30 January 2010

January rises up to end

I find it hard to believe that the first month of A.D. 2010 will soon be past. So much time seems to run on without me as if I were dawdling somewhere in time with the calendar marching on. For Anglicans ecclesiastical time is kept through a Kalendar with a "K" as if to say this way one finds Kairos. This month has seen me reading in various Thomas Merton books ... especially 'The Sign of Jonas' and I marvel at the way my guardian angel has guided my private reading of late. I was first aware of something very new starting in my life when I was turned full face toward Caryll Houselander and the genius of her thought. My spiritual director thinks I shall return to her again as the subject of an entire Kalendar year's source of study and contemplation in the near future. Into almost every conversation I hear her voice pronounced and pointed, astute and at times astonishingly fresh in laying hold of reality and holding it up to the mirror of eternity.

Now the Scottish Congregationalist Divine P.T. Forsyth has my attention for which I thank my guardian angel sincerely. In P.T. Forsyth there is a voice willing to converse on those topics of art, truth, beauty that so interest Pope Benedict XVI. One thing my Anglican background permits is the free gathering together of ideas outside the Anglican world in order to consider and proclaim the beautiful Gospel of Christ, of Life in Christ, of Life itself. So many Catholics I have come to know are afraid to read anything arising from outside the walls of the Roman Catholic Church, and there is a great poverty in that which would be immediately clear to the Anglican but not to the cradle Catholic.

Why should one concern oneself with what those outside the Church have to say about anything? And the answer is plain; it is painfully simple. The New Evangelisation called for by Pope John Paul II requires our acquainting ourselves with the Church's rivals as well as the Church's cousins. As Our Lord Jesus Christ prayed and yet prays that we would be one in Him as He and the Father are one, so we are compelled to learn what is needed in order to heal and end the divisions that are the work of the devil and of the pride of fallen man.

Dear reader, I intended to develop these thoughts more fully, but my hands, singing out in pain, require I stop typing. My hope remains that there may be something here worth considering even if it is as small as commending Merton or Houselander to your attention ... or even P.T. Forsyth.

May God's blessings be with you as you enlarge the domain of your knowledge, and may His Love attend you in praying for the healing of the Church that there may be one Church as there is one flock and one great Shepherd of the Sheep, Jesus Christ our Saviour.

+Laus Deo.

26 January 2010

From Milner-White's 'Sursum Corda'

Thanksgivings - Wednesday.

Life in Christ.

To JESUS the life of our flesh,
Who quickeneth whom He willeth :

To JESUS the life of our soul,
Who came that we might live more abundantly:

To Jesus the life of His Church,

Who loved her and gave Himself for her :
Let all mankind in earth and in paradise,

Reconciled by His death, and saved by His life,

Give glory and honour, worship and praise,

Now and for ever and ever.

+Laus Deo.

23 January 2010


A favourite but forgotten hymn. If one clicks on the image below, one should then see the image much enlarged and easier to read.

+Laus Deo.

22 January 2010

Saint Vincent Martyr

Feastday: January22

Hard by the Holy Well, there is a major relic of St. Vincent of Saragossa in the Anglican Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. This was always a cause for joy for me to see a ferretory bearing a relic of my patron saint so close to the Holy Well and the Holy House in the Anglican shrine at Walsingham.

Now some men named 'Vincent' are given the name because of other saints such as St. Vincent de Paul or St. Vincent Ferrer, but the very first saint in the Catholic Church named Vincent was the first Holy Martyr of Spain. From Wikipedia we gather the following about the great preaching saint:

St. Vincent, the protomartyr of Spain, is variously called Saint Vincent of Saragossa, Vincent of Huesca, Vincent the Deacon, or St. Vincent Martyr. He is the patron saint of Lisbon. His feast day is January 22 in the Roman Catholic Church, and November 11 in the Eastern Orthodox Churches. He was born at Huesca and martyred under the Emperor Diocletian around the year 304.

Vincent served as the deacon of Valerius of Saragossa, the city's bishop. Imprisoned in Valencia for his faith, and tortured on a gridiron, Vincent, like many early martyrs in the early hagiographic literature, succeeded in converting his jailer. Though he was finally offered release if he would consign Scripture to the fire, Vincent refused.

The earliest account of Vincent's martyrdom is in a carmen (lyric poem) written by the poet Prudentius, who wrote a series of lyric poems, Peristephanon ("Crowns of Martyrdom"), on Hispanic and Roman martyrs. Prudentius describes how Vincent was brought to trial along with his bishop Valerius, and that since Valerius had a speech impediment, Vincent spoke for both, but that his outspoken fearless manner so angered the governor that Vincent was tortured and martyred, though his aged bishop was only exiled.

According to legend, after being martyted, ravens protected St. Vincent's body from being devoured by wild animals, until his followers could recover the body. His body was taken to what is now known as Cape St. Vincent; a shrine was erected over his grave, which continued to be guarded by flocks of ravens. King Alfonso Henriques (1139-1185) had the body of the Saint exhumed in 1173 and brought it by ship to the Monastery of São Vicente de Fora in Lisbon. This transfer of the relics is depicted on the coat of arms of Lisbon.

Three elaborated hagiographies, all based ultimately on a lost 5th century Passion, circulated in the Middle Ages.

Though Vincent's tomb in Valencia became the earliest center of his cult, he was also honoured at his birthplace and his reputation spread from Saragossa. The city of Oviedo in Asturias grew about the church dedicated to Vincent.

Beyond the Pyrenees, he was venerated first in the vicinity of Béziers, and at Narbonne. Castres became an important stop on the international pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela when the relics of Vincent were transferred to its new abbey-church dedicated to Saint Benedict from Saragossa in 863, under the patronage of Salomon, count of Cerdanya.

When the Catholic bishops of Visigothic Iberia succeeded in converting King Reccared and his nobles to Trinitarian Christianity they built the cathedral of Córdoba in honour of Vincent. When the Moors came, in 711, the church was razed and its materials incorporated in the Mezquita, the "Great Mosque" of Cordoba.

Vincent is also the patron of vintners and vinegar-makers.

And finally, as Saint Vincent is my patron saint that makes today my Saint's Name Day! May we by grace share in the perseverance of St. Vincent and so never tire to bear witness to Christ the Eternal Word. So let us all remember the good Saint Vincent -- the first in Spain to lay down his life for the sake of the Lord of Life, our Saviour Jesus Christ -- and ask him to pray for us and to intercede for the entire Diaconate in Christ. Amen.

Good St. Vincent Martyr,
pray for us
who are named for thee.

+Laus Deo.

Father Paul Wattson and the Quest for Unity in Christ

From an article in The Living Church

In the Episcopalian magazine The Living Church, there is an article on Fr. Paul Wattson and the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity. Fr. Paul Wattson and Mother Lurana are beloved by Roman Catholics of Anglican Heritage. From Fr. Wattson the entire Catholic Church has been blessed with the beautiful devotion to Our Lady of the Atonement.

To read The Living Church article, click HERE. The following is the conclusion of that article on Father Wattson:

The 1920s and ’30s were building years for the order, which constructed a seminary, a printery, shrine chapels and St. Christopher’s Inn, a treatment center. The numbers of sisters and friars burgeoned. Always the message was the same: unity is the hallmark and sustenance of the work. But as Fr. Wattson began to slow (he died in 1940), his allies in the nascent ecumenical movement picked up the charge. In Belgium, Dom Lambert Beaudoin founded in 1925 a Benedictine community that took shape at Chevetogne for the express purpose of praying for unity—originally with the Orthodox, but now with all Christians.

From the Archdiocese of Lyons, France, Father Paul Couturier (1881–1953) spread the message of prayer for unity “as God wills it and by the means that he wills.” Fr. Couturier changed the tenor of the prayer, however, away from reunion of all others with Rome by reflection on a once-shared past to a more concerted effort on the part of all Christians to work toward future unity par cum pari—literally, on equal footing. This, he said, could only be done together; it could not be expected that non-Romans would simply see the light. This plea was heard by Trappistines in Grottaferrata, Italy, and some began, in the late 1930s, to devote their prayer lives to building religious bridges. When temporal unity finally occurs, it will rest on the storehouse of supernatural graces stocked by so much fervent prayer.

Fr. Wattson’s Spirit and Ordinariates
The theme for this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is “You Are Witnesses of These Things” (Luke 24:48). Coinciding with the Scottish centennial celebration of the World Mission Conference at Edinburgh, widely acknowledged as an ecumenical milestone, the theme strikes at the soul of collaboration between churches: what we memorialize together, what we work on, what we anticipate through God’s grace. Whether we speak in a prophetic voice, like the Paul Wattsons of a prior generation, there is always a call to set aside a passive stance and move.

Action of some sort never negates a stillness of mind and heart, but flows from it. Achieving that quietude comes from asking ourselves sometimes difficult questions: What do I believe? To whom shall I turn? Who am I? What is impressive about the path Fr. Wattson took is not so much his rather spectacular conversion or the issues attendant upon it, as much as the authenticity of its genesis, together with its manifold fruits. Roman Catholics cannot ignore the abiding fealty Fr. Wattson had toward the purest elements of the Anglican spirit, since part of that is its desire toward the vocation of unity. In an era of ordinariates, Roman Catholics will do well to observe how a new injection of Anglican culture into their midst will serve to heal and make whole again a body broken for too long.

In speaking of ordinariates today, canon lawyers refer to “extra-territorial” sees or “non-territorial particular churches,” which serve as instruments for service to the people of God that have, for purposes of identification, no visible boundaries but a clear governance structure that is necessarily flexible to meet extraordinary circumstances. One reason for the recent Anglicanorum Coetibus, the apostolic constitution of Pope Benedict XVI establishing personal ordinariates for those Anglicans entering a new relation with the Roman Catholic Church, is to supply a flexible response to legalistic questions. Both communions will do well to study whether the ecclesiological principles articulated in the constitution will be in service to the great challenge of ecumenism in our time, particularly as it conforms or departs from the legacy of visionaries like Fr.Wattson.

Among these principles is a recognition of the action of the Holy Spirit working as “a principle of unity” to establish the singular “Church as a communion.” What appears to some to be a wayward cluster of Anglican congregations may actually hold promise as a vehicle for tutelage and mutual understanding, on all sides, in rendering a new vista for ecclesial unity.

Patrick J. Hayes has a doctorate in theology from the Catholic University of America and has taught at Fordham University and St. John’s University in New York. He is at work on a study of Roman Catholics in the New York Archdiocese between 1865 and 1938.
Our Lady of the Atonement, pray for us.
+Laus Deo.

16 January 2010

A Prayer from Fr. James Moore

A Prayer of Supplication


JESUS, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer to you my continual obedience, pleading that all Anglicans seeking union with the Apostolic See of Peter may have the fruition of their hope. By the power of your Divine Spirit so guide the Holy Father in Rome that this union will be accomplished and that what is good and true in our heritage may be preserved to the benefit of the Universal Church. Grant that Anglican bishops and priests longing for this union may be granted continued exercise of the priestly ministry under the authority of the Roman See and that Christians everywhere may once again know the Chair of Peter as that rock upon which your Church on earth is founded, against which hell cannot prevail. Amen.

Written by Fr. James T. Moore, PhD
ca. 1978

10 January 2010

The Baptism of the Lord

A beautiful photograph from last year's Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord

The words of Pope Benedict delivered today in the Sistine Chapel were such a gift from heaven for me that I want to highlight the conclusion here and encourage you to read His Holiness' homily in its entirety:

In the Rite of Baptism there is an eloquent sign that expresses precisely the transmission of faith. It is the presentation to each of those being baptized of a candle lit from the flame of the Easter candle: it is the light of the Risen Christ, which you will endeavour to pass on to your children. Thus, from one generation to the next we Christians transmit Christ's light to one another in such a way that when he returns he may find us with this flame burning in our hands. During the Rite I shall say to you: "Parents and godparents, this light is entrusted to you to be kept burning brightly". Dear brothers and sisters, always feed the flame of the faith by listening to and meditating on the Word of God and assiduous communion with Jesus in the Eucharist. May you be assisted in this marvellous if far from easy role by the holy Protectors after whom these 13 children will be named. Above all, may these Saints help those being baptized to reciprocate your loving care as Christian parents. May the Virgin Mary in particular accompany both them and you, dear parents, now and for ever. Amen!

The full text may be read HERE on the website of the Holy See.
+Laus Deo.

07 January 2010

Opus Anglicanum

For those familiar with tapestry work, Opus Anglicanum refers to a Mediaeval English style of fine needlework. But in this short post, I have in mind another 'Opus Anglicanum' -- a chorus of five men's voices and a narrator who present their own sort of tapestry from the chant and songs of Britain. To my surprise they are not as well known in North America as they should be; hence, this post as a short introduction and a link to their website.

I have found each of their CDs a genuine delight. For a number of years they produced a marvellous little book of chant, but it appears to be SOLD OUT at present. I sincerely hope it is once more put in print.

If you are a listener to RADIO WALSINGHAM, then you have likely heard the singing of this fine group. And if they are completely new to you, then you have something splendid awaiting your hearing.

God send us one and all a glorious Epiphanytide and a holy year of joyful service to our King and Lord Jesus Christ the Righteous.