“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

RECENT POSTS

MASS FOR SIR JOHN KEEGAN OBE

photo © Jeff Gilbert/Daily Telegraph
On Saturday 28th April 2012 Dom Aidan Bellenger OSB, Abbot of Downside and Conventual Chaplain ‘Ad Honorem’ of the Order, celebrated a most moving Mass at the foot of the bed of our confrère Sir John Keegan, the eminent military historian, now largely confined to bed through ill health. Gathered round Sir John’s bed for Mass were fourteen others, including his wife, three of his children, his son-in-law, one of his grandsons, and six other members of the Order in choir dress at Sir John’s request, among them the Vice-President of BASMOM. 

Sir John was in very good spirits and after Mass enjoyed talking individually to those present, who remained in his room for drinks. Lady Keegan then hosted a most enjoyable informal lunch. Sir John and Lady Keegan’s lovely house, on the edge of the village and next to the medieval parish church, provided the perfect setting, and many commented on the beauty of the gardens as seen from Sir John’s bedroom window. 

All are asked to remember Sir John Keegan and his family in their prayers.

MONASTIC SILENCE - A HISTORY

Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch delivers the second Gifford lecture, THE TRIUMPH OF MONASTIC SILENCE, to the University of Edinburgh on 24th April 2012 in Saint Cecilia's Hall Edinburgh.

It embraces the emergence of new positive theologies of silence in the mainstream Church from the third century, and their possible sources: the coming of eremetical life in Christianity and the place of silence in the development of monasticism. 

The transformation in its use and function after the Carolingian expansion of Benedictine monastic life, and the remarkable further development through the great years of Cluny. Counter-currents on silence in the medieval West, and the significance of hesychasm in the Byzantine world.

Neither Edinburgh University, nor Professor MacCulluch, are usually regarded as exponents of Catholic teaching, but this series contains many points which will assist us to discern and deepen our Faith.

This lecture is part of series on Christian Silence, details HERE, the others, including Silence up to and including the Reformation period.  They may be found on YouTube HERE.

REPORT - MASS ON FEAST OF SAINT MARK

The Monthly Mass on the Feast of Saint Mark was celebrated in the Extraordinary Form with fitting splendour by our chaplain Father David Irwin. Fra' Ian Scott, the Grand Prior, and Chancellor Fra' Duncan Gallie were in choir with several members of the Grand Priory and British Association,  and the Mass was ably served by young Companions under the direction of our new confrere Peter Allingham, whose election to the Order was confirmed by Sovereign Council last Saturday. Many congratulations to him. This opportunity for younger members and potential candidates to join in the religious life of the Order is a very welcome development, and those, like these young men, who are involved in the hospitaller work of the Order elsewhere are strongly encouraged to attend these Masses, and complete the double charism of the Order, Obsequium Pauperem et Tuitio Fidei.

The liturgical high-point was nonetheless the truly splendid schola, Saint James's parish Gregorian Schola, who have been planning to sing for these Mass for some months, but this was the first convenient time for everyone. This skilled group, formed about 18 months ago, has undergone some quite intensive training with the monks of Solesmes, which has truly paid off.  This evening the ladies' voices sung alone, quite an unusual and delightful experience, which demonstrated not only the beauty of God's gift of the voice to these singers, but the fruits of much practice. It shows what can be achieved by a relatively small number of people conformed to the mind of the Church, and is an example and challenge to parishes around the world. We look forward to hearing them again.

The Mass was followed by a reception in the Rectory dining room, courtesy of the Rector.
The Ladies' Voices of the Gregorian Schola

MONTHLY MASS - FEAST OF SAINT MARK THE EVANGELIST

St Mark's Tower, Qrejten Point, Malta, built as one of thirteen
defense towers by Grad Master Martin de Redin, 1657 to 1660
Wednesday 25th, the Feast of St Mark, is the Monthly Mass of the Grand Priory and British Association.  The Mass, at St James's Spanish Place, will be celebrated in the extraordinary form by our chaplain Father David Irwin. The parish Gregorian schola will sing the Mass.

All members, Companions and friends are encouraged to attend the Mass, which will begin at 7 o'clock. It will be followed by a brief reception.

FEAST OF SAINT GEORGE OUR PATRON - DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE

On this day of national rejoicing, we are reminded, by email from the Coalition for Marriage, of the importance of continuing our witness in this national issue. In the 10 weeks since the coalition was formed, it has gathered 450,000 signatures.  There is now a drive to reach half-a-million by the end of next week.

If you have not signed up yet, for any reason, please do so NOW. Paper copies may be downloaded HERE.  Or visit the website HERE.  There is an excellent 'briefing' resource of what we would call 'apologetics' HERE, explaining the arguments, for use in the workplace or dinner-parties.

Remember also the importance of having Masses said for this intention.

Whatever you do, please just don't do nothing.

MEDICAL ETHICS - A STORY WITH A HAPPY ENDING

The BBC has today published the story of a young man involved in a car-crash, whose family had to resist medical pressure to switch-off life support systems whole he was in a coma. The video demonstrates the dangers of hasty decisions, and of not losing sight both of the power of modern medicine, and of the power of prayer and human courage. All these can act together to bring about what some might justly see as miraculous results. Read the report here. (The viewer below seems not to be working, the video may be watched in the link previously given.)

                

                

                

                

                

            

HOLY FATHER'S BIRTHDAY MASS

The Holy Father celebrated Mass on the occasion of his birthday in the Capella Paolina, with his brother Don Georg Ratzinger, the Papal household, the college of Cardinals and members of the Curia and their families.

The news service of Osservatore Romano has graciously provided photographs.  It might be worthy of note that the altar in this chapel is so arranged that Mass may also be celebrated facing towards the people.

As ever, His Holiness offers us a wonderful example of Tuitio Fidei in his Homily, linking the certainty of our future life to the history of the Church, through consideration of the recent Easter mysteries; we give an extract here below.
The day on which I was baptized, as I said, was Holy Saturday. At that time [1927], the practice was still that of anticipating Easter Vigil on the morning, after which the gloom of Holy Saturday continued, without the Alleluia. It seems to me that this peculiar paradox, this peculiar anticipation of the light in a dark day, could be almost an image of history in our time. On one hand, there is still the silence of God and of his absence, but, in the Resurrection of Christ, there is already the anticipation of God's "yes", and, we live based on this anticipation, and, through the silence of God, we feel his words, and, through the darkness of his absence, we foresee his light. The anticipation of the Resurrection amidst a history that goes on is the strength that shows us the path and helps us move forward. 
We thank the good God because he has given us this light and we ask him that it may remain with us always. And on this day I have reason to thank Him and all those who once again have made me realize the presence of the Lord, who have stayed with me so that I would not lose the light.  Benedictus PP XVI
(H/T Rorate Caeli)

85th BIRTHDAY AND 7th ANNIVERSARY OF ELECTION OF POPE BENEDICT

Happy Anniversary, Holy Father!
AD MULTOS ANNOS!

MUSICAL MEDITATIONS FOR HOLY WEEK

We give below videos of two modern musicial compositions inspired by the events of the Passion - the Pieta, the deposition of our Blessed Lord from the Cross; and the Entombment of Christ.  These are written and performed by a young composer in Norway, Rolando Gonzalez. They may be beneficial as meditations to prayer for Holy Week, perhaps in conjunction with sacred Silence during private meditation on the Stations of the Cross.

The composer has added the visual image of painting, the second video being the Entombment of Christ by our fellow knight of Malta Carravaggio, whose work is such a powerful aid to devotion.



A very Blessed Holy Week to all our readers.