Wednesday, 27 November 2013

J.H. Newman, ‘David defended his father's sheep at Bethlehem; Christ, born and heralded to the shepherds at Bethlehem, suffered on the cross in order to conquer.’

34th Week in Ord. Time, Wednesday

First Reading
Ezekiel  37:15-28
Responsory   Ez 37:21.24; In 10:16
I am going to take the Israelites from their places of exile and restore them to their own land. + My servant David shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd.
V. There shall be one flock and one shepherd. + My servant ...

Second Reading
From a sermon by John Henry Newman
Parochial and Plain Sermons, VII, 235-242

From the time of Adam to that of Christ, a shepherd's work has been marked out with special divine favor, as being a shadow of the Good Shepherd who was to come. Righteous Abel was a keeper of sheep, and in process of time he brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering. And who were they to whom the angels first brought the news that a savior was born? Shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And what is the description given of the chosen family when they descended into Egypt? Your servants, they say, are shepherds, both we and also our fathers; and what, in consequence, was their repute in Egypt, which surely is a figure of the world? Every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians.

David was the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, but he was found among the sheep. He took him away from the sheepfolds; as he was following ewes great with young ones, he took him, that he might feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance. So he fed them with a faithful and true heart, and ruled them prudently with all his power. When he was brought before Saul, he gave an account of how a lion and a bear took a lamb out of the flock, and he went after them, and slew them both, and delivered it. Such were the shepherds of old times, men at once of peace and of war; men of Simplicity, indeed, plain men living in tents, the meekest of men, yet not easy; indolent men, Sitting in green meadows, and by cool streams, but men of rough duties, who were under the necessity to suffer, while they had the opportunity to do exploits.

And if such were the figures, how much more was the Truth itself, the Good Shepherd, when he came, both guileless and heroic? If shepherds are men of simple lives and obscure fortunes, uncorrupted and unknown in kings' courts and marts of commerce, how much more he who was the carpenter's son, who was meek and lowly of heart, who did not strive nor cry, who went about doing good, who when he was reviled, reviled not again, and who was despised and rejected of men? If, on the other hand, they are men of suffering and trial, how much more so he who was a man of sorrows, and who laid down his life for the sheep?

David defended his father's sheep at Bethlehem; Christ, born and heralded to the shepherds at Bethlehem, suffered on the cross in order to conquer.

My brethren, we say daily, We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Again, we say, we have erred and strayed from your ways, like lost sheep: let us never forget these truths; let us never forget, on the one hand, that we are sinners; let us never forget, on the other hand, that Christ is our guide and guardian. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He is a light unto our ways, and a lantern unto our paths. He is our shepherd, and the sheep know his voice. If we are his sheep, we shall hear it, recognize it, and obey it. Let us beware of not following when he goes before: He  goes before, and his sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Let us beware of receiving his grace in vain.

Sermon 16. The Shepherd of Our Souls

"I am the good Shepherd: the good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep." John x. 11. 
Sermon 16. The Shepherd of Our Souls
"I am the good Shepherd: the good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep." John x. 11.
{230} OUR Lord here appropriates to Himself the title under which He had been foretold by the Prophets. "David My servant shall be king over them," says Almighty God by the mouth of Ezekiel: "and they all shall have one Shepherd." And in the book of Zechariah, "Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, and against the man that is My fellow, saith the Lord of Hosts; smite the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered." And in like manner St. Peter speaks of our returning "to the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls." [Ezek. xxxvii. 24. Zech. xiii. 7. 1 Pet. ii. 25.]  

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

34th Wed. Luke 21:18 "not a hair of your head"

Mass Intro:
On Tuesday, 26 November 2013,
From: Nivard...

34 Wed 27 Nov 2013
Lk 21_12-19
"Not a hair of your head will perish"
   What is Jesus' response to hostility and persecution?
   Only love can defeat prejudice and hatred.
   God's love purifies our heart and mind of all that would divide and tear people apart.
   Knowing and loving God's truth is essential for overcoming evil.
   Jesus promises to give us supernatural strength and wisdom to take a stand and witness to the truth and love of Jesus.    
   The gospel is good news for the whole world because it is God's eternal word of truth, love and pardon.
   Jesus has won the victory for us through the cross and his rising from the grave.
   That is why the gospel has power to set people free from sin and destruction.
 Father, by the atoning death of your Son you have redeemed the world. Fill us with joyful hope and boldness to witness the truth of your love for sinners through Christ our Lord.  
Του λόγοι Λόγου
‘words of THE WORD’
ponders the Sacred Scriptures, the Sacred Liturgy, Fathers of the Church and RCIA
that by the grace of
God the Holy Spirit
all may encounter
God the Son, Jesus the Incarnate Word
and be drawn in love as adopted children to
God our Father Who is Merciful Love. 

Voices ever ancient, ever new. Sunday-Week33-2013.

“... but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.” (Luke 21:18)

Saint Augustine of Hippo comments on this verse from today’s Gospel:

“We should have no doubt that our mortal flesh also will rise again at the end of the world. This is the Christian faith. This is the Catholic faith. This is the apostolic faith. Believe Christ when he says, “Not a hair of your head shall perish.” Putting aside all unbelief, consider how valuable you are. How can our Redeemer despise any person when he cannot despise a hair of that person’s head? How are we going to doubt that he intends to give eternal life to our soul and body? He took on a soul and body in which to die for us, which he laid down for us when he died and which he took up again that we might not fear death.” (Sermon 214)

Hubert van Zeller, ‘This is a tremendous vision. Somehow the idea of sound is better expressed in Ezekiel than in other sacred writers - Nahum not excepted. Between the sky-cracking claps of thunder we can hear the rattle of bones as they come together with the impact of obedience.’

Monastic Office of Vigils,
First Reading
Ezekiel 37:1-14
Responsory          Ez 37:12-13; In 11:25
I am going to open your graves and raise you up from them. + Then you will know that I am the Lord.
V. I am the resurrection and the life; those who believe in me, even if they die, shall live. + Then you will ...

Second Reading
From Ezekiel, Man of Signs, by Hubert van Zeller, pp. 113-115 

This is a tremendous vision. Somehow the idea of sound is better expressed in Ezekiel than in other sacred writers - Nahum not excepted. Between the sky-cracking claps of thunder we can hear the rattle of bones as they come together with the impact of obedience. Not an empty socket, not a finger-bone out of place. There is no mention of rain but we feel sure that a downpour followed close upon the thunder and the earthquakes; we seem to hear the water beating down upon the parched valley until eddies of it swirl and bubble round the ankles of an innumerable army of hitherto dry skeletons. But only for a minute are they skeletons. And I saw, and behold the sinews and flesh came upon them, and the skin was stretched out over them ... but there was no spirit in them.
There they stood, these bodies, simply waiting to become alive. The spirit only was wanting. Surely there is a link here between Ezekiel and Genesis? It is as if a repetition of God's creative act were needed for the restoration of the body of the faithful ... the material is prepared, but for the making of the new human being there must be the breath of God. And is there not also a purely symbolical interpretation to the progressive bestowal of life? Often enough there is the body of religion when at the same time the soul is lacking: knowledge has seen to it that every sinew is in position and that there is skin to cover the frame, but that is as far as it has got. Love is absent. And it is the spirit of Love - God's Spirit - which gives life.

And I prophesied as he had commanded me, and the spirit came into them and they lived. A rush of air swept down upon the lifeless bodies and they lived. We can imagine a great silence following. We see a great host of people standing silent before the face of God. "Can bones live again?" we imagine the Lord repeating to his prophet in the stillness. "Lord, you know" would be the whispered reply, and this time would be added - "that they can."

The whole thing is so short: eleven verses. And what are not its possible applications? It can stand for dead souls as well as dead races; it can apply to an ideal that has been scattered and wasted as well as to a faith that has dried up in the valley of the soul. It can apply to a devotion or a friendship or a project or a prayer; it can apply to anything that has petered out under the glare of the sun. But the bones can live again. We may not say, as Judah said, We are dried up, our hope is lost. Our hope is not lost, we are not cut off permanently.

Thus when we hear the invocation "send forth your Spirit and they shall be created, and you will renew the face of the earth" we can recall the vision of Ezekiel. We can recall also its fulfilment. God did send forth his Spirit, his people were created anew, and face of the earth smiled beneath the sunshine of his favour.

Responsory          Ps 104:30; Wis 1:7
When you send forth your Spirit they are created, and + you renew the face of the earth.
V. The Spirit of the Lord has filled the whole world. + You renew

Monday, 25 November 2013

Augustine"For the Church without spot or wrinkle, gathered from every nation and des­tined to reign eternally with Christ, is itself the land of the blessed, the land of the living."

Vision of Ezechiel - Raphael
34th Week Ord Time Monday  2013

First Reading
Responsory            Ez 11:19-20.19
I shall take away the heart of stone from their bodies, and give them
a heart of flesh, so that they may walk in my ways; + and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
V. I will give them a new heart, and put a new spirit within them. + And they shall ...

Second Reading
From the treatise Teaching Christianity by Saint Augustine
De Doctrina Christiana III,, 48-49: CCL 32, 108-110

The Lord said: I mean to display the holiness of my great name, which was profaned among the nations, which you profaned in their midst, and the nations will know that I am the Lord. Let the reader therefore take note of how a single people will be superseded and all peoples added to it, for he continues: when, through you, I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.

And I shall take you out of the nations and gather you from every land, and bring you to your own land; and I shall pour clean water over you, and cleanse you of all your idolatry, and I shall purify you and give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you.
Now no one who looks into the matter can doubt that this is a prophecy of the New Testament, which applies not only to the remnant of that one people, of whom it is written elsewhere:  
Even if Israel should have as many descendants as there are grains of sand on the seashore, a remnant will be saved, but also to the other nations according to the promise made to their ancestors who are also our ancestors; and that it is also a promise of those waters of regeneration that we now see imparted to all nations. Thus the spiritual Israel is composed not of one people but of all peoples, who were promised to the patriarchs in their offspring, which is Christ.

This spiritual Israel is therefore distinguished from the natural Israel, which consists of one nation, by newness of grace, not nobility of descent, and by sentiments rather than race. But while the sublime prophecy speaks of or to the natural Israel, it secretly refers to the spiritual Israel, in such a way that while speaking of or to the latter it still seems to be speaking of or to the former. It does this not from an unfriendly attitude that begrudges us an understanding of the scriptures, but rather, like a physician, to exercise our understanding.

Therefore, when the Lord says: And I shall bring you to your own land, and a little later, more or less repeating himself, And you will live in the land that I gave to your ancestors, we ought to understand this not literally as though it referred to the natural Israel, but spiritually, of the spiritual Israel. For the Church without spot or wrinkle, gathered from every nation and des­tined to reign eternally with Christ, is itself the land of the blessed, the land of the living. We are to understand that it was given to our ancestors when it was promised to them by the certain and immutable will of God; for what they believed would be given in its own time was for them, on account of the firmness of the promise and predetermination, the same as if it were already given. Writing to Timothy about the grace given to the saints, the Apostle says: not for any merit of ours but for his own purpose and by the grace granted to us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, and now revealed by the coming of our Savior. He speaks of the grace as given when those who were to receive it did not yet exist, because by the arrangement and predetermination of God what was to take place in its own time, or, as the Apostle says, be revealed, had already been accomplished.

Responsory     Ez 36:23.25
I mean to display the holiness of my great name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you have gone. + When through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes, then they will know that I am the Lord.
V. I shall pour clean water over you, and cleanse you of all your defilement. + When through you ...

HE AND i "Lord, I am here before You like the dry ground upon which the prophet called down the dew. " 25 Nov 1948

25th November is the Greeting Birthday for Sr. Noreen.
And it was a happy alighting on the sentences from 'HE AND i', date of 25 November.
The French manuscript of Gabrielle Bossis has a better Shakespearean dialogue by phrases. 

HE AND i, Gabrielle 1948  
November 25  -  "Lord, I am here before You like the dry ground upon which the prophet called down the dew. " 
 "I am the Prophet and I am the Dew. My Word is meat and drink, have you noticed? It offers itself to you; you accept it and immediately it begins to grow. This is the Dew that falls from heaven. What a banquet, My child! What new transports of delight! Set off again. You understand: no halting place. Run straight to God as you used to run along the road to meet your father. How happy he was, this earthly father. . . Your Father in heaven is more so,for eagerness is also love  -  love, faith and hope. Do you think that God would turn a deaf ear to the calls of His darling child? He will multiply His gifts, for His treasures are as great as His desire to bestow them. Poor little ones, you have such a false idea of your Saviour. Do you think He would redeem you and then abandon you? Don't set limits to your confidence. He sets no limits to His favours. Hunger for God and you will receive. If you don't call Him, how can He come? Do you go to see people who don't want you?"
"Never stop coming, Lord, I never stop wanting You. " 

 "And when you call Me, believe that I come. "

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe


Sunday, 24 November 2013
Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe


From a notebook On Prayer by Origen, priest
(Cap. 25: PG 11, 495-499)

                      Your kingdom come    

The kingdom of God, in the words of our Lord and Savior, does not come for all to see; nor shall they say: Behold, here it is, or behold, there it is; but the kingdom of God is within us, for the word of God is very near, in our mouth and in our heart. Thus it is clear that he who prays for the coming of God’s kingdom prays rightly to have it within himself, that there it might grow and bear fruit and become perfect. For God reigns in each of his holy ones. Anyone who is holy obeys the spiritual laws of God, who dwells in him as in a well-ordered city. The Father is present in the perfect soul, and with him Christ reigns, according to the words: We shall come to him and make our home with him.

Thus the kingdom of God within us, as we continue to make progress, will reach its highest point when the Apostle’s words are fulfilled, and Christ, having subjected all his enemies to himself, will hand over his kingdom to God the Father, that God may be all in all. Therefore, let us pray unceasingly with that disposition of soul which the Word may make divine, saying to our Father who is in heaven: Hallowed be your name; your kingdom come.

Note this too about the kingdom of God. It is not a sharing of justice with iniquity, nor a society of light with darkness, nor a meeting of Christ with Belial. The kingdom of God cannot exist alongside the reign of sin.

Therefore, if we wish God to reign in us, in no way should sin reign in our mortal body; rather we should mortify our members which are upon the earth and bear fruit in the Spirit. There should be in us a kind of spiritual paradise where God may walk and be our sole ruler with his Christ. In us the Lord will sit at the right hand of that spiritual power which we wish to receive. And he will sit there until all his enemies who are within us become his footstool, and every principality, power and virtue in us is cast out.

All this can happen in each one of us, and the last enemy, death, can be destroyed; then Christ will say in us: O death, where is your sting? O hell, where is your victory? And so what is corruptible in us must be clothed with holiness and incorruptibility; and what is mortal must be clothed, now that death has been conquered, in the Father’s immortality. Then God will reign in us, and we shall enjoy even now the blessings of rebirth and resurrection.

Revelation 11:15; Psalm 22:28-29

The kingdom of this world belongs to our Lord and his Christ,
and he shall reign for ever and ever.

All the families of nations shall bow down before him,
for the Lord is our king.
And he shall reign for ever and ever.

If the Optional Vigil is not celebrated, the Office continues with the Te Deum.

St. Columban. FAR EAST, Columban Missionaries

Community Chronicle.
On St. Columban's day we prayed for Fr. Jim McGlynn and Fr. Eddie Sherry and wonderful Columban Missionaries. 
Fr. Jim used to visit the family on breaks from Australia. 
Fr. Eddie was the brother of our Fr. Michael who Edited the FAR EAST magazine in Australia. During his home leave, and in Europe searched for Old Master painting for the Columban Calendar.
Samuel Mulcahy was a Columban Seminarian in Dalgan. He was directed to find his vocation to Roscre Abbey. 
Samuel became, novice Br. Columban. In the end he became the first Abbot of Nunraw Abbey in Scotland.

From the Director - God became one of us
The Gospels relate that Jesus was born in a stable, there was no room at the inn. Today we know there is no room in the world for millions of people seeking a better life. Part of our human condition is that we are both merciful and merciless. (more)
Saint Columbanus Abbot
November 23 - Optional Memory
Ireland c. 525-530 - Bobbio, Piacenza, November 23 615
Columba is one of the representatives of the monastic world that give rise to the 'pilgrimage pro Domino', which was one of the factors of cultural renewal and evangelization of Europe. From Ireland passed (c. 590) in France, Switzerland and Northern Italy, creating and organizing community church and founded several monasteries, some of which, for example Luxeuil and Bobbio, famous for the liturgical books of the same name. The monastic rule that encodes its spirituality is marked by great precision and intends to associate with the monks in the sacrifice of Christ. His practice has influenced the new monastic penitential discipline of the West. (Message Rom)
Etymology: Columban = mild, delicate
Emblem: Pastoral Staff
Martyrology: St. Columba, Abbot, that of Irish origin, who became a pilgrim for Christ in the Gospel to educate the people of France, he founded along with many other monasteries that of Luxeuil, which he ruled in strict observance of the rule; forced to ' exile, crossed the Alps and founded the monastery of Bobbio in Napa, famous for its discipline and studies, where well-deserving of the Church, he died in peace, and his body was laid on this day.

2014-Columban Art-Calendar
For the Memorial of Saint Columban:


From an instruction by Saint Columban, abbot
(Instr. 11, 1-2; Opera, Dublin, 1957, 106-107)

Man’s likeness to God, if preserved, imparts high dignity

Moses wrote in the law: God made man in his image and likeness. Consider, I ask you, the dignity of these words. God is all-powerful. We cannot see or understand him, describe or assess him. Yet he fashioned man from clay and endowed him with the nobility of his own image. What has man in common with God? Or earth with spirit?—for God is a spirit. It is a glorious privilege that God should grant men his eternal image and the likeness of his character. Man’s likeness to God, if he preserves it, imparts high dignity.

If man applies the virtues planted in his soul to the right purpose, he will be like God. God’s commands have taught us to give him back the virtues he sowed in us in our first innocence. The first command is to love our Lord with our whole heart because he loved us first from the beginning, before our existence. Loving God renews his image in us. Anyone who loves God keeps his commandments, for he said: If you love me, keep my commandments. His command is that we love each other. In his own words: This is my command, that you love each other as I also have loved you.

True love is shown not merely in word, but in deed and in truth. So we must turn back our image undefiled and holy to our God and Father, for he is holy; in the words of Scripture: Be holy, for I am holy. We must restore his image with love, for he is love; in John’s words: God is love. We must restore it with loyalty and truth, for he is loyal and truthful. The image we depict must not be that of one who is unlike God; for one who is harsh and irascible and proud would display the image of a despot.

Let us not imprint on ourselves the image of a despot, but let Christ paint his image in us with his words: My peace I give you, my peace I leave with you. But the knowledge that peace is good is of no benefit to us if we do not practice it. The most valuable objects are usually the most fragile; costly things require the most careful handling. Particularly fragile is that which is lost by wanton talk and destroyed with the slightest injury of a brother. Men like nothing better than discussing and minding the business of others, passing superfluous comments at random and criticizing people behind their backs. So those who cannot say: The Lord has given me a discerning tongue, that I may with a word support him who is weary should keep silent, or if they do say anything it should promote peace.

Luke 6:47, 48; Sirach 25:15

Anyone who comes to me
and listens to my words and acts on them,
I will show you what he is like.
 He is like a man who while building his house
dug deeply and laid his foundation on rock.

Happy is the man who fears the Lord.
Who is his equal?
Who can compare with him?
 He is like a man who while building his house
dug deeply and laid his foundation on rock.

Let us pray. 
O God, who in Saint Columban
wonderfully joined the work of evangelization
to zeal for the monastic life,
grant, we pray,
that through his intercession and example
we may strive to seek you above all things
and to bring increase to your faithful people.
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.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Fr. Raymond. Diamond Jubilee. 'Sing in Jubilation', St. Mechtild, St Cecilia, St. Augustine

Community Chronicle: 
Fr. Raymond Jaconelli, his brother Louis
with son Raymond and grandson Sergio.

The community and guests joined in the Diamond  Celebration  of Fr. Raymond's monastic first profession.
Recently, Raymond, Abbot Emeritus, attended another celebration marking the important  event of the Church, the Ordination of the new Archbishop, Leo Cushley.
All these 60 years, Raymond has continues to be counted on with the Organ.
On the 19th. November, St. Mechtild reminded of
the “Nightingale of Helfta”', gifted with a beautiful voice, also possessed a special talent for rendering the solemn and sacred music over which she presided as domna cantrix.
Today, 22nd. November, Saint Cecilia, and the echoes of St. Augustine resound in the Church's life of music, 'Sing to God in Jubilation'.


St. Mechtilde - Musical and spiritual gifts

She was famous for her musical talents and was called the “Nightingale of Helfta”.[3] Gifted with a beautiful voice, Mechtilde also possessed a special talent for rendering the solemn and sacred music over which she presided as domna cantrix. All her life she held this office and trained the choir with indefatigable zeal. Indeed, divine praise was the keynote of her life as it is of her book; in this she never tired, despite her continual and severe physical sufferings, so that in His revelations Christ was wont to call her His "nightingale". Souls thirsting for consolation or groping for light sought her advice; learned Dominicans consulted her on spiritual matters. At the beginning of her own mystic life it may have been from St. Mechtilde that St. Gertrude the Great learnt that the marvellous gifts lavished upon her were from God.[1]

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Mechthilde and Gertrude of Helfta, became ardent devotees and promoters of Jesus’ heart after it was the subject of many of their visions. The idea of hearing the heartbeat of God was very important to medieval saints who nurtured devotion to the Sacred Heart. Women such as Saint Mechtilde and Saint Gertrude (d. 1302) perceived Jesus’ heart as the breast of a mother. Just as a mother gives milk to nourish her child, so Jesus in the Eucharist gives us his life blood.[7]

Devotion of the Three Hail Marys

Mechtilde was distressed over her eternal salvation and prayed that the Most Holy Virgin would assist her at the hour of death. The Blessed Virgin appeared to her and reassured her, saying: "Yes, I will! But I wish, for your part, that you recite three Hail Marys every day, remembering in the first the power received from the Eternal Father, in the second the wisdom received from the Son, with the third one the love that has filled the Holy Spirit". The Blessed Virgin taught her to pray and to understand especially how the Three Hail Marys honour the three persons of the Blessed Trinity.
Paragraphs from Wikipedia

Univeralis Office of Readings.
Second Reading
A commentary of St Augustine on Psalm 32

                                  Sing to God in jubilation
Praise the Lord with the lyre, make melody to him with the harp of ten strings! Sing to him a new song. Rid yourself of what is old and worn out, for you know a new song. A new man, a new covenant; a new song. This new song does not belong to the old man. Only the new man learns it: the man restored from his fallen condition through the grace of God, and now sharing in the new covenant, that is, the kingdom of heaven. To it all our love now aspires and sings a new song. Let us sing a new song not with our lips but with our lives.
  Sing to him a new song, sing to him with joyful melody. Every one of us tries to discover how to sing to God. You must sing to him, but you must sing well. He does not want your voice to come harshly to his ears, so sing well, brothers!
  If you were asked, “Sing to please this musician,” you would not like to do so without having taken some instruction in music, because you would not like to offend an expert in the art. An untrained listener does not notice the faults a musician would point out to you. Who, then, will offer to sing well for God, the great artist whose discrimination is faultless, whose attention is on the minutest detail, whose ear nothing escapes? When will you be able to offer him a perfect performance that you will in no way displease such a supremely discerning listener?
  See how he himself provides you with a way of singing. Do not search for words, as if you could find a lyric which would give God pleasure. Sing to him “with songs of joy.” This is singing well to God, just singing with songs of joy.
  But how is this done? You must first understand that words cannot express the things that are sung by the heart. Take the case of people singing while harvesting in the fields or in the vineyards or when any other strenuous work is in progress. Although they begin by giving expression to their happiness in sung words, yet shortly there is a change. As if so happy that words can no longer express what they feel, they discard the restricting syllables. They burst out into a simple sound of joy, of jubilation. Such a cry of joy is a sound signifying that the heart is bringing to birth what it cannot utter in words.
  Now, who is more worthy of such a cry of jubilation than God himself, whom all words fail to describe? If words will not serve, and yet you must not remain silent, what else can you do but cry out for joy? Your heart must rejoice beyond words, soaring into an immensity of gladness, unrestrained by syllabic bonds. Sing to him with jubilation.
My lips speak your praise, your glory all the day long. When I sing to you, my lips shall rejoice.
I will rejoice in you and be glad, and sing psalms to your name, O Most High. When I sing to you, my lips shall rejoice.

Let us pray.
Lord God, in your mercy listen to our prayers,
  which we offer you under the patronage of Saint Cecilia.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
  who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
  one God, for ever and ever.

Monastic Office of Vigils

St. Mechtild of Hackeborn - 19th November.

St Mechtild of Hackeborn was born about the year 1240. She entered the cloister school of the same monastery where her sister, Gertrude of Hackeborn, was already a member of the community. It was her sister who supervised Mechtild's education. Mechtild had an amiable character, she was highly gifted in mind and body, and possessed of an excellent voice. The monastery of Helfta, under the influence of Mechtild's sister who had become abbess, grew to be a centre of learning, culture and profound spirituality. Mechtild joined the community, following in the footsteps of her elder sister, and she was put in charge of the cloister school.
It fell to Mechtild to teach the other Gertrude – Gertrude the Great –who was fifteen years her junior. They became close friends and it was Mechtild who was to direct the younger Gertrude in the ways of the Spirit when the latter eventually entered the monastery. Gertrude was 1ater to write of Mechtild: "There has never before been anyone like her in our monastery and, I fear, there never will be again."

It is through Gertrude the Great and another nun in the monastery that we have a record of Mechtild's spiritual teaching and mystical experiences. Gertrude had, unknown to Mechtild, been writing down assiduously all that Mechtild told her about her experiences in prayer. Mechtild was alarmed when she discovered this. But she was reassured by our Lord that all this had happened by his will and inspiration. Later Mechtild herself corrected the manuscript. These notes came to be known as the "Book of Special Grace.”The book is centred on the Church's year. It is firmly liturgical, Trinitarian and Christocentric. Its style is warmly affective and joyful, and it shows Mechtild's sound education. In it she urges the use of all the senses in the praise of God, and she stresses devotion to the heart of Christ. Her book was widely read largely due to the influence of the Dominican friars who were in close contact with the monastery.
Mechtild of Hackeborn is often confused with Mechtild of Magdeburg, a contemporary and another mystic, who also lived in the same monastery of Helfta for the last twelve years of her life. [The Ear,l father, had two Earldoms, the daughter Mechtild, the one person. The solution?]
St Mechtild of Hackeborn died on the nineteenth of November around the year 1298.
Adapted from the New Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 9, 1967, and The Penguin
                                                                                                                  Dictionary of the Saints, D. Attwater.

Thursday, 21 November 2013


Old Calendar: The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today the Church celebrates the memorial of the Presentation of Mary. The three feasts of the birthday of Our Lady, the holy Name of Mary and her Presentation in the Temple correspond in the Marian cycle with the first three feasts of the cycle of feasts of our Lord: namely, Christmas, the Holy Name of Jesus, and His Presentation in the Temple (February 2).