Thursday, 31 July 2014

August Month is dedicated to The Immaculate Heart of Mary


Month dedicated ...

Yesterday was the last day of July and the Month of the Precious Blood has ended. August is the Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

August, 2014 - Overview for the Month
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The month of August is dedicated to The Immaculate Heart of Mary. The entire month falls within the liturgical season of Ordinary Time, which is represented by the liturgical color green. This symbol of hope is the color of the sprouting seed and arouses in the faithful the hope of reaping the eternal harvest of heaven, especially the hope of a glorious resurrection. It is used in the offices and Masses of Ordinary Time. The last portion of the liturgical year represents the time of our pilgrimage to heaven during which we hope for reward.
The Holy Father's Intentions for the Month of August 2014
General: That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Missionary: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region. (See also
Feasts for August
The feasts on the General Roman Calendar celebrated during the month of August are:
1. Alphonsus LiguoriMemorial
2. Eusebius of Vercelli; Peter Julian EymardOpt. Mem.
3. Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary TimeSunday
4. John VianneyMemorial
5. Dedication of St. Mary MajorOpt. Mem.
6. TransfigurationFeast
7. Sixtus II and companions; CajetanOpt. Mem.
8. DominicMemorial
9. Teresa Benedicta of the CrossOpt. Mem.
10. Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary TimeSunday
11. ClareMemorial
13. Pontian and HippolytusOpt. Mem.
14. Maximilian KolbeMemorial
15. AssumptionSolemnity
16. Stephen of HungaryOpt. Mem.
17. Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary TimeSunday
19. John Eudes; St. Bernard TolomeiOpt. Mem.
20. BernardMemorial
21. Pius XSunday
22. Queenship of MaryMemorial
23. Rose of LimaOpt. Mem.
24. Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary TimeSunday
25. Louis of France; Joseph CalasanzOpt. Mem.
27. MonicaMemorial
28. AugustineMemorial
29. Passion of Saint John the Baptist Memorial
31. Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary TimeSunday
Focus of the Liturgy
The Gospel readings for the Sundays in August are taken from St. Matthew and are from Year A, Cycle 2.
August 3rd - 18th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Jesus feeds the crowd with five loaves and two fish.
August 10th - 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time 
In this Gospel Jesus tells Peter to walk on the water.
August 17th - 20th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Jesus is approached by a Canaanite woman begging for her daughter to be healed.
August 24th - 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time
In this Gospel Peter professes his faith that Christ is the Son of the living God."
August 31st - 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time
"Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me."
Highlights of the Month
August is often considered the transitional month in our seasonal calendar. It is the time of the year we begin to wind-down from our summer travels and vacations and prepare for Autumn — back to school, fall festivals, harvest time, etc. The Church in her holy wisdom has provided a cycle of events in its liturgical year which allow the faithful to celebrate the major feasts in the life of Christ and Mary. Most notably, during August, we celebrate the feast of the Transfiguration (August 6) and the feast of the Assumption (August 15).
The other main feasts of this month are St. Alphonsus Ligouri (August 1), St. John Mary Vianney (August 4), Dedication of St. Mary Major (August 5), Transfiguration of the Lord (August 6), St. Sixtus II and Companions and St. Cajetan (August 7), St. Dominic (August 8), St. Teresa Benedicta (August 9), St. Clare (August 11)Jane Frances de Chantal (August 12), Sts. Pontian and Hippolytus (August 13), St. Maximilian Kolbe (August 14), St. Stephen of Hungary(August 16), St. John Eudes (August 19)St. Bernard (August 20), St. Pius X (August 21), the Queenship of Mary (August 22), St. Louis of France (August 25), St. Monica (August 27), St. Augustine (August 28) and theMartyrdom of St. John the Baptist (August 29).
The feasts of St. Lawrence (August 10) and St. Bartholomew (August 24) fall on a Sunday so they are superseded by the Sunday Liturgy.

COMMENT: Saint Ignatius of Loyola (+ 1556)Farm Street is one of a series inspired by worship at Farm Street, a Jesuit Church in central London.

COMMENT: Art Essay.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola (+ 1556)

Sister Wendy Beckett
The Story of Painting
Dorling Kindersley London 1994 

Robert Natkin, Farm Street, 1991
This is both an afterword and a foreword: hundreds and thousands of artists come after the disappearance of the "story line" into the maze of contemporary artistic experience and these same artists may of course be the forerunners of a new story. In the present context of the end of the century it is impossible to know which threads will lead us through the maze and which are in fact dead-ends. I can only then give a very personal, subjective sample of contemporary art and single out just three artists who I hope will endure.
Robert Natkin, Farm Street, 1991inspired by worship at Farm Street, a Jesuit Church in central London

One - Robert Natkin - is a senior artist and a supreme colourist who has up until recently resisted being called an abstract painter. Clearly, to Natkin every part of his canvas is vital with what he calls narrative interest. A communication is being made, visually - an experience is being enacted; but this event, so searching and enriching to the spirit, is carried out by means of shapes and colours, integrating into a wholeness. Natkin floats his colours on, denies them, deepens them, teases them into new complexities, always with a masterly elegance that is overwhelmingly beautiful. Farm Street (453) is one of a series inspired by worship at Farm Street, a Jesuit Church in central London. The picture offers the viewer an entry into worship, not just the painter's but our own.
It is a humbling and uplifting work, with its wonderful luminosities. Yet Natkin offends many critics by being too beautiful, purity being suspect in these days of dilemma.  

COMMENT:Peter Chrysologus' gem.. William

Robert Natkin Farm Street Art
[The theologian's reply to the scientist!]

Dear William,
It is a joy to have your spotlighting of Peter Chrysologus' gem.
Thank you.
Meanwhile, I too had to study your exegesis of the metal  detector's of the Pearl of Great Price. More pondering ....

fr. Donald

Fwd: Pearl of Great Price
On Tuesday, 29 July 2014, 10:14, 
William ... wrote:

Dear Father R and D...
I am delighting in the treasure revealed in your homily! The iPad in Father Donald's hand has proved to be a metal detector!

The separation of the two parables, between the one who 'chanced upon' and the one who 'had been searching', is truly most enlightening, and as with all your homilies, it has set me thinking....I wonder...

 ... the someone who "sells all that he has AND buys that field" has a character fault about him that I don't quite like (!) with regard to the fact that he didn't tell the owner of his discovery and thus acknowledge what the field was really worth given its discovered treasure which he went and hid again (OK it had been hidden and we don't think it belonged to the owner), but buying it as just a field, thus in effect mighty cheaply, was that not just a little fraudulent (perhaps for him, the old adage applied, 'Finders keepers, Losers weepers?') Not a man filled with charitable virtue, but dishonourable! Perhaps Jesus was considering this to be the Pharisee, (mine all mine, let the publican forfeit) - alas, I became very embittered as I had these thoughts, considering the 'someone' a rogue! May he be exposed...or is that what Jesus is doing?

[This may be quite the wrong end of the stick! but it still bothers me]

... whereas, it seems to me, the pearl was acknowledged as a very fine one by both its owner and the merchant, changing the word 'and' to "in order TO buy it" - at its true value, its full cost to himself. This parable tells of the wonderful endeavour, and of the longing, the impetuosity and the excitement at its fulfilment - upon which the highest possible value is placed, its sheer expense acknowledged!

The moment of your Profession, and of your Ordination, these won't have been the result of an 'and' but of an 'in order TO'! 

I have much delighted in your homily, thank you.

With my love in Our Lord,

Saint Ignatius of Loyola (+ 1556) was the founder of the Society of Jesus.

31 July 2014 Saint Ignatius of Loyola
Robert Natkin Farm Street Art 1991

Fwd: Angels separate the good from the bad. 

On Wednesday, 30 July 2014, 
Nivard ... wrote:

Magnificat, adapted, 17 Thu July 29: Mt 13, 47-53

   Jesus speaks about separating the good from the bad in our relationship with God.
   God created us to praise, reverence, and serve Him. In doing so we save our soul and help to save others.
   God created all other things on the face of the earth to help us on our way back to Him.
   We must make ourselves indifferent to all created things, provided the matter is subject to our free choice.  
   Thus as far as we are concerned, we should not want health more than illness, wealth more than poverty, a long life more than a short one, and so on.
   Saint Ignatius of Loyola (t 1556) was the founder of the Society of Jesus.
   Father, may your word take deep root in our hearts and transform our way of thinking, discerning, and acting, through Christ Jesus our Lord. 

Wednesday, 30 July 2014


 Wednesday, 30 July 2014
Wednesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
Commentary of the day : 
Saint Peter Chrysologus (c.406-450), Bishop of Ravenna, Doctor of the Church

Through Christ the teacher, O Lord,
instruct those you feed with Christ, the living Bread,
that on the feast day of blessed Saint Peter they may
learn your truth
and express it in works of charity.
Through Christ our Lord.
MEDITATION OF THE DAY (Magnificat com; courtesy of the Edit)

Saint Peter Chrysologus
'The kingdom of heaven is like ...”.

This is the kingdom of God, when no other will than God's prevails, either in heaven or on earth; when in the case of all men, God is the directing mind, God is living, God is acting, God is reigning, God is everything, so that, according to that statement of the Apostle: "God may be all in all of you."

"Give us this day our daily bread." He who gave himself to us as a Father, who adopted us as his sons, who made us the heirs of his goods, who raised us up in name and gave us his own honour and kingdom, he has directed that we should ask for our daily bread. In the kingdom of God, in the midst of his divine gifts, why does man in his poverty beg? Is it only when asked that a Father so good, so kindly, so generous gives bread to his children? And what are we to make of his statement: "Do not be anxious about what you are to eat, or what you are to drink, or what you are to put on"? Is he telling us to ask for that about which he forbids us to think? What do we hold? The heavenly Father is encouraging us, as heavenly sons, to ask for heavenly bread. He said: "I am the bread that has come down from heaven." He is the Bread sown in the Virgin, leavened in the flesh, moulded in his passion, baked in the furnace of the sepulchre, placed in the churches, and set upon the altars, which daily supplies heavenly food to the faithful.
SAINT PETER CHRYSOLOGUS Saint Peter Chrysologus (+ 450), Doctor of the Church, was the archbishop of Ravenna, Italy.

Meditations on Art by Sr. Wendy Beckett

 Sister Wendy Beckett   
The Gaze of Love
Meditations on Art

Sister Wendy Beckett   invites us to leave the limitations of what we already know and discover, the infinities of a deeper vision communicated to us through art. Art, like prayer, is always an expression of longing and modern art with its striking familiar forms offers one of the  most exhilarating and adventurous routes we can follow to that world of freedom love and beauty which lies behind all our longings.

Contemplative nun, art historian and TV presenter Sister Wendy Beckett has selected forty works of art, mostly contemporary, and her illuminating commentaries on each of them provide an excellent companion on what is an unforgettable journey of discovery.


Tuesday, 29 July 2014

COMMENT: 'On Anxiety' by Sr. Wendy Beckett

Sister Wendy Beckett. Spiritual Letters, 1213 Orbis Books
The MAGNIFICAT magazine, Meditation of the Day, has the title, ‘Martha’s Anxiety’.
Sister Wendy is gifted in naming the titles her contemplation of paintings, giving the clue to understanding the subject.
Is it that ‘Anxiety’ could be attributed to St. Martha?
In fact, at the end of the book, Sr. Wendy expresses the thought simply “On Anxiety”.
When I see the eight illustrations of the book, the spiritually will be further illuminated

TUESDAY 29th July 2014
Saints Martha, Mary and Lazarus 

MEDITATION OF THE DAY – thanks to Magnificat com

Martha's Anxiety
Worry is a canker. And it's self-regarding. Whereas all our real life is in Jesus.
The function of anxiety is surely to alert us to our dependence on him and to the fact that he alone matters. It is a most useful feeling. It says: You are fragile, unrealised, not in charge of your life, in danger of... therefore turn wholly to Jesus. The feeling mayor may not diminish but the direction out of self's narrowness into his love has been conquered. We have to go on and on until finally we live out of self, in him....

The great thing to grasp is that to feel "relaxed/happy" or to feel anxious is unimportant. Feelings only matter as an occasion for love. Happy, secure feelings prompt us to praise him; sad, anxious feelings prompt us to express our faith and pray for him to be all in all to us. The feelings themselves tell us nothing about our "state" which is God's secret and God's work. We don't base anything on ourselves but only on him, on his goodness, knowing, as Paul says, in whom we have believed. Why are we anxious? Let's will to have Jesus as our holiness. Gradually even the feeling vanishes, but that is unimportant.

We can feel that growing in love should make life "easier” – that there is some failure in our fear, temptation, struggle. Not so. In fact the tempest may blow more severely as we near harbour. Jesus could never know a psychic respite, as the Gospels show. But our attitudes change. We cease to be afraid of fear; we open our arms to the will for the Father to give us whatever he will, knowing, in Jesus, that he gives only "good things".
Sister Wendy Beckett
SISTER WENDY BECKETT Sister Wendy Beckett is a South African-born British art expert, a consecrated virgin, and contemplative hermit who lives under the protection of a Carmelite monastery in Norfolk, England.


29 July 2014  Night Office Saints, Memorial.
Cistercian Calendar; Saints. Martha, Mary and Lazarus.     
Bethany. Edinburgh old master 

29 JULY - SAINTS. MARTHA, MARY AND LAZARUS From a Sermon of Saint Bernard on Luke 10: 38-42 

'Jesus entered a village and a woman named Martha received him into her house.' What is the meaning we should draw, my brothers, when we read that only one of the two sisters received the Lord, and that one is she who seems to ‘be the lesser? Mary has chosen the good portion', said Jesus whom Martha received. Martha, it seems was the elder by birth, just as it is obvious that action rather than contemplation is the beginning of salvation. Martha therefore received the Lord into her house in this world; Mary, however, was more concerned how she might be received by him into the house not made by hands, eternal in the heavens. Yet she, too, may be seen to have received the Lord, but in spirit, for 'the Lord is the Spirit.'

But let us move on to consider how rightly ordered charity has shared out in our own daily context these three realities: the external administration of Martha; the contemplation of Mary; the way of penance and renewal of Lazarus. In the spiritually developed person each of these three is found simultaneously. Each individual function is seen best, however, as pertaining to' particular people, so that some are free for contemplation, some are concerned with brotherly service, some are intent on rectifying their lives by penance ...

'A woman named Martha received him into her house.' Those of the community who have charge of a department certainly occupy the place of Martha; the needs of community life and charity have singled them out for various assignments. Would that I too may be found worthy to be counted as faithful among those who hold office! For to whom does the Lord's saying, 'Martha, Martha, you are anxious' seem to apply more fittingly than to those in authority, even though in their position of responsibility their anxiety is praiseworthy? ... ... I quote the words of St. Paul who, while warning officials about anxiety, himself stirs up anxiety on behalf of all the churches. ‘Who is weak’, he asks, 'and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant? ... . ..

Those who are anxious about much serving should look at Mary, to see how she is at peace, to see 'that the Lord is good’. They should notice how she sits at Jesus' feet, her heart at peace and her mind fixed on him. She keeps the Lord ever in her sight and treasures up the words from his lips, for his appearance is beautiful and speech is gentle. ‘Graciousness is poured upon his lips’ and he is 'the fairest of the children of men' more beautiful, even, than the glory of the angels. Rejoice, Mary, and be thankful for you have chosen the good portion. Blessed are the eyes which see what you see and blessed are the ears which have been privileged to’ hear what you hear.   

PL. 183; co1.421D-425A. Leclercq-Rochais Vo1.5, pp.238-243.
Translation Mt. St. Bernard Abbey 1971

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Sunday July 27th. Homily. Fr. Raymond

  Fr. Raymond Homily  
Sunday, July 27th
"The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it."
Gospel   Mt. 13:44-52     

17th SUNDAY (A).   Jesus gives us today different images of the kingdom of heaven.  Each of these images tells us something different about that kingdom of heaven.  Each of them helps to build up for us some faint idea of that wonderful truth that the scriptures tell us is beyond our wildest dreams: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man to conceive what God has  prepared for those who love him.” 

Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a great hidden treasure; then to a precious pearl;   But in these images Jesus is underlining for us something more than just the greatness of the treasure discovered; something that we could easily overlook, yet something, I believe, that is very real in the life of most of us in our discovery of the kingdom of heaven.

The first image, the finding of the treasure that had been hidden in a field is the story of an accidental stroke of good luck.  The finder had no idea it was there; he wasn’t searching for it; he just chanced to find it.  How many of us can think of moments of grace like that in our lives, moments that touched us deeply and gave a new quality to our faith.  It may have been a moment of great joy, like the birth of a child for instance; or it may even have been a moment of great sadness like the death of a loved, but whatever it was it jolted and deepened our faith.  It was a treasure we found by accident, as it were.

The second image is the merchant searching for fine pearls.  Some people search for the truth in many ways and in many places and for many years, like the great St Augustine for instance.  His search was ultimately rewarded, and it was rewarded in a way that not only brought him his own personal fulfilment but enriched the whole church ever since.  The story of his search for God is one of the treasures of Christian literature.

As far as our own discovery of grace is concerned we have no control over the good luck we may have; that lies in the hands of Providence, but we are all bound to go hunting for that treasure.  And how to do we hunt for it?  We hunt for it by our prayers and desires; by our partaking of the sacraments; by our reading of good books, and especially by our reading of scripture.


Pope's Angelus Address, Sunday July 27th
"Everything makes sense when you find this treasure, which Jesus called "the Kingdom of God," that is, God reigning in your life, in our lives."
VATICAN CITY, July 27, 2014 ( - At 12pm today, Pope Francis appeared at the window of the study in the Apostolic Palace to pray the Angelus with faithful and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.
Here below is an English translation of his words introducing the Marian prayer, and his address that followed:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The brief similarities put forward in today's liturgy conclude the chapter of Matthew’s Gospel dedicated to the parables of the Kingdom of God (13:44-52). Among these are two small masterpieces: the parables of the treasure hidden in the field, and the pearl of great price. They tell us that the discovery of the Kingdom of God can come suddenly, as when the peasant farmer is ploughing, finding the treasure unexpectedly; or after a long search, as the pearl for the merchant, who finally found the pearl of great price he had long dreamed of. But in that case and in the other, the primary fact remains that the treasure and the pearl are worth more than all other goods. Therefore, the farmer and the merchant, when they find them, give up everythingelse to buy them. They do not need to reason, to think, to reflect: they realize immediately the incomparable value of what they have found, and are willing to lose anything to have it.