Thursday, 16 May 2013
Monday, 13 May 2013
(Cat. 16, De Spiritu Sancto 1, 11-12.16: PG 33, 931-935. 939-942)
The living water of the Holy Spirit
The water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of living water, welling up into eternal life. This is a new kind of water, a living, leaping water, welling up for those who are worthy. But why did Christ call the grace of the Spirit water? Because all things are dependent on water; plants and animals have their origin in water. Water comes down from heaven as rain, and although it is always the same in itself, it produces many different effects, one in the palm tree, another in the vine, and so on throughout the whole of creation. It does not come down, now as one thing, now as another, but while remaining essentially the same, it adapts itself to the needs of every creature that receives it.
In the same way the Holy Spirit, whose nature is always the same, simple and indivisible, apportions grace to each man as he wills. Like a dry tree which puts forth shoots when watered, the soul bears the fruit of holiness when repentance has made it worthy of receiving the Holy Spirit. Although the Spirit never changes, the effects of this action, by the will of God and in the name of Christ, are both many and marvelous.
The Spirit makes one man a teacher of divine truth, inspires another to prophesy, gives another the power of casting out devils, enables another to interpret holy Scripture. The Spirit strengthens one man’s self-control, shows another how to help the poor, teaches another to fast and lead a life of asceticism, makes another oblivious to the needs of the body, trains another for martyrdom. His action is different in different people, but the Spirit himself is always the same. In each person, Scripture says, the Spirit reveals his presence in a particular way for the common good.
The Spirit comes gently and makes himself known by his fragrance. He is not felt as a burden, for he is light, very light. Rays of light and knowledge stream before him as he approaches. The Spirit comes with the tenderness of a true friend and protector to save, to heal, to teach, to counsel, to strengthen, to console. The Spirit comes to enlighten the mind first of the one who receives him, and then, through him, the minds of others as well.
As light strikes the eyes of a man who comes out of darkness into the sunshine and enables him to see clearly things he could not discern before, so light floods the soul of the man counted worthy of receiving the Holy Spirit and enables him to see things beyond the range of human vision, things hitherto undreamed of.
Sunday, 12 May 2013
I can see why they are wanting to do this, smoking during pregnancy can put the baby at a lot of risk, he or she may not develop properly, there is an increased risk of miscarriage and stillbirth or even cot death as well as other complications. Smoking in general is, as we all know, very bad for us and (speaking from experience) quitting is really hard, especially when you don't have help. That said I don't know whether imposing a mandatory test is really the right way to go about reducing the number of soon-to-be parents from smoking. The likelihood is that many people will feel as though they are being penalised, being judged
You know, the thing that really gets me in all of this is is that on the one hand you have people genuinely trying to protect the lives of unborn children whilst on the other we have the same professionals saying that a "foetus" (a mere "clump of cells) is not a baby, and that it is okay to terminate that pregnancy. The hipocrisy of it baffles me. If we say a child up to 24 weeks can be terminated because it is not a child does that mean that a woman can smoke up until 24 weeks because what is growing in her womb is not yet a human life? If we acknowledge that the mother who smokes whilst pregnant is doing something wrong, that she is doing something harmful to another human person then should we, can we condone abortion?
Friday, 10 May 2013
Saturday, 4 May 2013
Although we don't know the names of all those martyred here is the Litany of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. I prayed it today for the conversion of our country and for all Catholics who do not have the same luxuries as you and I and face daily persecution.
Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy, Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy.
Christ hear us. Christ graciously hear us.
God the Father in heaven, Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, Have mercy on us.
Mary, Queen of Apostles, Pray for us.
Mary, Queen of Martyrs, Pray for us.
St John Houghton, Pray for us.
St Richard Reynolds, Pray for us.
St Augustine Webster, Pray for us.
St Robert Lawrence, Pray for us.
St John Stone, Pray for us.
St Cuthbert Mayne, Pray for us.
St Edmund Campion, Pray for us.
St Ralph Sherwin, Pray for us.
St Alexander Briant, Pray for us.
St John Payne, Pray for us.
St Luke Kirby, Pray for us.
St Richard Gwyn, Pray for us.
St Margaret Clitherow, Pray for us.
St Margaret Ward, Pray for us.
St Edmund Gennings, Pray for us.
St Swithun Wells, Pray for us.
St Polydore Plasden, Pray for us.
St Eustace White, Pray for us.
St John Boste, Pray for us.
St Robert Southwell, Pray for us.
St Henry Walpole, Pray for us.
St Philip Howard, Pray for us.
St John Jones, Pray for us.
St John Rigby, Pray for us.
St Anne Line, Pray for us.
St Nicholas Owen, Pray for us.
St Thomas Garnet, Pray for us.
St John Roberts, Pray for us.
St John Almond, Pray for us.
St Edmund Arrowsmith, Pray for us.
St Ambrose Barlow, Pray for us.
St Alban Roe, Pray for us.
St Henry Morse, Pray for us.
St John Southworth, Pray for us.
St John Plessington, Pray for us.
St Philip Evans, Pray for us.
St John Lloyd, Pray for us.
St John Wall, Pray for us.
St John Kemble, Pray for us.
St David Lewis, Pray for us.
Let us pray. Oh God, in whom there is no change or shadow of alteration, you gave courage to the Holy Martyrs. Grant unto us, we beseech you, through their intercession, the grace to always value the Holy Mass. May we be strengthened to serve you in imitation of the courage of these Holy Martyrs. We ask this through Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, forever. Amen.
Friday, 3 May 2013
I had been contemplating who exactly to vote for for at least a week before polling day arrived. Some of my friends laugh at me for the amount of thought I put into it as, in their view, "how much difference does one vote make anyway?" I have always been a firm believer that one vote does make a difference, a huge difference. If all the people who said their vote wasn't worth casting and therefore stayed away actually went out and put the little "X" in the box it would change things drastically. I also believe that you shouldn't waste your vote when you do get into the little booth, it is important to think about who you will choose and why. There is no use in voting 'for the sake of it.' The other reason why I spent a lot of time thinking about it is that, as a Catholic, I have a responsibility to vote, using my conscience, for the candidate who best represents and defends my views. This is why it has been so very, very hard this time round. But nevertheless, after much wrangling, I did, finally, make a decision. Whilst I'm not prepared to discuss my individual choice and why (the joys of the secret ballot) I can honestly say that I have done what I feel is right and will make the most difference.
Wednesday, 1 May 2013
From a letter to Diognetus
(Nn. 5-6; Funk, 397-401)
The Christian in the world
Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. Their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of men. Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine. With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign.
And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labor under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country. Like others, they marry and have children, but they do not expose them. They share their meals, but not their wives. They live in the flesh, but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth, but they are citizens of heaven. Obedient to the laws, they yet live on a level that transcends the law.
Christians love all men, but all men persecute them. Condemned because they are not understood, they are put to death, but raised to life again. They live in poverty, but enrich many; they are totally destitute, but possess an abundance of everything. They suffer dishonor, but that is their glory. They are defamed, but vindicated. A blessing is their answer to abuse, deference their response to insult. For the good they do they receive the punishment of malefactors, but even then they rejoice, as though receiving the gift of life. They are attacked by the Jews as aliens, they are persecuted by the Greeks, yet no one can explain the reason for this hatred.
To speak in general terms, we may say that the Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body. As the soul is present in every part of the body, while remaining distinct from it, so Christians are found in all the cities of the world, but cannot be identified with the world. As the visible body contains the invisible soul, so Christians are seen living in the world, but their religious life remains unseen. The body hates the soul and wars against it, not because of any injury the soul has done it, but because of the restriction the soul places on its pleasures. Similarly, the world hates the Christians, not because they have done it any wrong, but because they are opposed to its enjoyments.
Christians love those who hate them just as the soul loves the body and all its members despite the body’s hatred. It is by the soul, enclosed within the body, that the body is held together, and similarly, it is by the Christians, detained in the world as in a prison, that the world is held together. The soul, though immortal, has a mortal dwelling place; and Christians also live for a time amidst perishable things, while awaiting the freedom from change and decay that will be theirs in heaven. As the soul benefits from the deprivation of food and drink, so Christians flourish under persecution. Such is the Christian’s lofty and divinely appointed function, from which he is not permitted to excuse himself.