“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

OBSEQUIUM PAUPERUM - CASTLE CRAIG

The Annual Open Day at Castle Craig, at West Linton in Peebleshire, which provides a most entertaining day of festivities and activity for a number of Our Lords the Sick, organised by Mr and Mrs Peter McCann, took place on Saturday June 30th, under considerably brighter skies than endured by those in the South. The Grand Prior, Fra' Ian Scott of Ardross, commends this rather moving video of the event to our readers, which shows a significant contribution to the necessary hospitaller work carried out by members of the Grand Priory. All those involved in the work of organisation are to be warmly thanked.


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

TUITIO FIDEI - BEING PREPARED

We do not often on this Blog publish things which do not come directly from the work of the Order, but we are grateful indeed to a post from our friend Father Zulsdorf, about a young man in the army.

While at first glance this seems to have little directly to do with the life of a modern knight of Malta, in fact the spiritual desire to be daily prepared and armed for battle is something to which we should all strive.

This is a report from a young officer on the front line, who was formerly a seminarian before deciding to join the army. As such, he may perhaps share much with the traditional character of our Order. We shall let him speak for himself. The letter is addressed to Fr Zulsdorf.
"I know you often preach the use of vesting prayers for Mass, and after seeing something today, thought you may appreciate knowing what I witnessed. 
"As a backround, I am a former seminarian who left in good faith. I later felt a calling to, and joined the armed forces becoming a commisioned officer. In my time as a seminarian, I grew an appreciation and facination for the vesting prayers (which the priest says) before Mass, but have never had quite the appreciation as I do now, finishing up my tour in combat. 
"I lead Soldiers as a full time job now, part of my job is leading the recovery of destroyed vehicles and ensuring personnel make it back to safety when things go for the worse. I always say a quick prayer as I put my equipment on, as it is the one physical thing often protecting my life from leaving this world when I am in the open. 
"Past myself however, I have been stuck recently with a sense of amazement as I have witnessed my Soldiers ‘vest’ in their armour before we head into an area we know will be dangerous. Everytime, no matter their beliefs on the divine, or how excited or scared they may actually be, I have noticed every one of them has at least a moment of reflection or invocation, as their myriad of equipment is hastily put on by themselves and their brothers. 
"I know there are many seminarians, Priests, and we can only hope… Bishops that read this site. I myself consider what I do a trifle in regards to what the Priest does as he ascends calvalry in the Divine Liturgy. While accidental when considered to the substance of the Mass, I hope all Priests realise and take the time to meditate on what is happening as they vest in the armour the Church has provided for her Soldier. We need them to build this fundamental block, it will keep them alive and healthy for the Church Militant. 
"End point, I just felt like I was suppose to share this experience with you."
Each of us should begin our day like this, whatever battle-dress our own vocation gives us. The robing prayer of the Order, to be said by every knight as puts on the Order's habit, is one which we may fruitfully say each day with our day clothes:

Clothe me, Lord, with the robe of salvation,
and may I wear the mantle of justice.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the Holy Ghost.  Amen.

For those of us the Grand Priory of England, it is worth noting that this image of a praying knight is the heraldic crest of the Grand Prior, Fra' Ian Scott of Ardross.


Please also pray for these young men and women at war.

Saint Michael, pray for them and for us.

PRINCE WILLIAM INVESTED AS KNIGHT OF THE THISTLE


At the annual ceremony of the Most Noble and Ancient Order of the Thistle in Edinburgh last week, Her Majesty the Queen invested Prince William, Earl of Strathearn as a Royal Member of the Order.

As ever, our confrere Peter Beauclerk-Dewar, Knight of Honour and Devotion of our Order, and Falkland Pursuivant Extraordinary to the Court of the Lord Lyon, assisted with the Royal procession. In the video above, courtesy of BBC Scotland, he can be seen undertaking what must have been the most pleasurable duty of greeting Her Royal Highness the Countess of Strathearn, the Duchess of Cambridge in England, on one of her first official visits to Scotland. This may be seen at 1:09 in the video.
Saint Andrew, pray for us

FEAST OF BLESSED DAVID GUNSTON M ON

The Order in England is blessed with many English saints, who act both as intercessors and examples to people living and working in our own troubled age. Blessed David is one of them.
Icon by Olga Shalamova with Philip Davydov
Sir David Gunston (or Gonson) was a member of an English naval family who was received into the Order at the Auberge of England in Valetta on 20 October 1533.

He served on the ships of the Order in the Mediterranean until 1540 when he returned to England, by which time Henry VIII had suppressed the Order in his kingdom by an Act of Parliament of 10 May 1540. David Gunston was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1540 and was condemned to death by an Act of Parliament in 1541 for denying the authority of the King in spiritual matters, and there is little doubt that he died in the cause of religion at the time when the Order was suppressed in England by Henry VIII. At Malta, against the name of Sir David Gonson in the register of the Knights of St. John, a subsequent hand has written "The Good Knight".

He was hanged, drawn and quartered at St. Thomas' Waterings, Southwark on 12 July 1541. Pius XI declared him Blessed on 15 December 1929.

Collect of the Mass.
O God, who made of blessed David a notable champion of the Catholic faith whose martyrdom shed glory on our Order, grant that he may stimulate us to defend the unity of your holy Church. We ask this 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 David Gunston, Pray for us and for England.

SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE

Following recent post, and an article about the deputy prime minister Mr Clegg, our readers are once more asked to turn their attention to an article of "gay marriage" at the Daily Telegraph, in which a poll is being taken. At the moment, rather cheeringly, the results are 46% against "gay marriage". We would encourage you to VOTE (here), to improve these statistics.

As a parenthesis to this article, our attention is drawn to a post on Rorate Caeli, HERE, in which the teaching of St Thomas More on conscience and the power of Parliament may assist us, as Catholics, to form our own consciences in line with the mind of Holy Mother Church. "An Act of Parliament, directly oppugnant to the laws of God and his holy Church..." A man of clear words. Pope John Paul proclaimed St Thomas Patron of statesmen and politicians by the Apostolic letter "E Sancte Thomae Mori" in October 2000.  His teaching is thus as relevant to us today as ever.

Our Lady of Philermo, pray for us.
Saint Thomas More, pray for us.

REPORT - DAY OF RECOLLECTION

A truly glorious day would be a fitting description of the Dorchester Day of Recollection yesterday. Nearly two dozen members of the Order, including several coming for the first time, Companions and friends came together in the delightful setting of Saint Birinus, under tentative sunshine, for the Patronal Feast of the Grand Priory, Blessed Adrian Fortescue. 

During the Mass two members of the Grand Priory renewed their Simple Vows for the second time, Fratres Paul Caffrey and John Eidinow. The vows were received by Fra' Duncan Gallie, Chancellor, on behalf of the Grand Prior, who is in Moscow with the His Most Eminent Highness the Grand Master at the opening of the Russian exhibition to celebrate the 900th Anniversary of the Papal Bull. (See the previous post about the icon of Our Lady of Philermo.) 

As on previous such happy occasions, we were the guests of our extremely generous host, Father John Osman, Chaplain to the Irish Association, and it was a great joy to welcome among our fellow guests five members of the Irish Association, present to support their brother Fra’ Paul.
The roof of the parish church of St Birinus
The Mass, and Benediction in the afternoon, were ably served by two faithful young Companions. The celebrant was the Chaplain of the Grand Priory, Monsignor Antony Conlon, who also gave the two Conferences upon the Homily of Cardinal Pole for the re-erection of the Grand Priory of England of the Order in 1557, given to the Tudor nobles and the burghers and merchants of London at the ceremony at Whitehall Palace, in the presence of Queen Mary, following Mass at Westminster Abbey.

The texts of the conferences are available as a PDF download by clicking HERE.

Blessed Adrian Fortescue, pray for the Order in England.
The 14th C Jesse window in the mediaeval Abbey

900th ANNIVERSARY - OUR LADY OF PHILERMO'S SUMMER JOURNEY


From the Osservatore Romano of 2-3 June 2012, we reproduce the following article:

MUSIC AND SILENCE DURING THE NIGHT
Music and silence are two ways to reflect on the transcendent, and for this reason the Franciscans at Assisi are organising a cycle of concerts this summer, while also promoting a special evening opening of the sanctuary for silent prayer.  
From the 6th July, in the large cloister of the proto-convent of the Porziuncola, and in the papal basilica of Santa Maria degli the Angeli, many musical events of special interest will take place. "Angelic Harmonies" is the title of a cycle of concerts offering sacred programmes of varied types, and which will conclude on 16th September with Haydn’s “The last seven words of Christ on the Cross,” performed by the Quartetto Rosamunda. Everything — the organizers explain — is under the sign of Love, by which one can be drawn closer to the contemplation of beauty and consolation, for the edification of the soul, as so desired by St Francis of Assisi. 
During the same period this year the sanctuary will stay open late in the evening. Until the Feast of Saint Francis, October 4th, faithful and pilgrims coming to Assisi will be able to remain in prayer in the Porziuncola from 9pm to 10.30, at which hour Compline is said before closing. 
But the initiatives also extend beyond the boundaries of Italy. The papal basilica is participating in an exhibition, dedicated to the treasures of the Order of Malta, that will be opened on July 5th in the Kremlin Museum in Moscow. 
The Franciscans decided to loan the icon of the Virgin of Philermo, Patroness of the Order of Malta, and the object of a pilgrimage of knights who come together in Porziuncola every year to venerate it.  (Translation by Conventual Church Blog)
This is not, of course, the true icon, but the Russia copy which is in the custody of the Franciscans at Assisi, and which is so familiar by reproduction to members of the Order.  The true icon is in Montenegro.  The copy was made by Tsar Paul of Russia, following his 'election' as Grand Master.  See the History of the Icon HERE.
The Moscow Exhibition forms part of the nonocentenary celebration of the Papal Bull of Pope Paschal II formally erecting the Order in 1113.  It will be attended by His Most Eminent Highness the Prince and Grand Master this summer.  SEE LINKS HERE, and HERE.

MARRIAGE IN THE SCHOOL CLASSROOM

We have received an email from COALITION FOR MARRIAGE, which has been sent to everyone who signed the Petition, so one would hope that all readers of this blog will have received it, but this post acts as a gentle reminder, and to fill any gaps. Please act TODAY and contact your MP. 

We post the text below: 
Dear marriage supporter,

A national newspaper today reveals secret emails between the Home Office and the Department for Education which make clear that redefining marriage will have an impact on what is taught about marriage in schools. 
We would like you to email your MP about this matter — more about that in a moment. 
Hidden information 
It is outrageous that this information was hidden from the public when the consultation process was ongoing. Officials and ministers knew there was an issue, but said nothing to the public.
The secret Government emails came to light following a Freedom of Information request. They show that Government officials were worried about how the media (and therefore the public) would react if it became known that redefining marriage would affect school lessons.
Officials wanted “defensive lines to take” with the press, should the matter come to light. One official said they knew it was a potential “minefield”. 
How it affects schools 
Under the current law, schools are under a legal duty to teach children about the importance of marriage. If marriage is redefined, it will affect what children are taught about marriage in the classroom.
The Government emails conclude with a document approved by schools minister Nick Gibb, which makes clear that education guidance about marriage will be affected if marriage is redefined.
It just goes to show that redefining marriage is no modest measure. It reaches down into everyday life, even into the classrooms of our children and grandchildren. 
Contact your local MP
Please email your MP (Click here to find his address) about this matter today. 
If you are parent or grandparent, say so.
If you are a teacher, say so.
If you aren’t a parent, grandparent, or teacher, please still write to your MP.
Tell your MP about today’s press story, and include this link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2167472/Schools-teach-pupils-gay-marriage-passed-law.html
Say you are opposed to redefining marriage and you are deeply concerned about its impact on schools. 
Also include some (but not all) of these points: 
Say the rights and beliefs of parents should not be undermined by schools.
Ask what would happen to a parent who objected to gay marriage being taught.
Ask what would happen to a teacher who objected to teaching gay marriage to children.
Say schools should concentrate on the basics of a decent education, not promoting the redefinition of marriage.
Say it is outrageous that this matter was hidden from the public during the consultation process.
 
This news shows why we need to keep up the pressure on the Government.