed Gerard, pray for us.

* For those who wish to be awkward, and there's always one, we can confirm that full social-distancing measures, in accordance with H M Government regulations, were in place throughout.

FEAST OF BLESSED GERARD - 13 OCTOBER

The Feast of our Founder Blessed Gerard will be celebrated with Holy Mass at the Church of Saint James's Spanish Place, by kind permission of the Rector, at 7pm on Tuesday 13th October. The Relic of Blessed Gerard's jawbone will be presented for veneration of the faithful, with suitable Coronavirus safety measures taken.

There will also be an investiture of new members, deferred from Saint John's Day.

All members of the Order should try to be present, and Companions, OMV and friends of the Order are welcome.

Social distancing will be in place.

Blessed Gerard, pray for us



WARDOUR - CHARITY - "CLOTH-OF-GOLD 500"

Escaping for a day from the irritations of the Coronavirus, the Grand Priory Day of Recollection at Wardour Castle Chapel took place a couple of weeks ago, well-attended as ever.

The Recollections were led by our esteemed Chaplain, Father Stephen Morrison, Canon Regular of Prémontré, and we are delighted to offer his reflections upon Charity, something the Order needs to hear regularly, below.

The day took place with suitable 'social distancing' (not of course in St Thomas Aquinas's far more interesting use of that term, which is itself part of the Order's spirituality SEE HERE) which somewhat mucked-up the lunch arrangements, but members of the Order of Malta are a resourceful lot, and country picnics need be no hardship, bien arrosés.

Those who variously were unable to attend at the last moment were much missed, and prayers were offered for them, but the most notable and prominent absence to this annual event was 'Podge', Patricia Lady Talbot of Malahide, not to mention the great tradition of her truly delicious Lemon Drizzle Cake.  Lady Talbot was the intention at Holy Mass. May she rest in peace.

This year is, of course, the 500th Anniversary of the Field of the Cloth of Gold, and as the Chapel had been unable to celebrate the event properly in the Summer, opportunity was taken to wear the 'Westminster Chasuble', the Mass being a Votive of the English Martyrs. This vestment, originally from the Benedictine Abbey of Westminster, though much altered, adorned with Tudor portcullis and roses, and the pomegranate of Queen Catherine of Aragon, and flemish embroideries of Passion scenes, had been taken to the Field of the Cloth of Gold for Cardinal Wolsey's Pontifical Mass before the two young Kings. It was in the care of Lord Arundell of Wardour, who brought it back to England, and, due in part to the Reformation, has remained at Wardour ever since.

We are grateful to Grand Prior Emeritus Fra' Ian Scott for the photograph, much in the tradition of his predecessor!

CHARITY

 1.   The Love of God made manifest in Jesus Christ

2.   The Love we owe to God and are commanded to show to our neighbour

It may surprise you to know that I hardly ever preach on Love, on Charity. If that sounds odd, perhaps every single sermon on a religious topic is in fact about Love; about God’s love for us, and ours for Him and for our neighbour. Explicit or not, the central mystery of the Christian Revelation is Charity. Our late confrere Fr Cadoc never preached on Love, or rather, he always did, without ever saying the word. Why? He didn’t want to be misunderstood. Love is a word that has become cheapened by public discourse, a word we use as much for ice cream as we do for God; it has become “fluffy” and imprecise; we speak of the highest loves and the humblest loves in our lives using the same word. “Charity” is the word preachers tend to use to describe the virtue… but even that is misunderstood in the world as meaning simply “philanthropy.” We use the word “obsequium” to refer to our charitable care for Our Lords the poor and the sick; what we really mean is the practising of the virtue of charity. When priests say glibly “Jesus loves you” – the phrase has become so sickly sweet as to be meaningless… whereas, it is the most meaningful mystery, indeed the deepest and most unfathomable of all. How, then, can we properly speak about love, avoiding the extremes of either excessive dryness or formality on the one hand, and sentimental schmaltz or soppiness on the other? So today, I’m going to break the habit of my preaching – and boldly speak of Love. In two parts – this morning, on God’s love for us, and this afternoon, our own growth in love, through loving God and our neighbour. 

Love is one of the Theological Virtues: 

So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Cor 13:13

It is with some trepidation, dear confreres, that I attempt to speak of it…

FEAST OF THE HOLY PARENTS OF OUR BLESSED PATRON

We wish to all our Readers a happy feast of Saints Elizabeth and Zachary, holy parents of Saint John the Baptist. The painting above, of the second holy family, is by Louis-Jean-François Lagrenée, 1724 to 1805.

Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint Zachariah, pray for us.
Saint Elizabeth, pray for us.

Saint Linus, pray for us.
Saint Thecla, pray for us.

INTERNATIONAL BUY A PRIEST A BEER DAY

O most esteemed, charitable and generous Reader!

Today is "International Buy a Priest a Beer Day". Much salutary information may be found on the website of "The Catholic Gentleman" HERE.

As this is rather short notice, and this Feast is of an hospitaller rather than purely doctrinal nature, the Grand Priory of England of the Order of Malta feels itself entitled to establish an Octave, applicable to the entire English-speaking world within the Order, its Members, Companions and Associates.

We are deeply indebted for this liturgical intelligence to a Companion of Malta who may one day be a beneficiary of this Feast.

Go out and do your hospitaller duty!

Please note the photograph is from some time ago, from when some of us were, indeed, very young, and modern priests may nowadays quite properly, as may girls, be offered pints.

St Hopswald of Aleyard, opn!

UPDATE - A kindly Knight has volunteered the following photograph - pour encourager les autres.  And enlarge to see what he is drinking!



BLESSED ADRIAN FORTESCUE - TUITIO FIDEI - COME DRINK AT THE FOUNTAIN

It is very fitting that within the week of the Feast of Our Blessed Lady of Philermo, the reverend compilers of the little volume "Mementoes of the Martyrs" (Burns and Oates, 1961) should have chosen to include the text of Blessed Adrian Fortescue's maxims, this day and tomorrow, written in his manuscript within his Book of Hours. As many members of the Order will know, this treasured volume,  the only relic of our martyr saint, the property by inheritance of the Constable Maxwell family, is on loan to the Grand Priory, and one of our most treasured artefacts. Third-class relics are available for the devotion of the faithful, by gracious courtesy of former Grand Master Fra' Matthew Festing.

It gives us much pleasure to offer to our dear Readers the published Maxims of Blessed Adrian, which have never before appeared on this blog, and which are as apposite for our day as they clearly were in his. It shows how little changes, and for all the claims of development and increased 'sophistication' which our liberal friends would have you believe we have achieved, we actually change very little, and are still just as guilty of the same foolishness as our 'unsophisticated' 16th Century ancestors. Much comfort therein. These admonitions are for every layman; take heed, beloved Confrere, dear Companion!

MAXIMS OF BLESSED ADRIAN FORTESCUE, Martyr, ON.

ABOVE all things love God with all thy heart.

Desire His honour more than the health of thine own soul.

Take heed often with all diligence to purge and cleanse thy mind with Confession, and raise thy desire
or longing from earthly things.

Be thou houseled [receive Communion] with entire devotion.

Repute not thyself better than any other person, be they never so great sinners, but rather judge and esteem thyself most simplest.

Judge the best.

Use much silence, but when thou needs must, speak.

Delight not in familiarity of persons unknown to thee.

Be solitary as much as is convenient with thine estate.

Banish from thee all judging and detraction, and especially from thy tongue.

Pray often.

Also enforce thee to set thy house at quietness.

Resort to God every hour.

Advance not thy words or deeds by any pride.

Be not too much familiar, but show a serious and prudent countenance with gentleness.

Show before all people a good example of virtues.

Be not partial for favour, lucre or malice, but according to truth, equity, justice and reason.

Be pitiful to poor folk and help them to thy power, for then thou shalt greatly please God.

Give fair language to all persons, and especially to the poor and needy.

Also be diligent in giving of alms.

In prosperity be meek of heart, and in adversity patient.

And pray continually to God that thou may do what is His pleasure.

Also apply diligently the co-operations of the Holy Ghost whatever thou hast therein to do.

Pray for perseverance.

Continue in awe of God, and ever have Him before thine eyes.

Renew every day thy good purpose.

What thou hast to do, do it diligently.

'Stablish thyself always in well-doing.

If by chance thou fall into sin, despair not; and if thou keep these precepts, the Holy Ghost will strengthen thee in all other things necessary, and, thus doing, thou shalt be with Christ in Heaven, to whom be glory, laud, honour and praise everlasting. Amen.
The picture at the head of this post shows Bl. Adrian Fortescue, a copy of the painting at the College of San Paolo, Rabat, Malta, by the Grand Master's brother, the renowned painter, Andrew Festing.

RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE?

We are invited to support a petition against the decision of Barclays Bank to deny banking facilities to a charity, which happens to be Christian, on idealogical grounds. See HERE.

It matter not whether we agree with everything this charity states, the greater point of being allowed legally to practice one's beliefs freely in a free society must override any subjective opinion. Or so we should like to think. You may read about the Core Issues Trust HERE.

This subject calls to mind a recent deeply ironic blogpost from our dear friend Fr John Hunwicke, HERE. There is much truth in irony, which is why it is so hated.

To say the world is a messy place is an understatement.

Our Lady of Philermo, pray for us!

TUITIO FIDEI ET OBSEQUIUM PAUPERUM

Gnädige Readers are directed to the PREVIOUS POST as a pleasant corrective antidote! But not as an opiate.

AND MANLY HEARTS TO GUARD THE FAIR!

 A happy end to the Summer for all our readers!

With the great Constance Shacklock, remembered by all too few of us; the BBC Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Sir Malcolm Sargent.

HOMILY FOR THE VICTORY MASS

The Victory Mass took place in some splendour at St James's Spanish Place, with polyphonic choir, on Tuesday, Our Lady's Nativity, and the celebration of the victorious outcome of the Siege of Malta by our Blessed Mother's powerful intercession. This victory should give us confidence in our own troubled times to ask Our Lady for Her aid, in the firm confidence that our prayers will be answered; as God wills, not necessarily as we do.

Holy Mass was celebrated by Fr Richard Biggerstaff. Many Knights, Dames and Companions attended, a good return after the long absence of Lockdown. We give below the homily preached at the Mass by Monsignor John Armitage, newly appointed Chaplain of the Grand Priory. Please pray for the soul of Monsignor Antony Conlon, his late predecessor, may he rest in peace.

THE NATIVITY OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
Homily; Mgr John Armitage

This year we celebrate the 900th anniversary of the death of our founder, Blessed Gerard, through his example the charism of our Order has guided us along the centuries. We do not know very much of Gerard, but there is a possible record of an epitaph written, which gives us a picture. Here lies Gerard, the humblest man in the East, the servant of the poor, hospitable to strangers, meek of countenance but with a noble heart. One can see in these walls how good he was. He was provident and active. Exerting himself in all sorts of ways, he stretched forth his arms into many lands to obtain what he needed to feed his own.” 

His humility was the true fount of his nobility, and his humility was inspired by the one who God called Mother, our Blessed Lady. In today’s first reading from the prophet Micha, we hear; The Lord says this, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, the least of the clans of Judah, out of you will be born for me the one who is to rule over Israel.
 
At the heart of our Order, is the one who is the least of the clans of Judah”, the woman who would rejoice and glorify the Lord, for He who is Almighty had worked great marvels in her life. The humility of our Lady arises from her recognition of God's great work in her life, for humility is the recognition that all I have, is freely given to me, by the God who loves me.  The nobility of Blessed Gerard was born of a graciousness that comes from being a servant, walking in the footsteps of the one who washed the feet of the apostles, and said to Peter, “unless you let me wash your feet, you can have nothing to do with me. Like Our Lady, Gerard had recognised in his own life that the Lord had done great things for him, and because of these great things he was able to do great things in the service of others, especially the Poor and Our Lords the Sick. Gerard had a noble heart, a great heart, because he was humble, not counting on his worldly status, for he had experienced the wonders of God's love in his life. It was in serving the Sick and the Poor that he discovered his strength, it was in the challenges of his times, faced with violence, disease and injustice that he gained the strength to serve others and not to count the cost to himself. 

Whether it was in the growing needs of sick pilgrims in Jerusalem, or the courageous stand of the Siege of Malta that we remember today, or the challenges that we face in today’s pandemic, our Order needs men and women of great heart, whose nobility is firmly rooted in the humility of Our Lady and the example of Blessed Gerard. 
 
During the Second Word War Pope Pius XII addressed the Order in 1941 “In these poor, these orphans, these wounded, these lepers, you own the title deeds of nobility received at Bethlehem from the King of Kings, who being rich, became poor, that by his poverty you might be rich. Nor are you content with aiding them by your gifts; you love and honour them as the privileged courtiers of our common king."
 
These profound words of the Pope, remind us that the title deeds of our nobility, as members of our Order lie in the service of the poor, the wounded and the lepers, and that they were given to us in Bethlehem by the King of Kings, who being rich, became poor”.
 
From the moment of her Conception, Mary was blessed by God, blessed in order that salvation could come to the people who walked in darkness”, it was through Mary’s yes, that these people saw a great light” in her son, Jesus Christ. 

Our world still walks in darkness, for so many of our brothers and sisters have not seen the great light. The birth of Mary, and the yes of Mary enabled that light to shine upon us. This light is known through a human encounter, for the Word became flesh and lived among us. Therefore, the world waits for women and men, who have said yes to God in their lives, to be beacons of light to those who live in darkness. 

Each moment in history demands great sacrifices, acts of love and kindness, acts of graciousness and radical generosity to address the darkness that so besets our world. The challenge of renewal within our beloved Order, is not about administration, it is about a renewal of the personal and generous response in the lives of its members to say yes as Mary said yes, to say yes as Gerard said yes, to say yes in the footsteps of the thousands of members of our Order who over the centuries have served the Poor and the Sick and protected the Church by their example and loving service, always at a cost to themselves, and sometimes at the cost of their very lives!
 
At the Annunciation, the message of the Angel greatly troubled” Mary, but he said to her Do not be afraid, for the power of the most high will come upon you”. The feast we celebrate today reminds us of what is to come in Our Lady’s life, and what is to come in our life. Like her we may be afraid, afraid of what is happening in the world, what is happening in our family and country. Like Mary we may be afraid of what God may be asking of us to be a “light in the darkness”. Yet the Archangel reassures us, as he reassured Mary, for Nothing is impossible for God” and so we join with Mary Our Mother and say Behold the handmaid, (the servant) of the Lord, let it be done to me according to Gods word.

The painting shows the Lifting of the Siege of Malta, by Charles-Philippe Lariviere. Salle des Croisades, Versailles.