A reminder that there is no Mass at Holywell next Sunday (28th April) and that the next celebration of Mass in the Traditional Form at Holywell will be at 1pm on the 26th May.
Once apprehended. those who commit such heinous crimes as those in Sri Lanka on Easter Day must be dealt with using the full weight of the country's justice system. To the take life of innocent people celebrating the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ in Holy Mass is wicked and despicable.
Of course, whatever the punishment of any civil law outcome, those responsible will no doubt face a much more superior adjudication on the final day.
Pray for the Sri Lankan people and persecuted Christians everywhere.
Súscipe, quǽsumus, Dómine, preces pópuli tui cum oblatiónibus hostiárum: ut, Paschálibus initiáta mystériis, ad æternitátis nobis medélam, te operánte, profíciant. (from the Secret of Easter Day Mass)
The Latin Mass Society in the
Diocese of Wrexham wishes
all a Happy Easter.
Once again we are left speechless as we contemplate the greatness of God’s gifts (graces) to us. Jesus Christ, True God and True Man, has suffered and died for us that we might live. He has risen that we might rise.
Since the fall of our father Adam we have been condemned to a dual death – death in sin and death in body. Adam was told when he ate of the forbidden fruit that he would perish. He ate but continued to live in his body. Something did die in him – sanctifying grace. We often speak of sin as the death of the soul, but the soul technically cannot die. The soul lives on forever – either in Heaven or in Hell. The death of the soul refers to the separation of the soul from God and His grace. In much the same way that physical death is the separation of the body and soul, likewise spiritual death is the separation of God and His graces from the soul. As the soul gives life to the body so God gives life to the soul. This separation in either case we call death. The soul that continues forever without God suffers tremendously because it is forever lacking in the one and only thing that can satisfy it, or make it happy and bring it peace.
We each have to die a dual death. We were conceived in sin and therefore in death, and we must die the physical death of the separation of our bodies from our souls. Christ has died once and all for us so that we may be restored to life. Christ has risen from the dead that we might rise twice from the death of the soul and of the body.
In the Sacraments, Jesus has given us all that we need to have life, to preserve life, and to restore life if we ever have the misfortune to lose it again. All of these wondrous gifts are spread out before us as we rejoice in Our Lord’s Resurrection. There is only One Faith, One Baptism, One Lord, etc. We celebrate the physical Resurrection of Jesus as well as what this means for us spiritually – the resurrection of our souls from sin. By His suffering and death, Jesus has merited for us the gift of Sanctifying Grace; and has offered us the opportunity to rise with Him spiritually from the death of sin to the life of grace. Let us not forget that at the end of time our bodies will rise from the dead to be united with our souls forever.
Knowing that Jesus has merited these tremendous gifts (especially the spiritual life) for us, does not yet apply these gifts to us individually. Something else is required on our part for these gifts to be applied to our souls individually. The Protestants and other heretics, would have us think that all that we must do is believe. This is a terrible misrepresentation. It is true if we understand “believe” to include acceptance and conformity with all that Christ has commanded us but, it is utterly false, if they wish us to understand that it does not require any active participation on our part.
Jesus has made it very clear more times that we can say that we must do certain things. A few examples should be enough for us to see and understand.
“He who believes and is baptized, will be saved” (So baptism is necessary.); “Unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood, you will not have life in you.” (So reception of the Holy Eucharist is necessary.) “Take up your cross daily and come follow Me.”; etc ...
St. Paul also declares that he is bound to preach Christ Crucified. “Woe to me if I do not preach.” St. James will tell us that if we have none of the charity and works of Christ our faith is dead. “Faith without works is dead.”
While it is a time for rejoicing in the annual celebration of these wondrous gifts that Jesus has merited and given to us, it is also a time to remind ourselves that we must do our part also. It is a time to examine ourselves and see if we are doing our part to complete these works of Christ in our own souls. Are we “filling up within ourselves that which is lacking in Christ Jesus”? Have we put off the old man (sins confessed and absolved in the Sacrament of Penance) and put on the new man (life of Jesus that we receive in the Holy Eucharist)?
If the resurrected life of Jesus is not within us, but is still somewhere outside of us there can be no real joy and celebration in our hearts on this day. Let us resolve to obtain this joy, and if we have received it this past season of Lent let us resolve never to allow it to depart from us. May we live this day forward and forever in the One life of our Resurrected Jesus Christ.
Notre Père, qui es aux cieux,
que ton nom soit sanctifié,
que ton règne vienne,
que ta volonté soit faite
sur la terre comme au ciel.
Donne-nous aujourd’hui notre pain de ce jour.
Pardonne-nous nos offenses,
comme nous pardonnons aussi à ceux qui nous ont offensés.
Et ne nous laisse pas entrer en tentation,
mais délivre-nous du Mal.
Je vous salue, Marie, pleine de grâces, le Seigneur est avec vous;
vous ętes bénie entre toutes les femmes, et Jésus le fruit de vos entrailles, est béni.
Sainte Marie, Mčre de Dieu, priez pour nous pécheurs, maintenant, et ŕ l'heure de notre mort. Amen.
We carry palm branches as a tribute of unending joy, before Christ, victorious over death; also as a symbol of our wavering fickleness, betraying Christ unto His Death. Jesus is our “example;” let us never lose sight of the eternal joy of “sharing in His Resurrection” when with Him we now “suffer on a cross” (Prayer). In glorious language we read how the Son of God became the “slave” of man; how “He humbled himself” and is now our pledge “in the glory of God the Father” (Epistle). Even as Christ adhered to the Father, so must we despite the seeming “prosperity of the sinner” (Gradual). The “long Gospel” enables us, as it were, to be eyewitnesses of Christ’s Passion and Death, revealing His Love “unto the end” on Calvary.
Jesus entered Jerusalem as was prophesized, meek and humble, riding upon an ass. The King entered the city and was recognized by those who have seen or heard of the wondrous works and words of Jesus. They welcomed Him by making a pathway for the ass with their own clothing and branches from the trees. Most importantly, however, they welcomed Him with the salutation "Hosanna". St. John Chrysostom tells us that this word is translated to mean "we beseech You save us." The people cry out to Jesus as their King greeting Him with a welcome that is also a prayer and plea.
To indicate to us that this plea was not for worldly or material things, we read further that they cried out: "Hosanna in the highest." The highest is not in this earth but in Heaven. They are asking for a spiritual and eternal salvation. God's grace is with them, because this is precisely what Jesus desires to do.
It is not long now and Jesus will open up the gates of Heaven so that men may enter in. The Hosanna in the Highest is about to take place. The means for this to be accomplished is hidden from the view of the people. What they have envisioned and what God envisioned are two vastly different things. The people of Jerusalem are expecting a worldly material kingdom to be established that will be eternal. They expect Jesus to rise up and put down all His enemies with Divine power.
Jesus keeps His divinity hidden from them and from the devils. If the devils were aware what the Sacrifice of Jesus was to accomplish, they would rather have desired that Jesus should never make It. As the populace later witnessed Jesus captured and imprisoned and doing nothing to protect Himself, they began to doubt Him. (Even St. Peter, who had seen Jesus in all His glory as He was transfigured upon the mountain, faltered.)
The ultimate sacrifice of the Divinity is beyond our comprehension. It seems that it was even beyond the comprehension of all the demons of Hell. In crying out for His Blood, the devils sought to put an end to the good that Jesus was doing. The devils were succeeding in making people doubt, deny, and even turn away from Jesus. Many were led so far as to cry out for His Blood.
This great evil of Deicide was in the Divine plan. It is God's will that Jesus should suffer all this. From this, perhaps greatest of evils of mankind, God has drawn forth the greatest blessing and good for mankind.
The devils and their human counterparts willed and acted to commit Deicide, and God accepted their desires for the deed. They are therefore guilty and culpable of this great crime. They, however, did not nor could they kill God. Jesus' life was not taken away from Him. He freely laid down His life, and he freely took it up again.
We have followed Jesus this season of Lent in our own mortifications and sacrifices. The devils have brought forth their attacks and temptations against us. Some of us have faltered or doubted, and maybe even fallen under this assault just as our ancestors in the faith had. Let us not fear or hesitate in this assault, but rather take courage. The victory of Jesus is already complete. We know that at the end of the world Jesus will return in all power and majesty. The demons and all those who followed them will be cast forever into Hell. The outcome of this war is certain. Heaven wins and Hell loses.
The only question is: where will we find ourselves on that last day? The apparent success of the world will prove to be just that: "apparent" and not real. Will we find ourselves among the just in Heaven or among the unjust in Hell? Will we be among those who love God, or among those who will forever hate Him?
While there is still life in our bodies we are given the choice and chance to choose which side we wish to be on. The assaults of the devils, while they may appear to destroy us and beat us down, will turn out to be the very instruments that God will use to lift the just up and exalt them. As soldiers of Christ, we must not fear this attack, but rather take courage and consolation from the assault; knowing that we must be heading in the right direction or else the devils would not be trying so hard to turn us around.
May we therefore today cry out with the ancient Judeans: "Hosanna in the Highest," and resolve not to be turned away from Jesus, no matter how great the assault becomes against us. Let us not fear, but rather trust in God. He promised us that all things work for the good of those who love Him.
Mass for Passion Sunday will be said in the Extraordinary Form at St Francis of Assisi, Llay at 12.30pm on Sunday 7th April
They took up stones to cast at Jesus in order to kill Him but He hid Himself and went out of the temple. They were therefore angry because they could not stone Him to death, but afterwards they comforted themselves with the thought that although they could not kill Him they had at least driven Him off and He would certainly come no more into the temple to preach His doctrines so odious to them. What is to them the greatest evil is desirable. They rejoice that by stoning Him, they have compelled Him to abandon them, whilst they should be weeping and mourning because He has abandoned them. To those unhappy ones who despise all graces of heaven and obstinately persevere in sin God abandons them.
Although Christ never entered the temple again, He soon came into the city again performed miracles anew curing a blind man; He instructed them again, and endeavoured to convince them of His divinity and of His dignity as the Messiah. While Jesus was hanging on the cross He still offered them an opportunity of being converted like the penitent thief, the centurion and others. They were given other opportunities of repentance when Jesus resurrected from the dead; when the Holy Ghost descended upon the Apostles when the Apostles preached to them throughout the whole Roman Empire and performed countless miracles. Who can think it possible that they would have persevered in their unbelief? And yet they did so; only a comparatively small number of them embraced the Christian faith; the great bulk remained obstinate till the punishments of God overtook them. "He came unto His own and His own received Him not."
The longer Christ remained among them, the more pains He took to convert them; but the more miracles He wrought, the more hostile they became towards Him. They misinterpreted His words, contradicted Him, calumniated Him, blasphemed Him, and sought his life. They did this, not from ignorance, but from malice; they knew and admitted He wrought miracles; they said: "What do we, for this man doth many miracles?" Finally they decreed His death, delivered Him to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, and ceased not till He was condemned to die on the cross.
Conversion is much easier for Christians today. As members of the Catholic Church we are in the possession of all the means of grace by which we can be purified and sanctified. We have the word of God, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the holy sacraments; moreover, God seeks to win us by the voice of our conscience, by the admonitions of friends, by the good examples of pious persons, by prosperity and adversity. But all too often the case is that the Christian rejects the means of salvation, or abuses them by continuing to offend God. Among us there are also many incorrigible sinners. No matter what God does for them, they are not converted. Instead of being converted, they become more obstinate and therefore more culpable.
God might abandon the sinner immediately after the first sin, as He abandoned the rebellious angels the moment they sinned, and cast them into hell. But, generally speaking, He does not so treat men. They sin, not only once, but ten, twenty, a hundred, or a thousand times, and oftener; they pile up sins mountains high, and God has patience with them, and waits many years, for their conversion. Now if God, after long series of years, turns away from the sinner, and abandons him, who can call it unjust? Where is the man who would be as indulgent with those who offend him as God is with sinners who frequently offend him grievously every day?
If man continues his wicked career and is not amended by admonitions and benefits, by corrections and punishments, God forsakes him and delivers him to perdition. It is a terrible, a just, and a universal punishment. A terrible punishment; for although the sinner whom God has forsaken might yet be converted, he is not; he sinks deeper and deeper into vice, and heaps the anger of God more and more upon his execrable head. It is a just punishment, for such a sinner deserves, on account of his continued impenitence and the oft repeated abuse of God's grace, nothing else than that God should forsake him. A universal punishment, which God has inflicted and still inflicts, on individual persons, families, races, and entire kingdoms and continents. Let us ponder these serious truths and beware of arousing the wrath of God. And, as it were, compelling Him to forsake us. If we have sinned, let us do true penance without delay, and let us employ the holy season of Lent for our reconciliation with God, that it may become for us a time of salvation.
Jesus then took the loaves and...distributed them to those reclining...as much as they wished” (Gospel). We all “wish” to be fed with joy, now and forever. The discipline of Lent may sadden our poor frail nature, and so the Church analyses the causes of true joy on this “Rejoice” or Laetare Sunday (Introit).
The first cause of genuine “joy” is a sincere Easter Confession. It emancipates us from the slavery of sin. We now enjoy the “freedom” of Christ’s Gospel of love because we have been freed from the “bondage” of that fear which prevailed in the days before Christ (Epistle). The second source of genuine “joy” is a fruitful Easter Communion for which preparation and thanksgiving have been made. The soul’s instinctive hunger is satisfied by this personal communing with God. The Host and Chalice of the Blessed Sacrament are open to all men regardless of race or nationality. Humanity fed with Divinity is joyously united in a real social and mystical union. Men will then ideally work for one another in “a city which is compact together” (Communion Verse).
How did the custom of rose colored vestments become established in the Church? It goes back to the IV Century when the Roman Empress, and wife of Constantine the Great, St. Helena, presented roses of pure gold to the heads of allied countries and important persons which were especially blessed by the Pope on this day. This became known as the Sunday of the Roses. Thus, the custom arose of wearing rose col-ored vestments which was extended to the whole Church although the custom of giving golden roses died out.
Regretfully, Canon Doyle cannot celebrate Mass at Holywell in either April or May.
I have not been able to source a replacement for April (I've been aware and seeking a priest for a month) and the likelihood is that a priest will not be identified before the 24th April. Therefore, the Mass will be not take place in April.
For the May Mass, a priest from the Institute of Christ King Sovereign Priest will come from New Brighton. However, the earliest he can get to Holywell is in time for a 1pm Mass. We are very grateful for this offer and also to Father Roberto for his allowing a later use of St Winefride's.
Mass for the Third Sunday of Lent will be celebrated at St Winefride's, Holywell
tomorrow (Sunday 24th March) at 1130am
We reach the 3rd Sunday of our Lenten preparation for Easter.
When Jesus cast out the devil, the dumb man spoke. However, some people muttered, “By Beelzebub, the prince of devils, He casts out devils.” (Gospel).
In ancient times, on this day candidates were examined in preparation for Baptism on Holy Saturday. The first effect of Baptism is to free the soul from the power of the devil.
The “house” of which Jesus speaks, is the human soul before His coming, degraded by idolatry, by sensuality, under the tyranny of the evil spirit. Mary is a symbol of our Baptism for she gives birth to us as members of the Mystical Body of her Christ. Moreover, like her, “blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it” (Gospel).
These baptismal duties of “death to sin” and “life in God” (Epistle) are meant to gladden, not to oppress the human heart (Offertory), intended by God for Divine possession (Communion Verse), safe from diabolical obsession.
Converts preparing for Baptism in the early Church were examined on this day. Like them, realise that when you were christened you became “other Christs” in Baptism “by the finger of God” (Gospel). Jesus replaces the “devil” and enables the “dumb” to speak.
Impeded by the Sunday, the Feast of St. Gabriel the Archangel is on Sunday. St. Gabriel appeared to the Blessed Mother and asked her consent to become the Mother of God. His words are recalled every time we say the first part of the Hail Mary. Pray to Our Lady for courage to say yes to Our Lord when he asks you to do something important.
Last Sunday the liturgy led us into a low desert where we beheld Jesus in His Human Nature.
Today, we are led up to a high mountain where we are allowed to catch a faint glimpse of Jesus in His Divine Nature (Gospel).
By this vision of Divinity on Thabor, Jesus wished to prepare the Apostles and us for the daily crucifixion of our humanity on the Calvery of Life. This lesson is our incentive against discouragement or failure.
The Epistle indicates that the Christian life is not so much a series of commandments. Rather, it is a walking in the presence of God. “Your sanctification” is interior, “possessing the vessel” of your soul and body free from pride and lust. It is social too to the extent of helping one’s neighbour, for “The Lord is the avenger” of deception among men.
Mass for the Second Sunday of Lent will be celebrated just over the border at St Clare's, Downsfield Road, CHESTER, CH4 8HH at 12.30pm
Mass for the First Sunday in Lent will be celebrated tomorrow (1oth March)
at St Francis of Assisi Church, Llay at 12.30pm
The assaults of evil spirits upon us in this world take on a very limited number of modes. Once we become aware of these modes we are much better able to resist the onslaught of their temptations.
The demons tempt us through: pleasure, ambition, and covetousness. The ultimate goal of all these temptations is the rendering us miserable for all of eternity. These fallen angels realize that we have been called to occupy the place in Heaven which they have lost through pride; and they are consumed with envy of us because of this calling. St. Thomas of Aquinas says: "The envy which the devil feels when he thinks of a creature formed of the earth occupying his place in heaven and enjoying the sight of God, burns him more than the sulphurous flames of hell."
It was the devil that put it in the heart of Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus. (John 13: 2). It was the devil that tempted Ananias to tell a lie to the Holy Ghost and to keep part of the price of the land sold. (Acts 5: 3). And it was the devil that had the audacity to tempt even Jesus. All men, but especially the pious, are subject to these temptations of Satan.
Evil spirits spread false maxims and errors in the world. They operate on the external senses of man, producing in him various images, motions, and inclinations, which often become the cause of violent temptations; they use the particular circumstances and inclinations of men to tempt them and entice them to evil. They flatter the young, and paint the joys and enjoyments of the world in the most beautiful colours; they make old people believe that they will live a long while yet, and therefore have plenty of time to work out their salvation; they entice the vain to pride, the avaricious to covetousness, the unchaste to voluptuousness, the irascible to revenge; in a word, they assault every one in his most vulnerable spot and where they can overcome him with the least difficulty.
The devils tempt us by employing the same enticements as were made use in the case of our first parents and our Savior, namely sensuality, ambition, and covetousness, or concupiscence of the flesh, concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life. Who can number the sins which are committed by pleasure, ambition, and covetousness?
Let us follow Jesus in the fight against these fallen spirits and their temptations by first going into the desert. By loving solitude and shunning the proximate occasion of sin. Second, by fasting. We must not only keep the fast-days appointed, but in general we must live piously and soberly. For as intemperance in eating and drinking is the cause of many sins, so the mortification of the sensual appetite by means of sobriety is an excellent preventive against the enticements to sin, especially against impurity. Thirdly, let us pray that we may obtain of God light and strength to overcome the temptations; "Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptations." (Mark 14: 38). Fourthly, let us keep in mind the word of God. When we are tempted to pride: "Every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled" Luke 14:11; to impurity: "Neither fornicators nor adulterers shall possess the kingdom of God." (I. Cor. 6: 9, 10); to covetousness: "What does it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul?" (Matt. 16: 26). Fifthly, let us banish the temptations at once. A spark that falls on the hand will not burn and wound if we fling it away at once, but if we leave it on our hand even a few moments it will burn and pain us. Thus it is with temptations. We must not parley with them, but banish them at once. The brothers of St. Thomas of Aquinas sent a female into his room to tempt him, but he took hold of a burning piece of wood and drove her away.
Temptations are always presented as something good to us and it seems at times difficult to discern what is from God and what is from evil spirits. Therefore, we should consider what God had once told St. Catherine of Siena. That which is at first pleasurable but later brings suffering is from the evil spirits, but that which is at first painful, but later gives pleasure is from God. The evil spirits offer us "heaven" now and hell latter. God offers us a cross now and heaven latter.
On Quinquagesima Sunday we are encouraged to consider the blind man by the wayside. This blind man represents all sinful men. Our sins have blinded us to the light of God and to all truth. But, only those who acknowledge or recognise their own blindness will pray for light and sight as the man did in today's Gospel. Jesus' followers had just heard Him tell them about going to Jerusalem to be betrayed, to suffer and to die. They were unable to see or understand this. Their spiritual blindness is paralleled in the physical blindness of this man by the wayside.
We are all sinners and therefore blinded to many things of God. Those who realize this pray to God unceasingly for a remedy. Tragically, the majority appear to think that they see clearly and have no need to pray.
There are others that give way to the remonstrance of the crowd that precedes the coming of Christ. As the people told the blind man to be quiet in his entreaties, so it is that the devils, the world, and our own passions intimate to us that we must cease our prayers. All too often they are successful in getting us to stop praying to God. Once we have ceased praying, then Our Lord continues on His journey passing us by. Christ only stopped when He heard the cries and entreaties of the blind man. In the same way Jesus will only hear our prayers if we persevere in them despite the admonitions and rebukes that we receive from others. God requires of us, that we be insistent in our prayers. The insistence of the blind man's prayer caused Jesus to stop and have the blind man brought to Him. We, too, can imitate this insistence and cause Jesus to stop. He will have us brought near to Himself, just as He had the blind man brought near to Him.
If the blind man had not been insistent, Jesus would have passed by. Let us gain the attention of Jesus this season of Lent with an persistence of prayer. He will stop for us, just as He did for the blind man. Then, let our petition be like the blind man and ask Him that we may see.
He also desires that we know for what we are asking. The blind man was praying, but it was not for money, it was for his sight. Too often our prayers are for the cheap and insignificant things of this world that will soon pass away. This blind man represents to us the man who prays for spiritual goods, rather than worldly ones. We are called upon to imitate him and seek first the things of Heaven. Our prayer this coming season of Lent should be for the spiritual goods, rather than worldly ones. Our prayer must be insistent for the grace of God's light so that we may see spiritual truths and thus be able to walk safely through this minefield of life. Then we may arrive securely at our destination in Heaven.
To see or know the Will of God in our own lives is one of the greatest blessings. There are so many obstacles and pitfalls in our journey through life, that on our own (without the help of God) we are doomed to failure. Seeing is not enough. If we see clearly the path that God has laid out for us, then we must follow that path. This following requires another grace from God. We must see the path, desire to take the path, and receive God's help in following it.
This season of Lent, God is opening our eyes to the necessity of penance. It is a time for us to take a good look at ourselves, and where we are (spiritually speaking). Many have been blind to their own spiritual condition. If we examine ourselves carefully with spiritual eyes, we more often than not find that we are in a very miserable situation. We have a great need to do penance and to amend our lives. Our Holy Mother Church has wondrously provided the opportunity for us to do this penance with the season of Lent.
Now is the time to call out unceasingly to God for mercy. When we have gained His attention through persistence, then let us beg of Him spiritual understanding. As He opens our eyes to reality, let us beg from Him the further grace to pass correctly and safely through all the traps and dangers of this life.
Many times we turn back once we have seen the human impossibility of safely passing through this spiritual minefield. We must follow Jesus to Jerusalem to be betrayed, handed over, and die for the love of God. Too often, we blind ourselves to this necessity. The safe passage demands that we carry a bitter or painful cross. The burden or cross seems too hard, or too heavy so we cower in fear, refusing to go forward. Lent is the time to see the cross of penance set out before us, and to willingly and lovingly embrace it; knowing that with God's help we can carry it and make it safely into eternity.
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.