Thursday, October 17, 2019

Their Personal Pentecost



Two Sundays ago (6th October) Bishop Peter Wheatley - retired Bishop of Edmonton and one of the bishops of the Society of S. Wilfrid and S. Hilda - was with us for the Confirmation and First Holy Communion of seven of our parish family. It was a wonderful Mass with great singing and fervent prayer. Bishop Peter preached on the "rivers of living water" to which Jesus had likened the Holy Spirit, flowing from the hearts of his people into the lives of those around us (John 7:37-39).

Those confirmed prayed this prayer each day during the week beforehand in preparation for this great moment. It expresses well the openness of heart the Lord seeks in all his people: 

Father God, help me to be ready for your Holy Spirit to be poured into my heart when I am confirmed. Make me strong in your love; so that I will be able to reach out to those who feel that life has no meaning. Help me to be gentle in sharing with those who are lonely or sad. Whether I live to old age or die young, whatever plan you have for my life, help me to have a firm trust in your wonderful promises. Help me to love you with all my heart, mind, soul and strength, and to love those you send into my life. May your Holy Spirit help me to be brave enough and strong enough to continue the journey I am beginning. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Please continue to pray for those who received their "personal Pentecost" that day: Louise (standing next to Bishop Peter), then in the front row: Phill, Jessica, Jaime-Louise, Tamilore, Blossom, and Oskar. (Click on the photo to enlarge it.)


Wednesday, October 16, 2019

S. Teresa of Avila, Virgin & Doctor of the Church

Today is the feast of S. Teresa of Avila, whose best known writing is a very brief poem known as her “Bookmark”, because it was found in her prayer book when she died:


Teresa Sanchez Cepeda Davila y Ahumada was born in Avila, Spain in 1515. After her mother's death she was sent to be educated by Augustinian nuns, but became ill and returned to live with her father and other relatives. One of her uncles introduced her to the Letters of Saint Jerome, and these inspired her to consider that she had a vocation to the religious life. At the age of 20 Teresa entered the Carmelite Convent of the Incarnation at Avila.

During the sixteenth century many religious communities had lost their original devotion, discipline and openness to God. In many places convent life had become lax. Teresa's convent at Avila was no exception. She tells how she lost her first love for the Lord and embraced the status quo of comfortable convent living. In fact, she struggled with her vocation until after her father's death, and then a number of illnesses. In 1555 she underwent a spiritual renewal in which she saw the risen Jesus, and experienced a mystical transverberation, which she described as the piercing of her heart by an angel. She called this spiritual union with God, her "mystical marriage." She gave herself completely to prayer. 

Teresa began to have more spiritual experiences and visions which she, as well as the clergy she consulted, often thought were delusions. But two confessors believed that her experiences were genuine graces from the Lord, and encouraged her to embrace them as such, and to deepen her life of personal prayer and radical discipleship. More than that, they told her to write down her experiences so as to help others understand contemplative prayer. So she wrote the Life of herself (up to 1562), The Way of Perfection and Foundations for her sisters, and The Interior Castle, as a guide for praying people in general. Her writings are intensely personal spiritual autobiographies, and take their place alongside The Confessions of S. Augustine (which had also been a major influence on her). It was mainly on account of her writings that she was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI in 1970. (Teresa had been declared a saint by Pope Gregory XV in 1622.

After many tribulations and much heart-searching, Teresa felt that God was asking her to leave the Convent of the Incarnation and establish St Joseph's, a new monastery that would conscientiously observe the original Rule of Carmel. This she did on 24th August 1562. There was a great deal of opposition to the new Carmel and it was some time before she was able to live there in peace. Many condemned her as having been deceived by her mystical experiences in prayer. Eventually the hostility died down and Teresa was asked to found more of these houses of prayer in other cities of Spain. Over a period of twenty years she founded 15 houses for the nuns and, in association with John Yepes (later known as S. John of the Cross), at least two for the friars. In 1580, the Holy See recognised the Discalced Carmelites as distinct from the other Carmelites. By then Teresa was sixty-five years old, and in very poor health. Even so, she continued her work. The last Carmelite house she founded was at Burgos in July, 1582. On her way from there to Alba de Tormes she became ill. On October 4, 1582, three days after reaching Alba de Tormes, she died, and was buried there.

The parish of All Saints' Benhilton (Sutton) in the south of London, which I serve as Vicar, is in the care of the Bishop of Fulham, the Rt Rev'd Jonathan Baler, according to the provision made available to traditional Catholic parishes following the ordination of women in the Church of England. In October last year, Bishop Jonathan took a group of his priests to Avila in Spain for a week that was really a blend of clergy conference, clergy school and retreat. We were ministered to by Bishop Norman Banks, the Bishop of Richborough, who is the Provincial Episcopal Visitor ("PEV") for many traditional Catholic parishes in the Canterbury Province. Drawing on his own experience, Bishop Norman led us through the spiritual journeys of S. Teresa of Avila and S. John of the Cross. We were fortunate to have been able to visit significant sites that brought alive some of the historical aspects of S. Teresa's life and teaching. Here are some photos. (Click on them to enlarge!)

Here is a photo of the clergy having concelebrated Mass in the Convent of the Incarnation, Avila, where S. Teresa lived for 27 years, and where she was prioress when S. John of the Cross was Confessor, between 1572 and 1576: 



Here is S. Teresa's cell in the Convent:

  
and her kitchen:



After our concelebrated Mass on Thursday 11th October at Alba de Tormes:


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

S. TERESA SAID:
I believe that love is the measure of our ability to bear crosses, whether great or small. So if you have this love, try not to let the prayers you make to so great a Lord be words of mere politeness, but brace yourselves to suffer what God's Majesty desires. For if you give God your will in any other way, you are just showing the Lord a precious stone, making as if to give it and begging God to take it, and then, when God's hand reaches out to do so, taking it back and holding on to it tightly. Such mockery is no fit treatment for One who endured so much for us . . .
(From: The Way of Perfection)

Let humility be always at work, like the bee at the honey-comb, or all will be lost. But, remember, the bee leaves its hive to fly in search of flowers and the soul should sometimes cease thinking of itself to rise in meditation on the grandeur and majesty of its God.
(From The Interior Castle)  

Do not build towers without a foundation, for our Lord does not care so much for the importance of our works as for the love with which they are done. When we do all we can, His Majesty will enable us to do more every day. 
(From The Interior Castle) 

Love does not consist in great sweetness of devotion, but in a more fervent determination to strive to please God in all things, in avoiding, as far as possible, all that would offend Him, and in praying for the increase of the glory and honour of his Son and for the growth of the Catholic Church.
(From The Interior Castle) 

Our souls may lose their peace and even disturb other people's if we are always criticising trivial actions which often are not real defects at all, but we construe them wrongly through ignorance of their motives.
(From The Interior Castle) 

How many maggots remain in hiding until they have destroyed our virtues. These pests are such evils as self-love, self-esteem, rash judgement of others in small matters, and a want of charity in not loving our neighbour quite as much as ourselves. Although, perforce, we satisfy our obligations to avoid sin, yet we fall far short of what must be done in order to obtain perfect union with the will of God.
(From The Interior Castle)  

The only remedy for having given up a habit of recollection is to recommence it, otherwise the soul will continue to lose it more and more every day, and God grant it may realise its danger.
(From The Interior Castle)

O Lord, regulate all things by your wisdom, so that I may always serve you in the manner that you will. Do not punish me by granting my desire if it offends your love, for I desire your love to live always in me. Help me to deny myself in order that I may serve you. Let me live for you - who in yourself are the true life. Amen.


Sunday, October 13, 2019

Saint John Henry Newman's Published Sermons - Chronological Index


With the official declaration in Rome this morning of John Henry Newman as a Saint, there will be a renewed interest in his writings. It is fortunate, then, that so many of his semone survive, as this index demonstrates. However, a perusal of the dates shows that this is but a selection of his preaching. 

As an Anglican, he preferred to read his sermons, and to be “reverently” and meticuluously prepared. When he became a Roman Catholic he read sermons only on special occasions; usually, though clearly no less prepared, he preached extempore as was the Roman Catholic custom. This was obviously not difficult for him to do. Indeed, we know that most of his own summary notes of his later preaching were written out not before but after the sermon in question had been preached. 

Newman's published Anglican sermons are widely regarded as masterpieces of English prose and spiritual reflection. He continued to publish them (and, it appears, sometimes to preach them again) as a Roman Catholic. This chronological index is useful, because it shows a natural development in his convictions, yet at the same time how little his core beliefs changed throughout his life.


Newman's Sermons by date preached 
(or written)

This Index is dapted from: 
http://www.newmanreader.org/controversies/guides/dates.html


DATE
VOLUME
TITLE
1825 Jan 23
PPS7-5
1825 Jun 12
PPS1-4
1825 Dec 18
PPS8-8
1825 Dec 25 R
PPS8-17 
1826 Jul 2
OUS-1
1826 Aug
PPS1-1
1828 Jun 15
PPS7-16 
1828 Jul 27
PPS7-2
1829 Mar 8
PPS7-3
1829 Mar 15
PPS7-4
1829 May 24
PPS1-15 
1829 Jun 14
PPS1-16 
1829 Jul 19
PPS3-1
1829 Nov 8, 15, 22
PPS7-17 
1829 Nov 29
PPS3-14 
1829 Dec 13
PPS7-15 
1829 Dec 20 E2
PPS1-19 
1829 Dec 20
PPS1-20 
1830 Feb 21
PPS3-6
1830 Mar 28
PPS7-7
1830 Mar 21
PPS7-18
1830 Apr 13
OUS-2
1830 May 2 R
PPS8-6
1830 May 9 R
PPS3-2
1830 May 16
PPS3-3
1830 May 23
PPS3-4
1830 Aug 1
PPS3-5
1830 Sep 5
PPS8-7
1830 Sep 12
PPS8-9
1830 Oct 17
PPS8-13
1830 Oct 24
PPS1-17 
1830 Oct 28
PPS8-12 
1830 Oct 31
PPS8-14 
1830 Nov 14
PPS1-18 
1830 Nov 30 R
PPS2-1
1831 Jan 1
PPS2-7
1831 Jan 25
PPS2-9
1831 Feb 2
PPS2-10 
1831 Mar 6
OUS-3
1831 Mar 27
PPS1-14 
1831 Apr 3 R
PPS2-13 
1831 Apr 24
PPS1-22
1831 Apr 25
PPS2-16
1831 May 8
PPS1-23
1831 May 15
PPS1-26
1831 May 22
SSD-11
1831 Jun 5
PPS1-8
1831 Jun 24 R
PPS2-24
1831 Jun 26
PPS8-5
1831 Jul 3
PPS1-9
1831 Jul 17
PPS1-25
1831 Jul 25
PPS2-4
1831 Aug 24 E
PPS2-27
1831 Sep 29
PPS2-29
1831 Oct 9
PPS1-10
1831 Oct 18
PPS2-30
1831 Oct 23
PPS1-11
1831 Oct 30
PPS1-13
1831 Nov 6
PPS1-12
1831 Nov 20
PPS3-7
1831 Nov 30
PPS2-32
1831 Dec 4
PPS3-8
1831 Dec 11
OUS-4
1831 Dec 25
PPS1-6
1831 Dec 27
PPS2-5
1832 Jan 1
PPS7-1
1832 Jan 22
OUS-5
1832 Jan 25
PPS8-15
1832 Feb 24
PPS2-11
1832 Mar 25
PPS2-12
1832 Apr 8
OUS-6
1832 Apr 15
PPS7-9
1832 Apr 22
PPS1-21
1832 May 27
OUS-7
1832 Aug 26
PPS1-24
1832 Sep 2
PPS1-3
1832 Oct 14
PPS1-7
1832 Nov 4
OUS-8
1832 Dec 2
OUS-9
1833 Jul 21
PPS1-2
1833 Dec 22
PPS1-5
1833 Dec 28
PPS2-6
1834 Jun 8
PPS3-13
1834 Sep 14
PPS3-17
1834 Oct 19
PPS5-21
1834 Oct 26
PPS3-22
1834 Nov 2
PPS3-21
1834 Dec 14
PPS2-25
1834 Dec 21
PPS2-2
1834 Dec 25
PPS2-3
1834 Dec 27
PPS2-17
1834 Year end
PPS2-8
1834 Year end
PPS2-18
1834 Year end
PPS2-19
1834 Year end
PPS2-22
1834 Year end
PPS2-23
1834 Year end
PPS2-31
1835 Jan-Feb
PPS2-14
1835 Jan-Feb
PPS2-15
1835 Jan-Feb
PPS2-20
1835 Jan-Feb
PPS2-21
1835 Jan-Feb
PPS2-26
1835 Feb 1
PPS2-28
1835 Feb 8
PPS3-23
1835 Feb 22
PPS3-24
1835 Mar 8
PPS3-12
1835 Mar 22
PPS4-4
1835 Apr 5
PPS3-9
1835 Apr 12
PPS3-10
1835 May 3
PPS3-11
1835 May 17
PPS3-15
1835 May 24
PPS3-20
1835 Oct 25
PPS3-16
1835 Nov 1
PPS3-25
1835 Nov 8
PPS3-18
1835 Nov 15
PPS3-19
1836 Feb 21
PPS4-20
1836 Mar 13
PPS8-18
1836 Mar 20
PPS4-3
1836 Mar 27
PPS4-6
1836 Apr 1
PPS6-6
1836 Apr 26
PPS6-5
1836 May 29
PPS4-19
1836 Jun 12
PPS4-8
1836 Aug 14
SSD-13
1836 Oct 23
PPS4-14
1836 Oct 30
PPS8-1
1836 Nov 1
PPS8-11
1836 Nov 6
PPS4-9
1836 Nov 13
PPS6-19
1836 Nov 20
PPS4-10
1836 Dec 4
PPS5-4
1836 or 1837
PPS6-15
1837 Jan 1
SSD-8
1837 Mar 26 A
PPS5-7
1837 Apr 2
PPS4-2
1837 Apr 30
PPS4-5
1837 May 7
PPS4-17
1837 May 14
PPS4-11
1837 May 21
PPS6-23
1837 Jun 25
PPS8-4
1837 Jul 9
PPS4-1
1837 Jul 16
PPS4-13
1837 Aug 6
PPS4-7
1837 Sep 10
PPS5-18
1837 Oct 22
PPS4-12
1837 Oct 29
PPS6-22
1837 Nov 12 & 26
PPS6-9
1837 Dec 3
PPS4-22
1837 Dec 10
PPS4-15
1837 Dec 25
PPS4-16
1838 Feb 11
PPS5-8
1838 Feb 25
PPS4-21
1838 Mar 4
PPS6-1
1838 Mar 18
PPS5-13
1838 Mar 25
PPS5-14
1838 Apr 1
PPS5-15
1838 Apr 15
PPS4-23
1838 Apr 22
PPS4-18
1838 May 6
PPS6-10
1838 May 13
PPS6-11
1838 May 20 & 27
PPS7-12
1838 May 24
PPS6-16
1838 Sep 22
PPS5-6
1838 Nov 4
PPS5-2
1838 Nov 18
SSD-7
1838 Nov 25
SSD-6
1838 Dec 2
PPS5-1
1838 Dec 9
PPS5-17
1838 Dec 16
PPS5-16
1839 Epiphany
OUS-10
1839 Jan 13
OUS-11
1839 Feb 10
PPS5-23
1839 Feb 17
PPS5-9
1839 Feb 24
PPS7-8
1839 Mar 3
PPS5-20
1839 Mar 10
PPS5-19
1839 Mar 31
PPS6-8
1839 May 21
OUS-12
1839 May 26
PPS6-25
1839 Jun 2
PPS5-3
1839 Jun 9
PPS5-22
1839 Sep 23
PPS6-21
1839 Oct 5
PPS6-14
1839 Dec 22
PPS5-5
1840 Jan 12
PPS5-11
1840 Jan 19
PPS5-10
1840 Jan 26
PPS5-12
1840 Mar 1
PPS5-24
1840 Mar 15
PPS6-2
1840 Mar 29
PPS8-10
1840 Apr 12
PPS6-4
1840 May 3
PPS7-13
1840 May 10
PPS7-14
1840 May 31
SSD-18
1840 Sep 22
PPS6-20
1840 Nov 29 & Dec 6  
PPS6-17
1840 Dec 13
PPS6-18
1840 Dec 25
SSD-5
1840 St. Peter's Day
OUS-13
1841 Jan 17
PPS7-6
1841 Jan 24
PPS6-12
1841 Feb 28
PPS6-13
1841 Mar 21
PPS6-3
1841 Apr 9
PPS6-7
1841 Jun 1
OUS-14
1841 Jun 13
SSD-12
1841 Jul 4
PPS8-3
1841 Nov 28
SSD-21
1841 Dec 5
SSD-22
1841 Dec 12
SSD-24
1841 Dec 19
SSD-23
1842 Jan 23
SSD-1
1842 Jan 23
PPS7-11
1842 Mar 25
PPS7-10
1842 May 1
SSD-9
1842 Sep 22
SSD-25
1842 Oct 16
SSD-2
1842 Oct 30
SSD-4
1842 Nov 13
SSD-14
1842 Nov 20
SSD-15
1842 Nov 27
SSD-16
1842 Dec 4
SSD-17
1843 Feb 5 or 12
SSD-19
1843 Feb 19
SSD-20
1843 Feb 26
SSD-3
1843 Apr 30
PPS8-16
Date not known
PPS6-24
1843 Jun 4
SSD-10
1843 Sep 25
SSD-26
1843 Purification
OUS-15
1848 Jan 30
F&P-1
1848 Feb 20
F&P-2
1848 Feb 27
F&P-3
1848 Mar 5
F&P-4
1848 Mar 12
F&P-5
1848 Mar 19
F&P-6
1848 Mar 26
F&P-7
1849 Feb 2
DMC-1
1849
DMC-2
1849
DMC-3
1849
DMC-4
1849
DMC-5
1849
DMC-6
1849
DMC-7
1849
DMC-8
1849
DMC-9
1849
DMC-10
1849
DMC-11
1849 May 31
DMC-12
1849
DMC-13
1849
DMC-14
1849
DMC-15
1849
DMC-16
1849
DMC-17
1849
DMC-18
1850 Jan 15 & 18
SPVO-12


1850 Oct 27
SPVO-9


1852 Jul 13
SPVO-10
1853 Nov 9
SPVO-11
1856
SPVO-1
1856
SPVO-2
1856
SPVO-3
1856
SPVO-4
1856
SPVO-5
1857
SPVO-6
1857
SPVO-7
1857
SPVO-8
1859 Nov 11
SPVO-13
1866 Oct 7
SPVO-15
1870 Jul 31
F&P-8
1873 May 5
SPVO-14
1873 Oct 2
F&P-9