Chesterton said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”


We are reminded, during this season of preparation for the coming of Our Lord and Saviour to earth, in the humility of the Manger in Bethlehem, when the secular and materialist world feasts and carouses at every turn, that we, as Catholics, are called upon by the Church, and particularly here in England and Wales by our Bishops, to observe this as a season of joyful preparation.

We are reminded particularly of the obligation to abstain from meat on Fridays (see here). This obligation, of course, walks with us every week of the year, and should be a joy as we avail ourselves of the graces it offers, but at this holy time, when social pressures are so great to join the party and to set aside our duties to God and to our own dignity as Catholic souls, we should not be afraid to stand out from the crowd.

As Pope Benedict teaches us, we have a duty to make present the Church in the secular world:
"Despite attempts to still the Church’s voice in the public square, many people of good will continue to look to her for wisdom, insight and sound guidance." (Address to US Bishops' "Ad limina" November 2011)
To those of us in the Order this is part of our Tuitio Fidei, a part of our charism which we should learn to practice daily, just as we do with Osequium Pauperum. Our Lords the Poor and Sick need both.