|The Annuciation - Missal of John of Streda, 1364|
Chapter Library, Prague
There follows the second part of Fr Stephen Morrison's Meditation. It is a great tribute to Father Morrison's delivery, as well as to the content of his address, that although it was given straight after a quite festal lunch, nobody was seen to nod off! The day ended with Sung Vespers and Benediction.
Welcome back! In the first talk we examined the human impossibility of comprehending fully even large numbers, let alone the Infinite. With God, who is, in the words of St John Damascene, “Infinite and Incomprehensible,” it is precisely the knowledge of this (ie. the fact that we know we cannot know Him) which is, according to St Thomas Aquinas, the very point: “To realise that God is far beyond anything we think, that is the mind’s achievement.” Our only response, then, can be the wonder and awe which His infinity inspires in us, and an act of adoration of the same, perhaps using these words of Cardinal Newman: “I adore Thee, O Lord my God, because thou art so mysterious, so incomprehensible. Unless thou wert incomprehensible, thou wouldst not be God. For how can the Infinite be other than incomprehensible to me?” I ended by saying that Our Lady is the finite vessel for the Infinite God, the blessed womb in which the eternal Son of God deigned to be conceived and to grow. On this, the feast of her Annunciation and His Incarnation, let us continue to marvel at the grace of God at work in the young Virgin Mary who says “yes” to God’s magnificent gamble of a question: would she become the mother of the Saviour? Her “fiat” to the will of God effects a miracle within her, one beyond our imagining.
Text of the First Part of a Meditation given by Father Stephen Morrison, o Praem, of the Premonstratensian Canons of Chelmsford, at the Recollection held at the Little Oratory on Saturday 25th March 2017. The second part will be published tomorrow.
Prayer: O Jesu, vivens in Maria, veni et vive in famulis tuis, in Spiritus sanctitatis tuae, in plenitudine virtutis tuae, in veritate virtutum tuarum, in perfectione viarum tuarum, in communione mysteriorum tuorum, dominare omni adversae potestate in Spiritu tuo ad gloriam Patris. Amen. (Abbé Charles de Condren, Cong Orat. 1588-1641)O Jesus, living in Mary, come and live in Thy servants, in the spirit of Thine own holiness, in the fullness of Thy power, in the reality of Thy virtues, in the perfection of Thy ways, in the communion of Thy mysteries, - have Thou dominion over every adverse power, in Thine own Spirit, to the glory of Thy Father. Amen.
Welcome to this Lady Day retreat day, and thank you for inviting me! What a great feast this is, especially for us as Englishmen – since we have at Walsingham a shrine known as “England’s Nazareth,” and we are celebrating the feast of the Annunciation of Gabriel to Our Blessed Lady in that holy house which across the centuries has inspired so much devotion. If you go to Nazareth to see the Basilica of the Annunciation, you will see the famous Latin inscription: “Hic Verbum Caro Factum Est” – Here the Word became Flesh. And in just a few words, words at which we genuflect each time they are read at Mass, is summarized the greatest ever event of human history: the Incarnation. God became a man, and dwelt among us.
We are extremely grateful to The Revd Dr Michael Cullinan for the following Meditation, which was delivered during the Lenten Evening of Recollection at St James's Spanish Place on Wednesday 15th March 2017.
|The Flagellation of Christ by Caravaggio|
I’m not really very used to this sort of thing, you know. I feel a bit like a sprinter suddenly called upon to do a much longer distance. I’m used to giving short, British-length Mass homilies. Particularly here at Spanish Place, where my Mass is squeezed tightly between two others and so there isn’t any time to waste. But you have very kindly invited me – again – to say a few words to you in Lent. And for somewhat longer than a hurried Sunday homily.
Last year I said something about coming to God as the Prodigal Son did, and staying with God through daily quiet prayer. But what to say this year? I’m not one of those great guides who have a larder well-stocked with spiritual conferences. And I didn’t want to be either hackneyed, or, indeed, typecast as the tough priest got in every Lent to give them what for.
So I turned to the Mass of today. And its readings. But of course there are two sets. The older and the newer forms. As it turns out the gospel is the same. It’s the story of the apostles going up to Jerusalem, when Our Lord predicts his passion and death, and immediately afterwards, the mother of James and John rushes onto the scene and, like a good Jewish mother, tries to get her sons the best posts in the new government that she thinks Our Lord is going to head.
So today I thought we might spend some time looking at our own Lenten journey up to the Jerusalem of Holy Week and Easter and see how we are getting on.
But the Epistle comes first. In the newer form it’s quite safe. A piece from Jeremiah about digging a pit for the prophet. Familiar from Passiontide. Very appropriate. And very safe.
The Epistle in the older form isn’t safe at all. Particularly now.
|The Annunciation by Pietro Gagliardi, 1874, |
in the Church of Tarxien, Malta
FEAST OF THE ANNUNCIATION
Through the kindness of the Oratory Fathers, Lauds, Mass, Vespers and Benediction, and the Spiritual Conferences will take place in the Little Oratory, Brompton Road, London SW7 2RP. The day will be led by Father Stephen Morrison O. Præm. of the Norbertine Priory at Chelmsford.
As ever, everyone is welcome: ALL members of BASMOM, other members of the Order in Britain, Companions and guests.
11.00am First Spiritual Conference, followed by opportunity for Confession/recitation of the Rosary
12.00 noon Mass
2.00pm Second Spiritual Conference
3.15pm Vespers, Exposition and Benediction
No formal arrangements will be made for lunch. For those who wish to bring something with them, we will ‘picnic’ in St Wilfrid’s Hall. Feel free to bring things to eat and drink which may be shared. Some may wish to go to a local hostelry. The day will resume with the second Spiritual Conference promptly at 2.00pm. A donation of £10 per head will be requested on the day.
I am delighted to commend the Saint John of Jerusalem blog to you in its renewed form. The Order of Saint John exists for the sanctification of its members through hospitaller work and a common prayer life, in accordance with its twin charisms of Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum. The Grand Priory of England continues to organise regular Masses, retreats and recollections throughout the year, and to celebrate the significant Feasts of the Order, so that we may come together regularly, and may link our devotional activities with the many generations who have gone before us.
This blog exists to serve this endeavour. I hope you will find it useful.
Fra' Ian Scott
The Saint John of Jerusalem Blog, the blog of the Grand Priory of England, has been revived.
It will provide items of spirituality, to assist members of the Order and our friends in their growth of faith, as well as notices of upcoming events.
Posts will be added regularly.