‘No admiring contemporary wrote Aidan’s biography, and there are therefore but a few personal stories of him. But Bede, who, although he deplored his peculiarly Celtic ecclesiastical customs, had a most loving respect for him and refers to him always as “the good”, relates to instances of his spiritual power, which he had learnt from men who is integrity he trusted. A deputation, headed by a trusted priest, was going to Kent to fetch the royal bride for Oswy, and he came first to Lindisfarne to ask for prayers for his journey. Aidan when he blessed him gave him a little cruse of oil, saying, “On your return sea-voyage I know you will meet with stormy weather, but remember to cast this oil on the sea, and then the wind will subside, you will have a pleasant calm, and return in safety”. And all fell out as Aidan had foretold. The second story is of the Mercian invasion, when the dread King Penda was ravaging Northumbria and had attacked royal Bamborough, which he was firing with the wind in his favour. From his island of prayer Aidan could see the terrible flames leaping the city walls. “Behold, Lord, how great mischief Penda does!” The words were hardly out of his mouth when those standing by saw the sudden veering of the wind so that the fierce fire turned back on the attackers; which so alarmed them that they withdrew, realising that the city was under a supernatural protection against which their weapons would be useless. And what a perfect form of intercession: simply, “Behold, Lord.”’
Sibyl Harton, 1898-1993
O everlasting God, who didst send thy gentle Bishop Aidan to proclaim the Gospel in Britain: grant that, aided by his prayers, we may live after his teaching in simplicity, humility, and love for the poor; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Collect for Saint Aidan, Bishop, and the Saints of Lindisfarne, from Divine Worship: The Missal.
‘There is no doubt that blessed John suffered imprisonment and chains as a witness to our Redeemer, whose forerunner he was, and gave his life for him. His persecutor had demanded not that he should deny Christ, but only that he should keep silent about the truth. Nevertheless, he died for Christ. Does Christ not say: “I am the truth”? Therefore, because John shed his blood for the truth, he surely died for Christ.
Through his birth, preaching and baptising, he bore witness to the coming birth, preaching and baptism of Christ, and by his own suffering he showed that Christ also would suffer.
Such was the quality and strength of the man who accepted the end of this present life by shedding his blood after the long imprisonment. He preached the freedom of heavenly peace, yet was thrown into irons by ungodly men. He was locked away in the darkness of prison, though he came bearing witness to the Light of life and deserved to be called a bright and shining lamp by that Light itself, which is Christ.
To endure temporal agonies for the sake of the truth was not a heavy burden for such men as John; rather it was easily borne and even desirable, for he knew eternal joy would be his reward.
Since death was ever near at hand, such men considered it a blessing to embrace it and thus gain the reward of eternal life by acknowledging Christ’s name. Hence the apostle Paul rightly says: “You have been granted the privilege not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for his sake.” He tells us why it is Christ’s gift that his chosen ones should suffer for him: “The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us.”’
St Bede the Venerable, c.672-735
O God who didst send thy messenger, Saint John the Baptist, to be the forerunner of the Lord, and to glorify thee by his death: grant that we, who have received the truth of thy most holy Gospel, may bear our witness thereunto; and after his example and aided by his prayers, constantly speak the truth, boldly rebuke vice, and patiently suffer for the truth’s sake; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Divine Worship: The Missal.
‘In spite of this reluctance to give up a secular life, yet in proportion as the light of Christian truth opened on Augustine’s mind, so was he drawn on to that higher Christian state on which our Lord and His Apostle have bestowed special praise. So it was, and not unnaturally in those times, that high and earnest minds, when they had found the truth, were not content to embrace it by halves; they would take all or none, they would go all lengths, they would covet the better gifts, or else they would remain as they were. It seemed to them absurd to take so much trouble to find the truth, and to submit to such a revolution in their opinions and motives as its reception involved; and yet, after all, to content themselves with a second-best profession, unless there was some plain duty obliging them to live the secular life they had hitherto led. The cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, the pomp of life, the pride of station, and the indulgence of sense, would be tolerated by the Christian, then only, when it would be a sin to renounce them. The pursuit of gain may be an act of submission to the will of parents; a married life is the performance of a solemn and voluntary vow; but it may often happen, and did happen in Augustine’s day especially, that there are no religious reasons against a man’s giving up the world, as our Lord and His Apostles renounced it. When his parents were heathen, or were Christians of his own high temper, when he had no fixed engagement or position in life, when the State itself was either infidel or but partially emerging out of its old pollutions, and when grace was given to desire and strive after, if not fully to reach, the sanctity of the Lamb’s virginal company, duty would often lie, not in shunning, but in embracing an ascetic life. Besides, the Church in the fourth century had had no experience yet of temporal prosperity; she knew religion only amid the storms of persecution, or the uncertain lull between them, in the desert or the catacomb, in insult, contempt, and calumny. She had not yet seen how opulence, and luxury, and splendour, and pomp, and polite refinement, and fashion, were compatible with the Christian name; and her more serious children imagined, with a simplicity or narrowness of mind which will in this day provoke a smile that they ought to imitate Cyprian and Dionysius in their mode of living and their habits, as well as in their feelings, professions, and spiritual knowledge. They thought that religion consisted in deeds, not words. Riches, power, rank, and literary eminence, were then thought misfortunes, when viewed apart from the service they might render to the cause of truth; the atmosphere of the world was thought unhealthy:—Augustine then, in proportion as he approached the Church, ascended towards heaven’.
St John Henry Newman, 1801-1890
O merciful Lord, who didst turn Saint Augustine from his sins to be a faithful Bishop and teacher: grant that we may follow him in penitence and godly discipline; till our restless hearts find their rest in thee; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Divine Worship: The Missal.
‘We are provided with a considerable amount of information about [St Monica] by her son in his autobiography, Confessions, one of the widest read literary masterpieces of all time. In them we learn that St Augustine drank in the name of Jesus with his mother’s milk, and that his mother brought him up in the Christian religion whose principles remained impressed upon him even in his years of spiritual and moral dissipation.
Monica never ceased to pray for him and for his conversion and she had the consolation of seeing him return to the faith and receive Baptism. God heard the prayers of this holy mother, of whom the Bishop of Tagaste had said: “the son of so many tears could not perish.” In fact, St Augustine not only converted but decided to embrace the monastic life and, having returned to Africa, founded a community of monks.
His last spiritual conversations with his mother in the tranquillity of a house at Ostia, while they were waiting to embark for Africa, are moving and edifying. By then St Monica had become for this son of hers, “more than a mother, the source of his Christianity.” For years her one desire had been the conversion of Augustine, whom she then saw actually turning to a life of consecration at the service of God. She could therefore die happy, and in fact she passed away on 27 August 387, at the age of 56, after asking her son not to trouble about her burial but to remember her, wherever he was, at the Lord’s altar. St Augustine used to say that his mother had “conceived him twice.”’
Pope Benedict XVI
O God, who art the Comforter of them that mourn, and the Salvation of them that hope in thee, who didst graciously regard the tearful pleading of blessed Monica for the conversion of her son Augustine: grant, we beseech thee, at their united intercession; that we may truly lament our sins and be made worthy to obtain thy gracious pardon; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Divine Worship: The Missal.
Today is the memorial of the Blessed Dominic Barberi, the Italian Passionist priest and missionary to England, who received our great patron, St John Henry Newman, into the one fold of the Redeemer on 9 October 1845 at Littlemore, just outside Oxford.
‘Have mercy then on England; and behold, O Lord, if thou wilt accomplish this, new temples shall be raised to the honour of thy name, and new altars: sacrifices also shall be offered acceptable unto thee, even the sacrifice of Jesus in the Eucharist; and in these holy temples shall thy infinite majesty be praised and adored; Jesus thy son shall once more be loved and praised; and Mary also shall be praised and invocated. Vouchsafe then, O Lord, to accomplish with thy powerful arm this thing, which thou hast inspired me to beg of thee. I shall never be fully happy until I behold the completion of these my desires; I shall not die contented unless I behold brought back to the fold of thy Church the nations which for many years and ages have dwelt far off from thee. But if it be thy will that I die before I see this accomplished, I shall die contented only if I am assured that it shall one day come to pass after my death. Yes, O Lord, I am ready to die this instant, or to suffer the heaviest temporal calamity, on this condition, that England shall return to the true faith. I ask not, O Lord, to be the instrument of so great a work, no, to thee I leave it to choose who shall be the minister of thy mercies; only do I beg of thee the salvation of my dear brethren’.
from The Lamentation of England by Blessed Dominic Barberi, 1792-1849
O God, who didst choose thy Priest Blessed Dominic Barberi to be a minister of thy salvation, so that his teaching and example might help many to find peace and reconciliation in thy Church: mercifully guide our steps, we humbly pray, along that same way of love and truth, until by thy grace we gain its eternal reward; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Divine Worship: The Missal.
‘There are many of the Saints of whom it may be said that we know very little more than just their names. Of St Bartholomew we know even less, because we are not even sure that this really was his name. Some scholars think that he may have been the same Apostle whom St John, in the first chapter of his gospel, calls Nathanael, and who was introduced to Jesus by Philip in the very first days of our Lord’s ministry. But this is not much more than a guess, and so, perhaps, we may be inclined to wonder why someone of whom so little is known that we are not even sure who he really was, ever came to have a place in the Calendar of Saints and be commemorated by many thousands of Christian people on this day every year for so many centuries.
This suggests a thought which is well worth pondering. It is given to very few of us to leave behind a name which will appear in the history books of later generations. Most of us are just ordinary folk, destined neither for fame nor, let us hope, for infamy… [but] though there may never be a monument erected in our honour and our names may be forgotten in a comparatively short time, yet there are memorials more enduring than brass or stone; memorials that live and breathe in the lives that we have touched, either for good or ill on our journey down the years.
‘[A]lthough we know nothing of his life, or even who he really was, I like to think of St Bartholomew not as a particular person but rather as a type and representative, the Patron Saint, so to speak, of all those unknown, unremembered people to whose quiet influence and good example we owe all that is finest and best in our own characters. They are ordinary folk for the most part; but they too are the saints of God, even though no churches are dedicated to their names and they are not included in the Calendar of Saints. And, in the words of a favourite hymn, “They lived not only in ages past, there are hundreds of thousands still.”’
Harry N. Hancock
O Almighty and everlasting God, who didst give to thine Apostle Bartholomew grace truly to believe and to preach thy Word: grant, we beseech thee, unto thy Church; to love that Word which he believed, and both to preach and to receive the same; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Divine Worship: The Missal.
‘St Bernard, solidly based on the Bible and on the Fathers of the Church, reminds us that without a profound faith in God, nourished by prayer and contemplation, by a profound relationship with the Lord, our reflections on the divine mysteries risk becoming a futile intellectual exercise, and lose their credibility. Theology takes us back to the “science of the saints,” to their intuitions of the mysteries of the living God, to their wisdom, gift of the Holy Spirit, which become the point of reference for theological thought. Together with Bernard of Clairvaux, we too must recognise that man seeks God better and finds him more easily “with prayer than with discussion.” In the end, the truest figure of the theologian and of every evangeliser is that of the Apostle John, who leaned his head on the heart of the Master’.
Pope Benedict XVI
O God, by whose grace the blessed Abbot Bernard, kindled with the fire of thy love, became a burning and a shining light in thy Church: grant, at his intercession; that we may be inflamed with the same spirit of love, and ever walk before thee as children of light; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Divine Worship: The Missal.
‘The Strange Case of the Elusive Patrimony started when Anglo-Catholicism lost its distinctive identity in the 1960s and 70s. I’m not sure about other countries but in [England] it certainly lost it. From the 1960s onwards, a great multitude of Anglo-Catholics, a great multitude which no man could number, all rushed forward like so many lemmings, in imitation of something they then called ‘modern Rome’. The lemmings rushed forward and then toppled headlong over the cliffs of de-sacralisation and secularisation, most of all in worship. If only Anglo-Catholics had kept their nerve when so many others were going mental. If only Anglo-Catholics had made greater efforts to preserve that exquisite treasury of faith and worship which we know as The English Missal.
The finest patrimony of Anglicanism is the treasure-trove of traditional Anglo-Catholic worship. The precious core of that treasure was forged when The English Missal came to birth in 1912. It then evolved, getting better and better with each subsequent edition. Its use of Sarum and Tridentine liturgical texts in Cranmerian English fired and sustained the Anglo-Catholic movement with remarkable success. The English Missal was the bedrock of those edifying decades when, in the words of Sir John Betjeman, the faith was taught, and fanned to a golden blaze. Then came the hasty reforms of the late 1960s and 1970s. The reformers piped and the lemmings jumped. But let us be fair. It wasn’t just Anglican lemmings who jumped. Roman lemmings also jumped. On both sides of the Tiber far too few had the courage or the honesty to question the glaring discontinuity and to ask: how on earth does this new tune harmonise with what we always heard before?
God is very good and mercifully brings order out of confusion. One particularly bright shaft of light has now emerged to lighten our darkness. That light is the publication of Divine Worship: The Missal. This Missal is a magnificent piece of work. It preserves a large portion of that traditional Anglo-Catholic patrimony which has so much to offer the modern Church in the modern world’.
from an address, ‘Blessed John Henry Newman: Our Guide for Tomorrow’, 15 October 2018, by Fr Ignatius Harrison, Cong. Orat. The full article can be read here.
‘Here she is, the Queen of all the Cinderellas in history: the humble peasant girl; the carpenter’s wife, brought to bed in a stable; the refugee in Egypt; the mother of whom ill-natured neighbours said she was no better than she ought to be (she was not spared that taunt); the poor widow, who watched her Son die in agony because the great ones of the world feared this young man and put him out of the way; the silent humble old woman of the people, whose life was over for all that mattered, praying in obscurity for twelve or twenty years after the Ascension; and then – the Queen of heaven’.
Dom Gregory Dix OSB, 1901-1952
‘On Friday, August 15, the feast of the Assumption, twenty-four hours after Father Maximilian Kolbe’s life had been “scientifically” terminated, Bruno Borgowiec and another prisoner, who served as the barber for the SS, came to remove his body from the washroom where they had placed it the day before. They put it in a rough wooden box and then carried it to the incinerator to be cremated.
Thus, of all the millions of human beings who lost their lives at Auschwitz, Father Maximilian Kolbe was probably the only one to be honoured with a coffin for his remains and something resembling funeral rites.
Here in a few rapid strokes of the brush is the story of a man who once told his brethren, in a meeting at Niepokalanow, “I insist that you become saints, and great saints! Does that surprise you? But remember, my children, that holiness is not a luxury, but a simple duty. It is Jesus who told us to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect. So do not think it is such a difficult thing. Actually, it is a very simple mathematical problem. Let me show you on the blackboard my formula for sanctity. Then you will see how simple it is. Do we have a piece of chalk?”
On the blackboard he wrote: w = W.
“A very clear formula, don’t you agree? The little “w” stands for my will, the capital “W” for the will of God. When the two wills run counter to each other, you have the cross. Do you want to get rid of the cross? Then let your will be identified with that of God, who wants you to be saints. Isn’t that simple? All you must do is obey!”’
Sergius C. Lorit
Most gracious God, who didst fill thy Priest and Martyr Maximilian Kolbe with zeal for thine house and love of his neighbour: vouchsafe that, holpen by the prayers of this devoted servant of the immaculate Mother of God; we too may strive to serve others for thy glory, and become like unto thy dear Son, who loved his own even unto the end; who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Divine Worship: The Missal.
‘On went Mother de Chantal, preaching community, unanimity and the love taught in the Gospels, by her own example showing faithfulness in the smallest details, evangelical poverty and simplicity; in the monasteries where she stayed she discouraged every effort to make a fuss over her. Each morning she rose before everyone else to serve as “Caller” so that the community would be able to get all their prayers done before things became too hectic. When she was on the road, Mother could not stop to eat until three or four in the afternoon, and in poor villages all she could get would be milk, black bread and curd cheese, but even with that simple fare “she was quite content, sharing her happiness with everyone she met, so that all around her there was an atmosphere of peace and holy joy.” Peace, joy, contentment – those were the marks of Mother de Chantal’s pilgrimages among her spiritual daughters. The only thing that ever bothered her was those “cheers”, towns whose whole populations lined the route to wave and applaud or insisted on holding meetings and banquets in her honour, those “triumphal processions” fit for a queen that made her trips so long and arduous. She was so humble that all the praise cut her to the quick and caused her horrible interior suffering’.
Fr André Ravier SJ, 1905-1999
O God, who madest Saint Jane Frances de Chantal radiant with outstanding merits in divers paths of life in the way of perfection: grant us, through her intercession; that, walking faithfully in our vocation, we may ever be examples of thy shining light; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
‘History confirms to us how glorious is the name of this Saint... His concern for the poor, the generous service that he rendered to the Church of Rome in the context of assistance and charity, his fidelity to the Pope which he took to the point of desiring to follow him in the supreme trial of martyrdom and the heroic witness of pouring our his blood, which he suffered only a few days later, are facts well known to all. St Leo the Great, in a beautiful homily, thus comments on the atrocious martyrdom of this “illustrious hero”: “The flames of could not overcome Christ’s love and the fire that burned outside was less keen than that which blazed within.” And he adds: “The Lord desired to spread abroad his glory throughout the world, so that from the East to the West the dazzling brightness of his deacon’s light does shine, and Rome is become as famous through Lawrence as Jerusalem was ennobled by Stephen." (Homily 85, 4: PL 54, 486).
…[W]hat better message can we glean from St Lawrence than that of holiness? He repeats to us that holiness, that is, going to meet Christ who comes ceaselessly to visit us, does not go out of fashion, on the contrary as time passes it shines brightly and expresses the perennial striving for God of humankind... May Lawrence, a heroic witness of the Crucified and Risen Christ be for each person an example of docile adherence to the divine will, so that, as we heard the Apostle Paul remind the Corinthians, we too may live in such a way as to be found “guiltless” in the day of Our Lord (cf. 1 Cor 1.7-9).
Pope Benedict XVI
‘God has given to his Mother great privileges and a mighty power of intercession. No one need fear that she will misuse her gifts or her power. She will not attempt to divert us from God; she will not scheme to attract us to the worship of anything less than the Most Holy Trinity: she will not jealously capture our devotion and hug it to her own self; she will not eclipse or obscure the streaming light of the divine Christ; she will do nothing to detract from his supreme godhead or his perfect manhood. Her one and only wish is to remain the handmaid of the Lord, and that all things shall be according to his word. Her one desire for us is that we should be like her, and thereby like him, in hearing the word of God and keeping it, her one command to men is: “Whatsoever he saith unto thee, do it.”
There she sits enthroned at his right hand; a glorious suppliant Queen beside her Lord and King. Yet what a suppliant! So near to God, so understanding of his mind, so ready to co-operate with his will. Remember that the Christian must see the universe as a great fellowship of co-workers: all working together with God. It has pleased him to delegate much of his work; some to the holy angels, some to the saints, and some even to us sinners here below. And in our devotional life the perspective will be distorted (to say the least) if we do not give Our Lady thousand times ten thousand and thousands and thousands, it is only when we realise that upon the King’s right hand stands the Queen in vesture of gold, and that around them is the court of Heaven numbering ten thousand times ten thousands and thousands of thousands, it is only when we make contact with that glorious array that our minds are really opened to the full grandeur of God, who reigns not as a solitary tyrant in lonely state, but as the loving Parent of that most wonderful of families, from which every family on earth is named – the family of the Holy Catholic Church which is also the Communion of Saints’.
from an address in the Pilgrim Church, Walsingham, 1956, by SJ Forrest, 1904-1977
‘Joyousness sprang out of [his] physical energy, the sleepiness that found no bed too hard, neither the bare ground, nor the altar steps, nor the carved stalls. He loved the company of others, particularly the young. His radiant purity drew to him the generous hearts of all youth and made his very hands cool of their passions some tempted undergraduates.
Austere and hardy, able easily to bear fatigue, affectionate, touched quickly to tears and laughter, devoted to others, full of a lively gaiety of heart, he had the very foundation of the preacher’s gifts. Well educated, happy in his memory, trained to argument, he never neglected any means of keeping himself perfect for the work. He was abstemious in his food, singing loudly with his clear voice across the hills, gesticulating even in his prayers with indefatigable energy; he swayed and carried audiences of every kind.
With all an artist’s temperament and emotion he had the gifts of organisation and command; decisive, humble, lovable, his only weakness was too zealous and eagerness at first in publishing (of course, with the best of all motives) his austerities and even pretending a holy hypocrisy.
But that passed, and out of the strenuous pressure of life he awoke to sincerity and strength. The dreamer of Fanjeaux saw before him the level plains of his whole career when he planned his friars and Prouille. His portrait shows us that dreamer whose dreams came true, and reveals line by line the hidden power that faced them in marshalled pageantry “through the gates of horn”’.
from ‘Life of St Dominic’, 1924, by Fr Bede Jarrett OP (1881-1934)
Almighty God, whose Priest Dominic grew in the knowledge of thy truth, and formed an order of preachers to proclaim the faith of Christ: by thy grace, grant to all thy people a love for thy word and a longing to share the Gospel; that the whole world may be filled with the knowledge of thee and of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Christ Jesus on a certain day
Upon a mountain went to pray,
Commanding Peter to be there,
And John and James to join in pray’r:
When, lo! the fashion of his face
Was alter’d through exceeding grace,
And all his garments glist’ring white
By far outshone the morning-light:
And, lo! two men talk’d with them there,
Which Moses and Elias were,
Who came in glory from their peace,
And spake to him of his decease,
To happen in a certain space,
And nam’d Jerusalem the place.
Peter mean time and th’ other twain
Slept sound, and when they woke again,
The bright appearance that he made,
And two men with him they survey’d:
Now haply as they went away,
The elder saint began to say,
‘Lord, it is pleasant to abide,
‘And in this place let us provide
‘Three tabernacles for the three,
‘Elias, Amram’s son, and thee’
This spake he on that great event,
Not understanding what he meant.
A cloud descended over-head,
And cover’d them, as this he said;
And now their hearts began to quake,
As in the cloud they entrance make:
And from the cloud a voice there broke,
Which thus the trembling saints bespoke,
‘This is my best beloved Son,
‘Attend that his commands be done!’
When those disciples heard the sound,
They straight fell prostrate to the ground.
But Christ approaching to their aid,
And touching them, ‘Be not afraid,
(He cry’d) ‘but instantly arise’
And when they lifted up their eyes,
No man they either see or hear,
Save Jesus only standing near:
And as the mountain’s brow they leave,
From Christ they this command receive,
‘This vision to no man explain,
‘Till Christ your Lord be ris’n again.’
Our Saviour’s want, and friendless state,
Which all the race of worldlings hate,
Were one great cause the restif Jews
Did his blest ambassage refuse:
Hence ev’n the very twelve were prone
To flee and leave the Lord alone
He therefore shew’d this glorious sight,
Transfigur’d into ghostly light,
To fortify the faith of those
Which from the chosen he had chose.
The caution giv’n, that they should hide
This vision, till their Master died
And rose again, was on this wise,
Lest envy ’mongst the nine should rise;
Or drive the Jews by crime on crime,
To cut off Christ before his time.
Christopher Smart, 1722-1771
‘[Saint John Vianney] got to heaven by keeping both feet on the ground. This is the sane balance of the saints, the wisdom of the serpent affixed to the innocence of the dove; without it, wisdom becomes sophistry, and innocence is bleached by naïveté. Vianney did often point to heaven, and it is not too fanciful to say that his finger rubbed against its gates. It has to be that way, for if heaven is out of reach it is also out of truth. The most pragmatic people have shown that it is not so, and even Christ, who came from farthest away, said that his home is within people. This can only mean that the road to heaven is along the route to souls, and that to lose a soul is also to lose everything besides a soul. Vianney is a witness; “Paradise is in the heart of the perfect, who are truly united to our Lord; hell in that of the impious; purgatory in the souls who are not dead to themselves”’.
Fr George Rutler
Almighty and merciful God, who didst wonderfully endue Saint John Vianney with pastoral zeal and a continual desire for prayer and penance: grant, we beseech thee; that by his example and intercession, we may win the souls of our brethren for Christ, and with them attain glory everlasting; through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
‘The Ordinariate is a precious gift from Pope Benedict XVI to the entire Church. It is first and foremost an act of genuine ecumenism. It allows former Anglicans to bring important parts of their great treasury of music, liturgy and spirituality with them into the Catholic Church. Now, when Anglicans enter the Catholic Church, they have generously been given the means to maintain important parts of their patrimony and so feel fully at home. The beauty of Anglican liturgies will also strengthen the Catholic Church and the unity it provides will strengthen Christianity’.
The Rt Hon Jacob Rees-Mogg MP
‘Alphonsian spirituality is in fact eminently Christological, centred on Christ and on his Gospel. Meditation on the mystery of the Incarnation and on the Lord’s Passion were often the subject of St Alphonsus’ preaching. In these events, in fact, Redemption is offered to all human beings “in abundance”. And precisely because it is Christological, Alphonsian piety is also exquisitely Marian. Deeply devoted to Mary he illustrates her role in the history of salvation: an associate in the Redemption and Mediatrix of grace, Mother, Advocate and Queen.
In addition, St Alphonsus states that devotion to Mary will be of great comfort to us at the moment of our death. He was convinced that meditation on our eternal destiny, on our call to participate for ever in the beatitude of God, as well as on the tragic possibility of damnation, contributes to living with serenity and dedication and to facing the reality of death, ever preserving full trust in God’s goodness.
St Alphonsus Maria Liguori is an example of a zealous Pastor who conquered souls by preaching the Gospel and administering the sacraments combined with behaviour impressed with gentle and merciful goodness that was born from his intense relationship with God, who is infinite Goodness. He had a realistically optimistic vision of the resources of good that the Lord gives to every person and gave importance to the affections and sentiments of the heart, as well as to the mind, to be able to love God and neighbour’.
Pope Benedict XVI
O God, who didst inflame blessed Alphonsus, thy Confessor and Bishop, with zeal for souls, and didst through him enrich thy Church with a new offspring: we beseech thee; that being taught by his wholesome precepts and strengthened by his example, we may be able to attain in gladness unto thee; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Divine Worship: The Missal.
Fr Lee Kenyon