“The only worthwhile striving is after the highest ideals: If you aim for an easy target, your standard will inevitably decline, and no progress is ever made, except through real effort and real suffering.” - Servant of God Fra' Andrew Bertie                                                                                                                                                 "Work as if everything depends on you, pray as if everything depends on God" - Saint Ignatius of Loyola

RECENT POSTS

CHRISTMAS GREETINGS

We have, in the last post, already conveyed the Christmas greetings of the Grand Prior, who is recovering well from his illness in Edinburgh, and who holds all those who participate in the life of the Conventual Church, and the readers of this blog, especially in his prayers at this Holy Season.

We could not now do better than to pass on (in common, it seems, with most traditional English language blogs, but it is possible some of our international readership may not have seen it elsewhere) the Holy Father's Christmas broadcast to the people of these islands, given in the BBC's Radio 4 "Thought for the Day."  This is a development which would have been unthinkable only a short while ago, and an extraordinary testimony to the humility and faithfulness with which Pope Benedict exercises his sacred office.

In it he presents the Christmas message in all its theological clarity and joy, and ends, as we must too, with a prayer for the sick and those who suffer, the elderly and the dying - Our Lords the Poor and the Sick. May God grant them the joys of his eternal Salvation, brought by the Child in the manger.


Hodie scietis, quia veniet Dominus,
et salvabit nos: et mane videbitis gloriam eius.

CHRISTMAS MASS TIMES


THURSDAY 23rd DECEMBER

Thursday evening Mass at 6.30pm will exceptionally be cancelled.

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CHRISTMAS EVE

Sung ‘Midnight’ Mass (Missa in Nocte) at 9.00pm,
preceded by Carols and Readings at 8.30pm

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CHRISTMAS DAY

Sung Mass with Carols at 11 am.

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SUNDAY 26th (THE HOLY FAMILY)

Mass at 11 am.

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TUESDAY 28th DECEMBER

Tuesday morning Mass at 11 am is cancelled.

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Thereafter Mass times return to normal.

The Grand Prior and the Chaplain of the Hospital wish you all, and all your families, a very happy and blessed Christmas.

REPORT - ARNOLD HOUSE SCHOOL CONCERT AND CAROL SERVICE

A rather belated report on the wonderful concert given in November given by the boys of Arnold House School. To a full church the the boys performed a mix of modern and traditional choral music. We are very grateful to them indeed for their skills and efforts, and to the audience who were so generous. The concert raised over £600 for St John's Hospice.  It is very good to be able to renew the historic links between Arnold House and the Hospital.

This month the Annual Order of Malta Carol Service was a great success, with splendid music provided by Cantores Missae under the Direction of Mr Charles Finch, and the congregation of nearly 90 people again provided a very generous collection for the aid of the Hospice.

Please support the future concerts, which offer many musical delights and the opportunity to support the Hospice, programmes of which are provided here.  The next concert is given by Hexachord - "Glories of the Eton Choirbook"on 26th January.

ADVENT RECOLLECTION ON OUR LADY


On the Feast of Our Lady of Liesse, Thursday 2nd December, Father John Hemer, a Mill Hill Missionary who is Scripture Professor at Allen Hall, delivered the following very inspiring mediation on the role of Our Lady in Salvation.  We are deeply grateful to Father Hemer, and commend this text to all readers of this site as part of their Advent Preparation. It merits frequent revisiting. (Click on the "Read More" link at the end for the full text.)

MARY IN ADVENT

Mary in the New Testament

In addition to Mary, St Matthew includes four women in his Gospel narrative. This is most unusual, indeed unique in a Biblical genealogy.  Each of them has these two things in common with Mary: a) that there is something strange or irregular about their union with their partners, which may have been scandalous to outsiders and b) they showed initiative and thus played an important role in God's plan.

Tamar was the daughter-in-law of Judah; she obtained children from him by deception, pretending to be a harlot. Rahab had been a harlot, but it was her initiative that enabled Israel to enter the Promised and. Ruth was a pagan, a Moabitess and she brought about her union with Boaz by her own initiative which was scandalous in itself (although she displayed rare love and devotion to her mother-in-law Naomi).  Without her, the Davidic line might never have come into being. Uriah's wife, (Bathsheba) had an adulterous union with David, but through her intervention, Solomon, their son, succeeded David. All this shows how God uses the most unusual, indeed scandalous circumstances and intervenes on behalf of the Messiah to bring about his plan. Each one of these women has had the courage to step outside of the accepted ways and standards of her own society in order to continue God’s line – (although they were not always conscious that this is what they were doing). Here is a hint of what we will meet later in the Gospel. If people are to do God’s will, if people are really going to live out their following of Christ, they will have to do similar unexpected or unusual things.

BBC PROGRAMMES ON CATHOLIC WOMEN TODAY

The British Broadcasting Corporation, about the impartiality of whose views on the Catholic Church we are all free to hold our own opinion, is preparing three one-hour-long television programmes on "the experience of being a Roman Catholic woman in Britain today."

The Corporation is seeking women of all stations in life to volunteer to have 'off the record' conversations with an interviewer about their lives as Catholics.

The invitation continues: "Guilt, sex, male priesthood, moral teaching: do you recognise these media preoccupations as forces in your lives?"  You get the idea...  It is important that loyal and active Catholics get involved to give a balanced perspective to this research.

Female readers of this blog, and particularly dames of the Order and Companions, who may be regarded as sound and committed, are warmly encouraged to get involved – Catholic apologetics are an important part of our lives in the public realm, as the Holy Father keeps reminding us.  For us in the Order they are part of the duty of Tuitio Fidei, to complement our hospitaller work of Obsequium Pauperum.

The link is HERE.  It looks quite easy to sign up.

Dos Tua, Virgo pia, haec est.

REMINDER - CAROL SERVICE - 15th DECEMBER

The Annual Advent Carol Service in aid of Saint John's Hospice, takes place this Wednesday, 15th December at 6.30pm.

It will be followed by mulled wine and mince pies in Fortescue House, to which all are welcome.

SOLEMNITY OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Today is the Immaculate Conception of Our Blessed Lady.

A Mass will be sung in the Conventual Church at 6.30 pm.

O MARIA sine labe concepta, ora pro nobis, qui confugimus ad te!