Our lives are never without temptations. The devils are always ready and waiting for the opportune moment to make us fall. If we ever perceive that we are not being tempted then we should truly begin to worry. The devils have no need to entice those who are already fallen and are not struggling to rise again. We do not say these things to lead us into despair or hopelessness, but rather to encourage us. Being tempted is a sign that we are doing something right or well; and that is very upsetting to the devils. The greater our love for God grows, the greater the assaults from Hell become.
We have not only the example of Jesus in today’s Gospel, but our Holy Mother the Church presents us with the lives of so many Saints. St. John Marie Vianney, the Curé of Ars, gives us a wonderful insight into the workings of the demons. The greater the assaults of the devils were against this humble priest the more he would rejoice. The demonic attacks meant to the Curé that he would soon recall a great sinner to the path of virtue. He would often tease the devils when their attacks became the most violent saying that he welcomed them knowing that he would soon catch a big fish (sinner).
The Desert Fathers speak of a vision a man had where he saw a single demon perched over the city, but there were swarms of devils all about the monastery. This vision was explained in that it only took one demon to keep all the people in the city on the path to Hell. In fact, this one demon, more often than not, had absolutely nothing to do. On the other hand, in the monastery where men were constantly seeking to please God and to increase their love for God there were never enough demons to deter them. The harder we strive and the closer we draw to God the greater become the attacks of the demons. The further we wander from God the less the demons tempt or attack. We can in a sense then, gauge our spiritual life by the temptations that we suffer. The greater and the more that we suffer the closer we are to God and the less that we suffer the further we are from Him.
There are three parts to the Mystical Body of Christ: The Church Triumphant, the Church Suffering, and the Church Militant. We belong to the last, the Church Militant. We are engaged in a constant warfare. The battle is for our souls; the love and affections of our hearts. God wants and demands all our love and the devils only need to get us to turn away from God in some little way. It does not matter to the demons if they get us to worship devils, men, ourselves or any other creature. They succeed if they can get us to put anything above God.
Our days here on this earth are numbered, so the demons only have a short window of opportunity to destroy us. Very often as our days on this earth are drawing to a close their attacks become the most vicious because, they hate the thought of another soul entering into the eternal happiness of Heaven. As our bodies grow old and become weaker all too often the demonic attacks increase. If we have spent our lives well, we have grown accustomed to subduing these assaults so that it becomes second nature to us, and there is little that the devils can do other than intensify their attacks. We can then say with St. Paul that we have fought the good fight. Sadly though, there are few that have spent their lives well, and so the assaults in these last moments often are more than they can or are willing to resist.
In this life long battle, we must always fight. If we find that we have nothing to fight then we should really begin to question our love of God. Do we really love Him with all our heart, mind and soul? Temptations are one of the daily crosses that Jesus invites us to take up. He would have us fight this battle every day. We may find that we fall very often. Let us not grow weary or despondent, but rather look to Jesus when He fell on the way to Calvary, and get up and start all over again. It is only hopeless for those who are already in Hell. If we are not in Hell then we may still hope and we may still succeed. God is ever ready with His grace, if we will call upon Him and make use of the tools (sacraments, penances, prayers, etc.) that He has placed at our disposal.
This season of Lent let us; train, retrain, or strengthen ourselves for these battles. We must remind ourselves that we are in the greatest of all wars and we must be prepared to fight even to our dying breath. It is not all gloom and doom in this war, because if we fight for God, He is on our side. Who can oppose us or overcome us if we are with God?! Even if all the devils in Hell attack, they are helpless and are as nothing in the face of God. We must also remind ourselves that God will never allow us to be tempted beyond our strength. He always gives us the necessary grace and means to successfully fight off every single attack. We only need to call on Him and make use of the spiritual weapons He has given us.
The Requiem for Pauline will be celebrated next MONDAY 19th FEBRUARY at 2.30pm at Ss Peter & Paul and St Philomena, Atherton Street, New Brighton.
Refreshments in the Presbytery straight after Mass, since the Ceremony at the cemetery will take place hopefully the following week.
The Spring 2018 edition is now available and members should have had their copy this weekend.
Not a member? Well pick a copy up in many churches and cathedrals around the country!
In this issue:
And much, much, more. See HERE for details!
...... pray for the repose of the soul of a proponent of the Latin Mass who passed away suddently this weekend.
Shortly before serving Mass at Llay today, I received the news that Pauline Donigan, a regular at Ss Peter, Paul and St Philomena in New Brighton, had passed on to her eternal reward.
There were not many days that Pauline would not be at 'The Dome' in the service of the Church and the Clergy. Pauline did all Pro Christo et Ecclesia!
Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.
Mass for Quinquagesima will be celebrated using the Extraordinary Rite of the Roman Rite at 1230pm tomorrow (Sunday 11th February) at St Francis of Assisi Church in Llay.
We are at the threshold of the Lenten season. This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. It is a time of prayer and penance.
St. Paul has laid out for us the attitude that we should have as we enter this season. We must enter with undying Charity. In Charity we receive the truth, and believe, and endure all things. Jesus was motivated by love for us as He freely and willingly went into Jerusalem to suffer and die so that we may live.
Our Holy Mother the Church will have us follow Jesus at least in spirit as we enter the season of Lent. It is a time for us to do penance, but not just penance tolerated, it should be penance embraced and lovingly sought after.
What Jesus went into Jerusalem to suffer was unimaginable and so it was that even though He spoke clearly the Apostles did not understand Him. This was hidden from their eyes until they were filled with God’s grace.
We too often find it incomprehensible that Jesus – the Son of God – had to suffer so much. As we consider the sufferings of Jesus we are brought to a reflection of the malice and evilness of our sins. It was for our sins that the suffering of Jesus was necessary. We are asked to strive for a complete hatred and detestation of our sins, as we come to understand the heinousness of them.
With this hatred for our sins we are asked to do penance for them. This hatred though is balanced by Charity. We are reminded that we must do penance for the love of God. The love of God goes hand in hand with the hatred for our sins. In this spirit we find it a pleasure to do penance because it gives us a means to join our sufferings with Jesus and attest to our hatred for our rebellion (sin) against God.
In our sins we are like the blind man sitting by the wayside begging. The sinner is truly blind to the truth and he lives his life in a virtual reality – imagining all is well in his sins. He is much to be pitied because unless his eyes are opened to his own real misfortune he will never seek to remove himself from his misfortune.
Thus it is necessary for us sinners to imitate the blind man in today’s Gospel. We must cry out in our prayers for Jesus the Son of David to have mercy upon us. In this prayer of ours we will discover the same difficulty that this blind man found. As the blind man cried out the people tried to silence him and his importunity. Likewise, our sins and the devils will attempt to silence our prayers to God. The evil within us and the evil outside us will all conspire to silence any and all prayers that we attempt to make.
It is necessary that at this juncture when our prayers are full of distractions or we are tempted to think that our prayers are useless or a waste of time that we renew our faith and imitation of this blind man; and cry out all the louder in our prayers.
It is this faith that encourages the blind man’s boldness and importunity. It is this man’s importunity that causes Jesus to stop His travels and have the blind man brought to Him, and hears his request and grants the miracle that he seeks.
This, I think, is the method that we must use to overcome so many obstacles in our prayers and penances. We must ignore and block out the “reasonableness” of the world and the devils. We must cry out louder and louder in our prayers and penances. Rather than to do less, we must do more.
Let us approach the Lenten season lovingly and willingly. Let us embrace penance for the love of God and hatred for our past sins. Let us increase our faith so that we will unashamedly pray and do penance with increasing fervor as the temptations increase to try and stop us.
May the blind man in today’s Gospel intercede for us so that we may receive the grace of loving perseverance and fortitude in all our prayers and penances.
The Mass of Sexagesima presents two dramatic pictures.
The Epistle is a vivid picture, moving in quick action over Europe and Asia, but above all, moving our soul to action as it describes the sacrifices of the convert Paul to preach the "word of God" despite persecutions from without and passions from within. Hence, in the Prayer we implore his aid "against all adversities."
The Gospel, so appropriate to the coming Springtime, pictures Jesus as a Sower, sowing seed, "the word of God," on three kinds of soils and souls. The Introit calls upon the Divine Sower not to cast us off but to prepare us for His Word which "we have heard."
The Offertory beseeches the Divine Ear to "hear my words" for which we praise Him in the Gradual.
Today is Feast of St. Andrew Corsini E. C, a noble-man from Florence, whose mother had a dream whereupon she was a she wolf whose son had become a lamb upon entering a Carmelite Church. Her son departed from a sinful life, entered into a holy life as a Carmelite, later being appointed as prior of a convent, later Provincial, and then Bishop of Fiesole. On Christmas Day 1372 Our Lady appeared to the Saint, told him death was near. He died on Feast of Epiphany. The moral of the story is that a wolf can become a lamb by giving up a sinful life. Although not commemorated in the Mass, according to the 1962 rubrics, during Lent especially we ought to be inspired by the example of St. Andrew, give up the life of a ravening wolf, filled with sin, and become a lamb of God.
Update: The feast of St Blaise falls on Saturday 3rd Februray. The traditional blessing of throats (using the Rituale Romanum) will be given following Mass.
A Low Mass for Septuagesima Sunday will be celebrated at
St Winefride's Catholic Church tomorrow (Sunday 28th January) at 1130am.
A Canon of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest will be our visiting celebrant.
Today we are reminded of the goodness and generosity of God. In the parable given us today, we see that all who laboured received the same reward — the day's wage. So, it is this way at the end of this world, all those who have laboured and loved God to the end, will receive the reward of Heaven.
There is no one who can claim Heaven as due to himself; it is always given as a gift from God. The longest life here on earth, which is lived in the service of God, falls very short of meriting an eternal reward. The only life here on earth that was truly meritorious was that of Jesus Christ. It is through His merits that we are able to lay claim to a reward of our labours. Our labours only have merit or value when His merits are united with our works.
The men in the parable that only worked one hour, yet received the wages of an entire day, show us the generosity of God. It is easy to see this from the parable given in today's Gospel. However, the same is true of those who laboured the whole day. They are human and so, even their best efforts were tainted or stained — their work was not perfect. Yet, in spite of this, they too, received the perfect wage of the day's pay. St. John Chrysostom suggests to us that we are missing the point if we focus upon the envy of the men who worked the most, yet received the same as the others.
Jesus gave us this parable to teach us of His Goodness. We have no need to be envious of those who were given the reward of eternal life. It in no way deprives us of anything that is our due. Our mistake is in comparing ourselves to one another. Jesus did not instruct us to live and labour as our neighbour does. He does not desire our comparing ourselves to others. This is why the proud Pharisee boasting in the Temple was rejected and the humble repentant publican was accepted.
God has not given us other men for our guides; but has given us Himself to follow. We are instructed to take up our daily crosses and follow Him. We are told not to learn from other men what to do, but rather learn of Him, because He is meek and humble of heart. We are instructed to strive for perfection because our Heavenly Father is perfect.
If we must compare ourselves to someone, we must use as our measure and guide Jesus Christ — the Son of God. This is the only worthwhile life to imitate and follow. Regardless of how long a life we live, or how hard we labour; we all fail to measure up to Him. Today's parable, then, gives us reason to hope. Those who came at the last hour did receive a day's wage — even though it was unmerited and undeserved.
Compared to God, we have all come at the last hour. Compared to His labours and sacrifices, we have all done nothing. We do not suggest such ideas to lead us into idleness or laziness. This also would be a false interpretation. Those who did not labour at all received nothing at all. Only those that laboured were rewarded. We must each work out our salvation in fear and trembling. God has called us to labour in His field — we have put our hands to the plough; let us not look back or at others. Some may be ploughing faster, some may be going slower; some may have started earlier, some may have started later. None of this should concern us. What God asks of us, is that we do our best, that we give Him all that we have. How we measure up compared to our neighbour means nothing. If we do better than those who are weaker or have less than we have; what does that prove? We should be ashamed if we did not do better than those who have received less than we did. "To whom much has been given, much will be required."
Once again, when we compare ourselves to Jesus, we all have fallen short. God is not so much interested in the material or physical things we do or accomplish, He has no need of any of these things. What God is interested in, is our complete giving of ourselves to Him in all our labours and sacrifices. Only what is done for the love of Him has any merit or value. He demands all our love of hearts and minds. If we hold back anything from Him, we have proven to be unworthy.
Our goal is to unite all our works and prayers with the works of Jesus Christ. It is He that gives any and all the value to what we do. May we humbly approach eternity as the last and the least, completely understanding the goodness and generosity of God.
Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Francisco: Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui facis mirabilia magna solus: praetende super famulos tuos, et super congregationes illis commissas, spiritum gratiae salutaris; et, ut in veritate tibi complaceant, perpetuum eis rorem tuae benedictionis infunde.
Kevin Jones is the local representative for the Latin Mass Society in Wrexham Diocese. Any views expressed neither represent those of the Latin Mass Society or the Diocese of Wrexham.