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

NATIVITY OF OUR LADY - "VICTORY MASS"

"Sprung from a royal race, Mary shines forth to the world; the help of whose prayers we devoutly implore with heart and mind." (Antiphon 3 of Lauds and Vespers, 1962)
The Icon of Our Lady of Philermo, as she would have appeared 
annually on this day in Malta, wearing the festal 'dress' given by
Grand Master Villiers de l'Isle-Adam (16th to 18th centuries)
Today, the Birthday of our blessed Mother, the Order celebrates the great naval victory of the lifting of the siege of Rhodes in 1565, won at her intercession, known as the Victory Mass. This is also recognised as the feast of Our Lady of Philermo, the precious icon which the Knights found on Rhodes, and which has been their most prized devotion ever since.

High Mass will be sung at the Church of St James, Spanish Place at 6pm.  the celebrant will be the Chaplain to the Grand Priory, Dr Antony Conlon.
The Grand Priory's copy of the icon.
In this troubled age for our world and for the Church, let us ask for Our Blessed Lady's prayers once again to bring peace, in the words of the collect of the Mass.
Let us pray.
Bestow upon your servants, we beseech you O Lord, the gift of heavenly grace, that, as the child-bearing of the Blessed Virgin stood for the beginning of our salvation, so may the solemn feast of her Nativity bring about an increase of peace. Through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.
"Whoever you are who understand that in the floods of this age you are walking among squalls and storms rather than on land, do do not turn your eyes from the brightness of this star, if you do not wish to be overwhelmed by the squalls. If gales of temptations arise, if you run aground on rocks of tribulations, look upon this star, call upon Mary. If you are tossed around by waves of pride, or ambition, or depression, or envy, look upon the star, call upon Mary. If anger or greed or the lure of the flesh strike the poor little ship of your mind, look upon Mary. If you are thrown into confusion by a great mass of sins, or bewildered by a sense of disgust in your conscience, or terrified by a horror of judgement, and you begin to be sucked down by a whirlpool of grief or an abyss of desperation, think upon Mary. 

In dangers, in tight corners, in dubious matters, think upon Mary, call upon Mary. Let her not leave your lips, let her not leave your heart, and, so that you may win the help of her prayer, do not abandon the example of her way of life. As long as you follow her, you have not strayed from the path; as long as you call upon her, you are not without hope; as long as you think upon her, you are not lost; if she holds you fast you do not fall to the ground; as she protects you, you are without fear; with her as your guide, you are not wearied; with her favour, you reach your destination and thus experience within yourself how fittingly it was said: 'And the Virgin's name was Mary'." 
(From the Homilies in praise of the Virgin Mother of S Bernard the Abbot, taken form the Office of Readings for The Holy Name of Mary, Sept 12th. Hat/tip Fr John Hunwicke) 

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