Mass for the V Sunday after Easter will be celebrated at 1pm on Sunday 26th May at St Winefride's, Holywell. Not later time! Our celebrant is Canon Amaury Montjean ICKSP.
This Sunday's Mass introduces the theme of Petition. Monday, Tues-day and Wednesday of this week are known as Rogation, or Petition Days, asking Christ's blessing upon Springtime planting, in the fields and in our souls, before He ascends into Heaven that he might become our advocate with the Father.
In the Gospel Jesus shows the necessity of prayer, how we should pray "in His Name," yet as we pray we should ask only for those things that keep us on the Christian road where Jesus points to His and our sign post, "I go to the Father."
The Epistle warns us against the dangerous detour of false prayer since man's religion is vain unless he be a "doer" and not a "hearer" only. "Religion clean and undefiled" is the interior life of keeping "unspotted" and the social life of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy to all "in their tribulation."
Impeded by the Class II Sunday, Today is the Feast of St. Philip Neri C., who founded the Oratorians and devoted himself to education of youth. He passed away in 1595.
Mass at Holywell on Sunday 26th May will be at the later time of:
This is to allow for a priest from ICKSP community at New Brighton to get to Holywell having been involved in their morning liturgy on the Wirral.
We read from St. James’ epistle this Sunday that “every best gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change nor shadow of alteration.”
It is essential to remind ourselves again that all that is good comes from God. It seems that the greater the good God wishes to give us the more reluctant we become in receiving it. Over and over again we discover that we truly do not know what is in our own best interest. In today’s Gospel Our Lord is preparing His disciples for the day when He will ascend into heaven. Instead of rejoicing at this good news we are saddened. It is necessary that Jesus should spell out for us the reasons we should be happy.
It is fruitful for us to conform ourselves to the ways of God, as this allows us to begin to see things in a different light than the rest of the world. All that God has said and done is good. All that God gives us is good. Even when He takes something away from us we see that it is because He intends to give us something better.
If we are even stripped of all pleasure and joy in this world it is a very small price to pay for an eternal happiness with God in heaven. We for some strange reason cling to the inferior fleeting pleasures of this life as if they were the greatest good; and often neglect or even destroy our hopes for an eternal good in heaven.
As we mature in the faith we must put off the ways of thinking of the world and put on the ways of God. We are God’s children, therefore we must conform ourselves to Him more and more each day. There was no joyful Easter morning without first the bitter passion and death of our Lord, on Good Friday. Christ has invited us to follow Him in this great joy, but it means that we must “deny ourselves and take up our cross daily.”
Not only must we accept the crosses and embrace them lovingly as perfect gifts from God, but we must also accept the apparent loss of God’s presence as He withdraws Himself from us from time to time. When Jesus announced His departure from the Apostles, He tells them that it is good for them that He goes so that He can send them the Holy Ghost. With the coming of the Holy Ghost they will receive even more graces.
So we learn that when God holds something back or takes something away from us it is for our own good. It usually means that there is something greater or better in store for us. We often see this manifested in the virtue of giving. When we give away something to help another God often replaces what was given with something even more desirable than what we originally had. We see that the generous giver suffers very little or even no loss at all. This is just considering the things of this earth; when we add in eternal things we see God’s goodness manifested even more clearly.
Our spiritual losses or separations are only demanded of us so as to make way within us for something greater. The material joy of Jesus’ resurrection appears to be lost with His Ascension only to prepare us to be filled with the Holy Ghost on Pentecost.
Our lives appear to be this continual fluctuation: receiving the good things from God, our heavenly Father, only to have them lost or taken away and then later replaced with something that is even better than the first.
In this manner we are to grow in the virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity. We must always treasure the things God has given us, but we must never allow ourselves to become so attached that we never want to let them go. We must always be willing to sacrifice them to something greater. Step by step, God is showing us the way to loving Him as we ought; maturing us so that we can readily let go of the little things of this earth to make room for the greatest goods of Heaven. He is teaching us how to empty ourselves so that there is room only for God.
The Introit realizes the cause of this joy because Jesus has completed the plan of redeeming us if we cooperate by words of praise (Offertory) and "works" of truth, before friends and "enemies" alike, for whom we pray (Prayer) as Christians bearing the very Name of Christ.
The Alleluia describes the joy of redemption as a plan of "cross before crown," a mystery indeed, had not Jesus lived it out for us. In the Gospel Jesus explains how an unbelieving world persecutes because it regards Him as dead and gone; yet our conquering joy which no man can take away, comes from our vision of Him through the wide-open eyes of faith; although (Communion) Jesus also predicts that our joy can never be perfect here, especially during persecution, since the cross of His apparent absence is the prelude to the glory of His eternal Presence.
The Epistle alludes to the first Gentile and Jewish persecutors with their usual weapons of violence and calumny, yet shows how "you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men." "Going to the Father" each day (Communion) in morning and evening prayer, "desiring things" of God (Secret) in our daily actions, receiving Sacraments (Post-communion) are the guarantee of true joy now and forever. Christianity is a religion of joy!
May 12th is the Feast of SS Nereus, Achilleus, Domitilla and Pancra Mm. In about 304 SS Nereus and Achilleus, officers in the Roman Army, were beheaded for the Faith as Emperor Diocletian found that they were Christians. Pope Siricius built a basilica over the tomb of these Martyrs almost 100 years afterward.
Later, another basilica in Rome was dedicated to the martyrs, and their relics were brought there. St. Domitilla was a patrician who was banished for the Faith at the end of the I Century. St. Pancras was martyred for the Faith at age 14 for refusing to burn incense before the Roman Emperor. Although not commemorated in the Mass using the 1962 rubrics, let us pray to the brave Martyrs who died to spread the True Faith.
St. John Chrysostom reminds us that it is a very grave thing to have the care of a church. It is a task that needs a measure of love and courage as great as that of which Christ spoke, so that a man may lay down his life for his flock, may never abandon them, and may boldly face the wolf. Pastors of souls, both priests and bishops, are given a heavy burden when they are given the responsibility for the care of souls.
Each one of us is, however, given the care of (at least our own) soul. We are all called upon to be true shepherds to our own souls as well as to the souls of all whom God has given us charge over. In this, we must be ready to imitate The Good Shepherd. We must be ready to sacrifice everything for the good of our souls as well as for the good of the souls entrusted to us.
The life of this body of ours is going to pass away sooner or later. Only our souls continue on and do not die. The eternal life in heaven or the eternity of Hell is the lot of our immortal souls. This eternity of our souls is to be determined by the life that we live here and now. If we live a good and holy life here on earth, our souls will enjoy an eternity of happiness in heaven. If we live a corrupt or immoral life here on earth, our souls will suffer an eternal punishment in hell. The care of our souls is, then, a very serious obligation.
When the world, our passions, or the devils tempt us to the pleasures of this body in exchange for the pleasures of our souls; we must be ever ready to sacrifice this passing life so that we may preserve an eternal life. When we must choose one or the other, we must not hesitate — eternity is more important than time. Heaven is greater than all the pleasures of this dying body of ours. What profit or gain will it be to us if we lose our souls for all of eternity? All the riches and pleasures of this temporal life cannot compare to the riches and pleasures of Heaven. All the pain and suffering of this life cannot compare to the pain and suffering in the eternal flames of hell.
To be true and good shepherds to our souls, we must be ready to lay down our temporal lives to save our eternal lives. We must realize that there is nothing in this world that is worth losing our souls over. We must do all that we can to protect our souls from the attacks all around us, and guide our souls in the imitation and following of Jesus. It is only in this way that we will enter into heaven. His command is simple: we must deny ourselves and take up our crosses daily and follow Him. We must continually die to this world so that we may live eternally in heaven.
If we prove to be hirelings that do not truly love our souls, then our souls will be abandoned to the devils at the first sign of danger. Quite frequently, we see that those who are severely tempted or tried are then tempted to despair and hopelessness. In this they act as hirelings and hand over their souls to the devils. In the midst of so many attacks upon our souls — it is not the time to give up, but rather, it is the time to resist and fight even more bravely and boldly. Even if in the fight we should lose this temporal life of ours, we should never give in or give up.
It is true that of ourselves we are nothing and can do nothing to gain heaven however; it is also true that we can do all things in Him Who strengthens us. With God and in God all things are possible. The Good Shepherd, has given us the example and merited for us the grace to imitate Him and become true shepherds for our own souls.
When we are drowning in the sea of temptations, moral depravity, and ceaseless enticements; let us not run away in cowering fear. Let us not abandon our duties to protect our souls. This is the time to dig deep into our hearts and renew and re-strengthen our love for God and our souls. We must see and understand that our souls are worth fighting for — they are worth dying for. Of ourselves, we are unable to resist, we are unable to win. We must call upon God in these times, and He will faithfully give us the grace to continue even to the bitter end.
His grace is sufficient for us. Let us not beg so much as to be freed from our battles, as to be given the grace to fight them to the very end.
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.