The parable that Holy Mother Church places before us in today’s Gospel, awakens within our hearts a renewed understanding for the necessity of humility. The two men presented to us expose both extremes of the practice of this virtue. Both had faith and both prayed but only one was pleasing to God and only that one was justified. Belief or faith is worth nothing without humility. We have heard many times: “Faith without works is dead.” We see today that one of the works of true faith is humility.
There is no doubt that the Pharisee had faith because he prayed, it is likewise known that he also had performed many works. The problem is that all his works were rendered useless because of the vice of pride. It is so very true that we can do nothing without God – all the praise and glory belong to Him. We are nothing without Him. If we are honest we must confess that of ourselves we have done nothing. It is God who has inspired us with His grace; It is God who has given us the means and the ability to do these things; It is God who has given us the will to accomplish; and it is God who accomplishes within us all that we do. In this light, we understand that men are nothing without God.
A beautiful analogy might help us to understand our role in God’s plan. In the Divine manuscript of history that God is writing, men are but the pen or instrument that He uses. The pen is not essential – if one pen ceases to work then God will simply choose another and continue His work. If we cooperate with God and allow Him to work through us, He will do great things, but if we refuse to cooperate with the will of God, He will discard us, setting us aside and take up another who will cooperate with His Divine Will. It is not the pen that composes and makes the great manuscript, it is rather God. We are nothing and God is everything.
The Pharisee was filled with pride and attributed all his “good” works to himself. He did not acknowledge God as the author of the good that he did. He had faith and he acknowledged that he owed thanks to God, but at the same time He robbed God of the honour and glory of these works and arrogated them to himself. There are many in the world today who think of themselves along this same line. They think and say that they are good because they have done some good works. They have fasted, they have prayed, they have given alms, etc. They then grow complacent in themselves and their hearts constantly grow harder and harder as they feed the vice of pride within themselves. It is a fearful illusion that they bring upon themselves. They constantly reinforce within themselves the idea that they are good and pleasing in the eyes of God, and all the while they feed and increase their pride and thus grow further and further away from Him.
The Publican, on the other hand, feels no self-complacence. He examines himself and sees nothing good. Every good that he may have performed he sees also the stain that was cast upon the good work by his own sins and unworthiness. In this manner, he grows constantly in humility. There is no doubt that he has performed some good works. The good works, though, are the work of God and all the honour and glory belong to Him. The humble man says within himself, that these good things would have been much better if he had cooperated with God entirely, or if God had chosen a better person as His instrument.
Pride is a lie, and humility is the truth. Very often people present a false humility to attract attention to themselves. There is truth in their unworthiness, but the profession of their abjectness and dishonour does not conform to the pride and vanity that are truly within their hearts. They profess their humility before men to be praised by men. Our Lord says of these that they have already received their reward and have nothing to expect in eternity.
Pride we see is a very tricky vice to overcome, for we can be proud of our “virtues” and in this manner render them vices. This is the tragedy of the Pharisee in today’s Gospel. We must therefore be always on our guard and remind ourselves that we are nothing and of ourselves have done nothing.
Humility, on the other hand, is a very simple virtue because it is the truth. In all humility we give all the honour and glory to God. We truthfully say that if there is any good within us it is in spite of ourselves. All that is evil is our own works. All that is good is the work of God.
In this state, we no longer measure or compare ourselves with one another, but rather measure ourselves only against Jesus who is Truth Itself.
Good news from Ss. Peter & Paul and St Philomena, New Brighton:
Ss Peter & Paul and St Philomena’s Church, New Brighton has received National Lottery support* for its new project, ‘Protecting The Dome of Home: A living, lasting legacy for the New Brighton Community’, it was announced today. Made possible by National Lottery players, the project aims to complete the regeneration of New Brighton’s iconic “Dome of Home”, with restoration work on the majestic dome and main sanctuary. Development funding of £72,000 has been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to help The Institute of Christ the King, who look after this church, develop their plans to apply for a full National Lottery grant for this project.
The proposed Activity Programme includes a dementia-friendly oral history project, musical activities to bring the community together, a Secondary Education Pack and Continued Professional Development for heritage professionals, something for all ages and abilities, and all happening in this wonderful building.
Work so far has been phased in three projects under the Grants for Places of Worship Programme, restoring two-thirds of the roofs. However, concrete bursting from the Dome ring is putting previous HLF investment at serious risk, and water ingress threatening the historic fabric. During the last project, a large lump of concrete fell onto a repaired chapel roof, confirming urgency. Fortunately contractors were able to 'patch' repair onsite. This new project will cover the Sanctuary barrel roof with a membrane, repoint brickwork, restore steel windows and cast-iron rainwater goods treating the structural concrete problems, making the whole church safe and watertight.
Canon Amaury Montjean, Rector of the church is delighted. He said, “This is our biggest project yet. Please God, the next 18 months of careful planning will win us a main Heritage Grant to make all the roofs watertight, including the Dome!”
An architecturally ambitious basilica, built in 1933, Ss Peter, Paul and St Philomena’s dominates Wirral’s skyline, and was nicknamed ‘The Dome of Home’ by merchant seamen returning to Liverpool during The Battle of the Atlantic in the Second World War.
“HLF encourage Activities to welcome more people to this church through heritage. It is open all day, every day, for everyone and the Activities help more people understand the church and enjoy the sanctuary provided here.”
Canon Montjean added, “This new project is going to be the best one yet! Last month, we won the prestigious Marsh Innovative Church Project Award 2018 for our WWII Audio Tour, showing how this church helped during difficult times. We will need three new positions for the new project, a Conservation Architect, Project Manager and Engagement Officer, so if anyone is interested…?”
The Audio Tour is part of an Education Pack for Primary Schools booked via emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the new consultants posts, contact Canon Montjean on email@example.com. Closing date for applications is Friday 31st August with shortlisted candidates invited for interview on 12th September 2018.
Mass will be celebrated using the Traditional Roman Rite at St Winefride's, Well Street, Holywell, Flintshire, CH8 7PL on Sunday 22 July 2018 at 1130am
This Sunday’s Mass emphasises the theme that the great lesson of history is that men do not profit by its lessons.
The Epistle describes the history of the many evils that befell the ancient Jew after his rejection of the True God and his worship of the flesh. At the same time it comforts us that there is a distinction between temptation and sin, and that temptation is only the test of character, for “God is my helper” (Introit), Who will “save the humble people” (Offertory) that “hopeth in Him” (Communion).
The Gospel depicts a pathetic picture of Jesus weeping over Jerusalem. “If thou hadst known.” It tells of the Jewish defilement of God’s House, of their future destruction as a chosen race. As for me, I must learn from the Epistle, which was “written for our correction.” If our prayers deserve to be heard, we must learn to “ask only for those things pleasing to God” (Prayer).
We must be Christians of lively faith and learn to see “His Name in the whole earth” (Gradual), praying Him to defend us from enemies that would destroy His Name on earth or His Image in our soul. Finally, if we learn to “eat” His Flesh worthily now (Communion), we shall one day learn that His Judgments are sweet (Offertory). Great penitent,
St. Mary Magdalen, is memorialised today, whose love for God led to her conversion and forgiveness of sins. She had prayed for Jesus to restore Lazarus to life. She stood beneath the Cross, sharing His sufferings, then was given the mission of telling the Apostles that Christ was risen. Traditionally, the Credo was said at her Mass as in Masses of the Apostles. Although not commemorated in Masses using the 1962 rubrics, we might pray for the faith of the Saint and her love of God for ourselves.
A Low Mass (in the Extraordinary Form) will be celebrated today at 2pm in St Francis of Assisi Church, Grosvenor Street, Chester in honour of local martyr, St John Plessington. Following Mass, there will be a procession through the streets of Chester to site of his execution for the faith. The walk is about 2 miles.
This has been organised by the folk of Ss Peter & Paul and St Philomena in New Brighton and I think it is the third time this little pilgrimage has taken place.
John Plessington was born at Dimples Hall, near Garstang, Lancashire, the son of Robert Plessington and Alice Rawstone, into a family at odds with the authorities for both their religious and political beliefs. Educated by Jesuits at Scarisbrick Hall, at Saint Omer’s in France, and then at the College of Saint Alban at Valladolid, Spain, he was ordained in Segovia on 25 March 1662.
He returned to England in 1663 ministering to Catholics in the areas of Holywell and Cheshire, often hiding under the name William Scarisbrick. He was also tutor at Puddington Hall near Chester.
Upon arrest in Chester during the Popish Plot scare caused by Titus Oates, he was imprisoned for two months, and then hanged, drawn and quartered for the crime of being a Catholic priest. His speech from the scaffold at Gallow’s Hill in Boughton, Cheshire was printed and distributed: He said: “I know it will be said that a priest ordayned by authority derived from the See of Rome is, by the Law of the Nation, to die as a Traytor, but if that be so what must become of all the Clergymen of the Church of England, for the first Church of England Bishops had their Ordination from those of the Church of Rome, or not at all, as appears by their own writers so that Ordination comes derivatively from those now living.”
He was beatified in 1929 by Pope Pius XI, and canonized as one of the Forty Martyrs on 25 October 1970 by Pope Paul VI.
The Holy Mass of this Sunday (15th July) places before us the Christian's use or abuse of "goods," either of human nature or of Divine grace.
The Introit recalls that as we now receive "Mercy," yet one day we must stand before "Justice." How necessary then the "Prayer" for "doing and thinking" what is right. Active participation in the Mass, advised Pope St. Pius X, is the indispensable source of the true Christian spirit, how to pray and how to live.
The Epistle bids us reflect who you are, "not debtors to the flesh," by which "you shall die"; but "sons of God, joint heirs with Christ," by Whom you shall live.
The Gospel dramatizes this dignity and duty in the parable of the Steward, the meaning of which is "be wise," you children of God; use material treasures so as to make eternal friends; exercise your talents in the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, and those whom you help to save will help save you.
Finally, the Offertory assures salvation to the humble, warns the proud of their final humbling.
Christianity is not so much a "giving up" but rather an "exchange" of "gifts" (Secret), the human for the Divine, to bring healing to "soul and body" Postcommunion.
Had it not been impeded by the Sunday, the 15th July would have been the Feast of St. Henry Emperor C., Holy Roman Emperor and Duke of Bavaria, who passed away in 1024. He was miraculously cured after being taken seriously ill while visiting Monte Cassino through the intercession of St. Benedict. He devoted himself to rebuilding churches. Upon his death, he left all his possessions to the Church. Although not com-memorated in the Masses using the newer rubrics, we should pray to the Saint for holiness and generosity.
Please note, the First Saturday Mass on Saturday 4th August at Our Lady of the Rosary will be celebrated one hour ealier (10am). Future Masses will be at the usual time of 11am.
Mass for the VII Sunday will be celebrated at St Francis of Assisi, Llay at 12.30pm tomorrow.
We are compared to trees in today's Gospel. The good tree bears good fruit and the bad tree bears bad fruit. Very often we mistake good for perfection. Protestants rail against the Church because of the doctrine of Papal infallibility. Papal infallibility does not imply impeccability (freedom from sin). The faith of the True Church teaches us that the legitimate successor to St. Peter is guided and protected from error by the Holy Ghost when he teaches in matters of faith and morals.
In a similar manner, we often are tempted to mistake our failings for bad fruit and conclude that we are a bad tree. Many are tempted to turn away from the Church and God, simply because they have sinned. Sin is a bad fruit, but there is always the opportunity for the tree to become good. It is not its destiny to remain a bad tree producing bad fruit.
We must also remind ourselves that God looks to the will or the intention with which we do things. Many good things are done with an evil or bad intention. Though the world may see them as good fruit, God's judgment is to the contrary. A man may give gifts that are good, but if his intentions are to seduce, betray, or take advantage of the beneficiary of his "benevolence," then it is not a good fruit, rather it is an evil one.
Conversely, men often have the best of intentions in their actions but are judged by others to be producing bad fruit. The fruit, that we are looking to judge the tree by, is the will. The intentions that we have, make all the difference between the good and the bad.
Even before our intentions are brought to action, God has judged them good or bad, meritorious or damnable. Sin is an act of the will. We argue simply that God says that the man who harbours anger in is heart is already guilty of murder; and the man who lusts after a woman has already committed adultery. The practice of the Church in recommending Acts of Faith, Hope, Charity, Contrition; Spiritual Communions; etc. also prove to us that God accepts our good desires for the deed just as He accepts our evil desires for the deed.
It is argued that; "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions." This cliché refers not to true good intentions, but rather with empty or half-hearted "intentions." A true good intention is deemed good and meritorious regardless of the worldly or physical outcome.
Men often confuse intention with a fanciful wish. A fanciful wish does not necessarily involve the intention to pursue that wish. Many of the Modernists would have us believe that everyone, in his right mind, wishes for heaven, and therefore everyone obtains the benefits of a Baptism of Desire, and everyone goes to Heaven; and there cannot be a Hell. They have confused a fanciful wish with a true desire or intention. A true desire involves the will in the intention to obtain the object of the desire. A true desire for Baptism involves willing to take the necessary steps to obtain it.
Another snare for us lies in temptations. We are often misled to believe that temptations are evil desires. Scrupulous souls must be very cautious in this regard. They must learn to examine their consciences correctly. We have not given into a temptation and sinned unless we make that desire our own through consent. Consent may be a giving into the desire; it may be in entertaining that evil thought longer than necessary; or not dismissing it as soon as possible; or even in taking pleasure in the evil thought itself. If we are disgusted or repulsed by the thought and do all that we can to dismiss it as soon as possible, then we have no need to fear; we have suffered a temptation but have not given consent or sinned. There is no need to mention these temptations in the confessional.
The liberal minds tend to fall to the opposite extreme of scrupulosity. These souls consider their evil desires as nothing more than temptations. They dwell for long periods of time, with pleasure, upon evil. These will readily allow their imaginations to run wild and free, wallowing in their minds, in every kind and degree of sin. They consider like the Scribes and Pharisees that they have not sinned because everything occurred in the hidden recesses of their hearts and was never made manifest to the physical world. We have already mentioned what Our Lord teaches us: that they are guilty nonetheless.
The Gospel warns us of wolves in sheep's clothing; and that we must judge the tree by its fruit. We must be weary of the liberals who want us to believe that: sin is only in the physical actions; there is basically no sin at all; or that sin does not matter. These wolves are out to kill our souls, under the pretence of helping us or loving us. Likewise, we must be weary of the trap of the scrupulous or the pessimist wolves, which would have us see sin and evil everywhere. These, desire to lead us to despair, and a similar death of our souls. May we avoid both extremes by constantly reminding ourselves that virtue is in the middle.
A busy week of activity in the Tuscan city of Florence has reached another successful conclusion with the ordination of four more men to the priesthood to join the many other Canons of the Institutum Christi Regis Summi Sacerdotis (Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest).
This year, I concentrated on photographs of the priestly ordinations, conferred by His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke yesterday. Last year my efforts were thwarted by a camera thief but this year, I was more careful!
Please enjoy the photographs and commit your prayers to the new priests, deacons and sub deacons.
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.