“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

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ALL SAINTS DAY AND MARTIN LUTHER

Let us rejoice today in the intercession of all the Saints throughout the ages whom Holy Mother Church honours in triumph this day upon all the altars of the world.

This year, which also sees the fifth centenary of the Protestant Reformation, let us ask the Saints, especially the holy Martyrs and witnesses of the Truth in our own Order of Saint John, which was cruelly destroyed in this land by the Protestant heresies, to assist us in our prayers to convert all Protestants to the True Faith, as in charity we welcome them into the One True Fold of the Church.  Let us also pray for those misguided Catholics, who through impulses of false ecumenism, have joined in the celebrations in honouring the heresiarch Martin Luther, and for the countless worthy souls who pray for their good, and who join us in the ceaseless prayer of Tuitio Fidei.

Let us pray too for the victims of the Reformation, and, amongst our own, those Sisters of our Order who were left starving and homeless, the Sick of our Hospitals left to die, the Poor left unfed, the tenants of our Commanderies destitute. May all the Holy Saints come to their eternal aid, and to the aid of the countless victims of heresy and cruelty throughout the world in our own day. 


All Holy Martyrs, pray for us,
All Holy Confessors and Doctors, pray for us.
All Holy Monks and Hermits, pray for us.
All Holy Widows and Virgins, pray for us.

Saint John Fisher and Saint Thomas More, pray for us
Blessed Adrian Fortescue, pray for us
Blessed David Gunson, pray for us.
All Holy Martyrs of England and Wales, pray for us.


The wrong sort of triumph - 
Luther as the Devil's bagpipes by Eduard Schoen 1535

THE ROSARY OF MARY, A LADDER BY WHICH JESUS DESCENDS AMONGST US.

THE POPES ON THE HOLY ROSARY

As we draw towards the close of the month of the Holy Rosary, let us contemplate the words of the recent Popes on this wonderful prayer.

POPE FRANCIS:
In His message to the people of Malta on the 19th June 2017, delivered at the miraculous Marian shrine of Ta’ Pinu (to which our Order was once much devoted, and which was much beloved of our late Grand Prior Fra’ Fredrik), Pope Francis recommended the recitation of the Rosary in these terms: “This prayer helps us to contemplate everything which God, in His Love, has accomplished for us and for our Salvation, and makes us understand that our life is united to that of Christ. When we pray it, we carry everything to God: troubles, wounds, fears, but also joys, gifts, our loved ones… everything to God.”

Pope Francis recounts that he himself “frequently prays the Rosary in front of a mosaic: a little mosaic of a Virgin a Child, where it looks as if Mary is in the centre, whereas in reality, using her hands, she becomes a sort of ladder by which Jesus descends amongst us.

When we pray the Rosary, the Pope explains, “we address the Virgin Mary so that she brings us closer and closer to her Son Jesus, to know and love Him more and more. And while we repeat “Ave, Maria”, we meditate on the mysteries, the joyful, luminous, sorrowful and glorious moments of the life of Christ, but also of our own life, because we are walking with the Lord.”

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee, blessed art Thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of the Thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

POPE PIUS X (1903 to 1914), wrote: 
“Give me and army which recites the Rosary and I shall conquer the world.” “Of all prayers it is the most lovely, the richest in grace, that which most pleases the Holy Virgin.”

POPE PAUL VI (1963 to 1978), in his exhortation of 1974 wrote: 
“The evangelical nature of the Rosary, centred upon the redemptive mystery of the Incarnation, has thus a truly Christological orientation.” The Jesus of each successive Ave Maria is that same Jesus which the succession of the mysteries presents to us one by one…” "My preferred prayer, by its simplicity and its depth.” “Let us be assiduous in reciting the rosary, both in the church community as well as in the intimacy of our families.

May every member of our beloved Order of Malta take the Popes' message of heart in the spirit of Tuitio Fidei; we hold in our hand a sacred weapon more finely-honed than any sword; thereby shall we defeat the Enemy.

Our Lady, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us. 
Our Lady of Ta' Pinu, pray for us. 

 Holy Michael, the Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. 
 Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. 
 May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; 
 and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, 
 cast down into hell Satan and all the wicked spirits 
 who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen. 

 Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost. 
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. 

(Translations: Grand Priory of England)

SAINT JOHN XXIII, POPE, BAILIFF OF OUR ORDER

Saint John XXIII by the late Arthur Fleischmann,
a bust in the possession of the Grand Priory
He was born Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli at Sotto il Monte, Italy, on 25 November 1881.

In 1915 he was drafted as a sergeant in the Italian military medical corps and became a chaplain to the wounded. In 1925 Pius XI made him Bishop and Apostolic Visitor in Bulgaria and he took as his Episcopal motto: Obedientia et Pax.

In 1953 he was created Cardinal and became Patriarch of Venice. In 1956 he was invested as Bailiff in the Order of St John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta. At the death of Pius XII he was elected Pope on 28 October 1958. His was an authentic image of the "Good Shepherd": meek and gentle, enterprising and courageous, simple and active.

On 24 June 1961, the patronal feast of our Order, he approved the current Constitution of our Order. In 1962 he opened the Second Vatican Council. He died on the evening of 3 June 1963.

Let us ask his prayers particularly for our present constitutional reforms, that they may be guided by a true love of the Church, and serve our beloved Order fruitfully within the long tradition of service to the Chuch and to the Poor and the Sick.

COLLECT
Blessed John, you served the sick, wounded and dying
in military hospitaller duties,
caring for their suffering bodies and souls.
Pray for the multitude in the world today
suffering the ravages of wars and conflicts. Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

Saint John, pray for us.

DO RELIGIOUS HAVE RIGHTS?

The following is an essay by Dom Louis-Marie OSB, Abbot of the Benedictine abbey of Sainte-Madeleine at le Barroux in southern France.

The Abbot demonstrates the relevance of the Rule of Saint Benedict to the daily life of all Catholics, and particularly to those who have committed themselves to a common life, at whatever level.

Don’t try looking in the Rule of Saint Benedict for the expression “human rights”, you won't find it. So do monks and religious have no rights then?  Put thus, no, none.  Perhaps only in the chapter on impossible tasks where it says that the monk has the right to bring to his superior’s attention an order which exceeds his capabilities.

But to understand the thinking of Saint Benedict, the lovely harmony that he wishes to reign in the cloister, let us take some examples. Does the monk have the right to own a pencil, or some paper and all the other things necessary to his contemplative life? It seems to be so, as Saint Benedict judges these things indispensable, but he doesn’t say the monk has the “right” to have them for his use, he says that the abbot has the “duty” to give them to him. Another example: does the abbot have the right to be obeyed by his monks? Nowhere in the Rule will you find this right expressed so precisely. No, Saint Benedict's understanding is simply that the monks have a duty to obey their superior. Do the monks have a right to their proper place in the community, and do they each have the right to receive the same affection on the part of the father abbot? Saint Benedict says, no, not at all, but the superior has a duty not to trouble the order without good reason, and certainly never to make exceptions for individuals. Saint Benedict thus insists on common obligations, and not on rights.

This all seems though to be much the same, because at the end of the day the monk has his pencil, the abbot is obeyed, and order is respected.  But it’s not the same at all, as the spirit is quite different and in fact the two formulations are polar opposites. One concentrating on duties, favours charity, and the other, concentrating on rights, favours selfishness.  In the end it’s the difference between the city of God, where love of God and of others extends right to hatred of self, and the city of the Devil, where love of oneself extends all the way to hatred of God and of one’s neighbour.

This is one of the reasons why Saint Benedict banned all grumbling in community. Indeed, grumbles are often due to the claiming of rights. Already, at the beginning of the Rule, he makes fun of those monks who declare holy all the things they desire. A monk should never claim anything at all for himself, which demonstrates that the spirit of the monk raises itself to God, and thinks not of its rights but its duties. It is the same for families. Saint Paul recalls not the rights of husband and wife, but their duties to each other, and especially those of the husband, who should make sacrifices for his wife. The same goes for the relationship between parents and children.

This is equally valid for businesses. At job interviews young people present themselves with a file under their arms full of their innumerable rights: working hours, holidays, and all the other great values of the state.  And if shareholders only think of their dividends, why should we be surprised at the vicious circle which leads to conflicts?

We can apply the same principles to the press. If the supreme rule is “the right to know” why be surprised at the lack of charity and respect for the dignity of the individual? But the worst is, since the law which permits abortion, which has developed into fundamental women’s rights, the spirit of the whole of society has abandoned the rights of the child, which is the ultimate duty of parents. That’s diabolical.


Yet we have the example and the grace of Jesus Christ, who never claimed the right to be treated as equal to God, but who fulfilled his duty right to the end. Let’s imitate Him.

(Translation, Grand Priory of England)

SAINT HUGH, RELIGIOUS OF THE ORDER

Saint Hugh was born about 1168 at Alessandria (Italy).
He became a knight of the Order of St John of Jerusalem.
After lengthy service with the Order in the Holy Land,
he was elected Master of the Commandery of St John di Prè
in Genoa (Italy), where he worked in the infirmary nearby. 
He was renowned for miraculous powers over the natural elements. 
He is believed to have died in 1233.


St Hugh's name is inscribed in a panel of the outer wall of the Conventual Church in London.

From the Collect
Saint Hugh,
God gave you the power to heal the sick by the sign of the cross.
Pray that God will give all our members
the spirit which inspired your own love
to serve God in our sick brothers and sisters.

FEAST OF THE MOST HOLY ROSARY

Today the Church celebrates Our Lady of the Rosary, instituted by Pope Saint Pius V.  On this day, through the intercession of Our Blessed Mother, prompted by the Rosaries of thousands of faithful people, most particularly the fighting men in their galleys, the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 secured a decisive victory against the Turks and the forces of Darkness. The Rosary was responsible for the lifting of the Siege of Vienna in 1685, and innumerable other later victories against error, including, in recent memory, the victories over the threat of Communism in Austria in 1955 and in Portugal in 1975. PRAY THE ROSARY!

This morning, some of our brethren will be reciting the Holy Rosary after Holy Mass outside an abortion clinic in Brixton. If you cannot be there, PRAY WITH THEM!

This Feast, the Office of which which has lost some of its edge in the reforms, is seem by the Church as a powerful weapon - the second Antiphon of Vespers reads: Virgo potens, sicut turris David: mille clipei pendent ex ea, omnis armatura fortium. "It is the mighty Virgin, like the tower of David: a thousand shields hang upon it, all the armour of valiant men."  The Church wants us to use our Rosaries as a military weapon.  Are Knights of Malta to fail to respond to this call?

The Rosary recited publicly perfectly fulfils our twin charism of Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum, as we meditate in each mystery upon Our Lord's life and sacred Passion, which Pope Benedict called "a contemplative exercise open to all." As we apply the merits of our prayers the Rosary is also a supreme act of charity.

The Devil, in his wiles, has in recent years turned these sacred beads into a fashion accessory. The Rosary is not a toy! Go out and make him look the fool he is. PRAY THE ROSARY!

If the last week of October has slipped by, and you, dear Reader, have not yet started your daily Rosary, as THIS POST, then it's not too late!

This excellent French site, the Community of Chemin Neuf in Nazareth, proposes that we say a decade each day this month for three intentions:
1) Pope Francis and his intentions.
2) World peace by Our Lady's intercession.
3) The conversion of all Muslims.
If you wish to support them by inscribing your name, you can do so HERE.

But the most important thing is to PRAY THE ROSARY!

Regina sacratissimi Rosarii, ora pro nobis.
Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.

WARDOUR RECOLLECTION - REPORT

Last Saturday members of the Grand Priory, Association and Companions gathered for what has become the annual Day of Recollection at All Saints Chapel, Wardour Castle. We are very grateful to Richard, Lord Talbot of Malahide and the trustees for allowing us the use of the Chapel, continuing the tradition of his father, our confrere John, Lord Talbot of Malahide, who died last year.

The day was led by one of the youngest chaplains of our Order, and a long term friend of the Order in Britain, Father Joseph Hamilton, who was ordained priest last year. We are very grateful to Fr Hamilton for stepping in at the last minute. He took the place of Fr John Osman who was unable to come due to illness, and for whom your prayers are requested.  


After Sung Lauds, Fr Hamilton preached the masterly talk he had given at Walsingham a fortnight ago, see link HERE, and Fra' Richard Berkley-Matthews then renewed his Temporary Vows before the Grand Prior during the Sung Mass of Our Lady at midday.  After lunch, Fr Hamilton gave his second conference, on the importance of order in our lives - the beginning of a longer series of talks which will be published in due course. This was followed by Sung Vespers, and Benediction (photographed) with which the Day concluded.

We are grateful to Mrs Berkley-Matthews, Fra' Richard's mother, for her hospitality at lunch and teatime.

Please pray also for the several members of the Order who are unwell and were unable to join us.

Bl PIETRO PATTARINI DE IMOLA

Today is the Feast of Blessed Peter Pattarini, who was a Prior of the Order.

With Blessed Fra' Peter d'Imola, who was born about 1250 at Imola (Italy) into the family of the lords of Linasio, we find another aspect of the Order, which has always been interested in matters of the spirit. He was a well-known jurist of his times, he mediated between the Guelphs and Ghibellines at Romagna in 1297. Of his earthly life few things are known. He was born at Imola, Emilia, and Prior of the Hospital in Rome. Was he the Commander in Florence? That is a supposition which takes its likelihood from the fact that, after his death (October 15, 1320); he was buried in that city in the church of Saint James in Campo Corbellini, which belonged to the Order.

Relic of Blessed Peter.
But if the existence of the Blessed Peter passed almost unnoticed here on earth, (it is enough to be a real saint, no one except God knowing it no one including the saint himself!), that was not the case after he died.
One day the brothers were preparing and adorning the church to celebrate the feast of Saint James in a worthy fashion. A high ladder had been placed against the tomb of the Blessed Peter, and one of the priests was working hard to attach a hanging to the wall. His support began to slip, threatening greatly to fall and shatter the bones of its religious burden. It was then that the clerics present saw the arm of the holy man open the tomb slightly and hold the falling ladder as it passed him.

In consequence of that miracle, which was charitable though macabre, and well-authenticated by witnesses, the venerable body was taken out of its resting place - relative rest - and placed under the main altar in a reliquary that Commander Fra' Augustine Mego had made for it, not without having set aside the miracle-working arm in a little box.

Nevertheless, it must be admitted that our saint is particularly humble, for, though we already knew so little about him, he allowed the documents concerning him - both his life and his miracles - to disappear When his church was flooded during the great inundation of the Arno, in 1557. The reliquary was submerged for several days; evidently, it must have suffered much damage, together with the relics it contained. But in the 17th century, they still venerated the arm, which had been preserved with its flesh and nails.

May we, like Peter d'Imola, be learned, pious, courageous and beneficent, alive and dead, without, however acting too much the ghost. His humility, his charity, his knowledge, are virtues which we shall try to imitate without risking error, in the great simplicity of God.

(From: Ducaud-Bourget, Msgr. François: The Spiritual Heritage of The Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Vatican 1958)

COLLECT OF THE MASS
O God, who gave to blessed Peter, Prior of our Order, the gift of healing discord and division, grant to us through his prayers the grace of striving for peace and so being called the children of God. Through the same Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

SAINT THERESE - THE LITTLE FLOWER

Saint Therese of the Child Jesus (Saint Therese of Lisieux) teaches us that all our works, however humble, must be done to and for God.  This is very helpful as we carry out our hospitaller works for the Order, everything, however small, however pedestrian, however unpleasant, is directed towards God, whom we particularly find in Our Lords the Poor and the Sick. She shows us that our prayers too must be directed as acts of love to God, away from ourselves, and towards Him, as our beloved Patron Saint John the Baptist also teaches - illum oportet crescere me autem minui - He must increase, and I diminish.

This year Saint Therese's lovely feast was omitted as it fell on the Sunday in the New Rite, but in the calendar of the Extraordinary Form it falls today, so we are not deprived of the Little Flower's particular prayers for us at the altar this year. May we strive in all we do to be worthy of them.
A friend sent the Editor this lovely photograph of the reliquary of the Saint in the nuns' choir at the new Abbey of Notre-Dame de l'Assomption at le Barroux last year.  The same reliquary which we see in the photograph above in our own church in St John's Wood in 2009.
Collect: O Lord, who said: "unless you become as little children, you shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven,", grant us, we beseech you, so to follow the footsteps of blessed Therese, the Virgin, in humility and simplicity of heart that we may obtain everlasting rewards. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Saint Therese of Lisieux, pray for us

FEAST OF THE HOLY GUARDIAN ANGELS

Pietro da Cortona
Today's feast of the Holy Guardian Angels reminds us that we need metaphysical assistance to defend ourselves from the powers of Darkness, which every day, every minute, try to drag our souls into sin and eventually down to hell.  God has given each of us spiritual helpmates, we should pray to them daily and become familiar with their protective presence always beside us; and learn to thank them for the efforts they make that we are not worse than we are!

PRAYER TO OUR GUARDIAN ANGELS
O HOLY ANGELS, whom God,
by the effect of His goodness
and His tender regard for my welfare,
has charged with the care of my conduct,
and who assist me in all my wants
and comfort me in all my afflictions,
who support me when I am discouraged
and continually obtain for me new favours,
I return you profound thanks,
and I earnestly beseech you,
O most amiable protectors,
to continue your charitable care and defense of me
against the malignant attacks of all my enemies.
Keep me away from all occasions of sin.
Obtain for me the grace of listening attentively
to your holy inspirations
and of faithfully putting them into practice.
In particular, I implore you to obtain for me
the favour for which I ask.
[Here mention your need.]
Protect me in all the temptations and trials of this life,
but more especially at the hour of my death,
and do not leave me until you have conducted me
into the presence of my Creator
in the mansions of everlasting happiness. Amen. Pater, Ave, Gloria.

OCTOBER - MONTH OF THE HOLY ROSARY

Madonna of the Rosary by Lorenzo Lotto 1539
The Feast of the Holy Rosary falls on 7th October, and Holy Church has for many centuries dedicated this month to Our Lady's honour in this mystery. There are many internet groups set up to join together in praying the Holy Rosary daily this month, and we should never forget that the Rosary is a communal prayer, to be recited together, by which we gain additional graces, not just a private devotion. These groups facilitate this, even when we are physically alone. If you have found one you are warmly encouraged to join it.

We in the Order of Malta have a special relationship to the Holy Rosary, which has come to the aid of our Brethren over the centuries in their battles against the Ottoman forces, and it is fitting that, without the need to subscribe our names or intentions, all members of the Order, Companions, OMV and our many supporters and friends, should say a daily Rosary together this month for the intentions of the Lieutenant Grand Master and for the furtherance of the twin charism of our Order, Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum - the Defence of the Faith and the humble Service of the Poor.

As the forces of Islam on one hand, and the destroyers of Christian ethics on the other, once again range themselves against Holy Mother Church, the 150 beads of the Holy Rosary are our weapon - our canons, our halberds, the oars of our galleys.  Let us bend our backs to this battle together, and Our Lady promises us Victory, as she has so often before!

S Bernard by Georg Andreas Wasshuber
at Heiligenkreuz Abbey (17th C)
From a Hymn of Praise to the Blessed Virgin Mary by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, herald of the Second Crusade:
If squalls of temptations arise, or thou fall upon the rocks of tribulation, look to the star, 
call upon Mary.


If thou art tossed by the waves of pride or ambition, detraction or envy, look to the star, 
call upon Mary.

If anger or avarice or the desires of the flesh dash against the ship of thy soul, 
turn thine eyes towards Mary.

If, trouble by the enormity of thy crimes, ashamed of thy guilty conscience, terrified by dread of the judgment, thou beginnest to sink into the gulf of sadness or the abyss of despair, 
think of Mary.

In dangers, in anguish, in doubt, think of Mary, 
call upon Mary.

Let her be ever on thy lips, ever in thy heart; 
and the better to obtain the help of her prayers, imitate the example of her life.

Following her, thou strayest not;
 
invoking her, thou despairest not;

thinking of her, thou wanderest not;
 
upheld by her, thou fallest not; 

shielded by her, thou fearest not;
 
guided by her, thou growest not weary;
 
favoured by her, thou reachest the goal.

And thus dost thou experience in thyself how good is that saying: ‘And the Virgin’s name was Mary!' 

MONSIGNOR AUGUSTINE HOEY, Obl.OSB, RIP

Of your charity pray of the repose of the soul of Monsignor Augustine Hoey, who died this morning,  a couple of months short of his 102nd birthday, a great friend and spiritual father to many members of our Order.

Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for him
Saint Augustine of Canterbury, pray for him
Requiescat in pace