‘We fear to leave this world because our nature is so befogged by sin that we cannot see the eternal glories to which we are called.
Contemplate death as the call of God, calling thee that thou behold himself. At death the Word of God will speak through thy being no new call; the call will be only the carrying-out of that voice which has been speaking within thee throughout thy life. The soul was not intended merely to animate the body for a few years, but to prepare the body for eternal life.
Meditate, then, upon the call of God in death. The soul which during the life has felt within itself an emptiness, condemning itself because it came so short of the divine will, yet sustained by faith in the divine love which still was calling it, - that soul find in this final call of God an intensity of delight, the sweetness of the divine manifestation.
Are we prepared to die? Is our life a real preparation for death? Consider that it is still possible for thee to die the death of a saint. It is still possible for thee to attain to this glory of God. Think not with thyself what thou hast been in the past, but realise the attraction of this heavenly light shining upon thee. There is the voice of impulse from within, and there is the voice of welcome from the other side of the grave. There is the illumination of the image of God within, and there is the glory of Him for whom thou prepares beyond the grave. Thou art indeed to be encouraged, thou art not to despair’.
Richard Meux Benson SSJE, 1824-1915
Today marks the ninth anniversary of the promulgation in 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI of the Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum cœtibus. It was this Constitution which gave life to the personal ordinariates on three continents, and which provides the norms by which the ordinariates were established and their ecclesial lives governed.
The Constitution represents a great gift on the part of the Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church to those Anglicans who, over many years, petitioned the Holy See for some form of corporate reunion with the Catholic Church. That response - the gift of the ordinariates as the means for achieving this prophetic unity - continues to be a blessing to those of us who have accepted this most generous offer and now abide happily in peace and safety - and with not a few precious treasures of our Anglican heritage in tact - within the Barque of Peter.
The full text can be read here.
‘[T]he Holy Father Benedict XVI – Supreme Pastor of the Church and, by mandate of Christ, guarantor of the unity of the episcopate and of the universal communion of all the Churches – has shown his fatherly care for those Anglican faithful (lay, clerics and members of Institutes of Consecrated life and of Societies of Apostolic Life) who have repeatedly petitioned the Holy See to be received into full Catholic Communion.
The Introduction to the Apostolic Constitution lays out the ratio legis of the provision emphasising a number of things which it might be useful to point out:
The Church, which in its unity and diversity is modelled on the Most Holy Trinity, was instituted as “a sacrament – a sign and instrument, that is, of communion with God and of unity among all people” (Lumen gentium, 1). For this reason every division among the baptised wounds that which the Church is and that for which the Church exists, and constitutes, therefore, a scandal in that it contradicts the prayer of Jesus before his passion and death (cf. John 17:20-21).
Ecclesial communion, established by the Holy Spirit who is the principle of unity in the Church, is, by analogy with the mystery of the Incarnate Word, at the same time both invisible (spiritual) and visible (hierarchically organised). The communion among the baptised, therefore, if it is to be full communion, must be “visibly manifested in the bonds of the profession of the faith in its entirety, of the celebration of all of the sacraments instituted by Christ, and of the governance of the College of Bishops united with its head, the Roman Pontiff”.
Although the one Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church governed by the Successor of Peter and the Bishops in union with him, there are also elements of sanctification and of truth to be found outside her visible confines, in the Churches and Christian Communities separated from her, which, because these elements are gifts properly belonging to the Church of Christ, are forces impelling towards Catholic unity.
Those Anglican faithful who, under the promptings of the Holy Spirit, have asked to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church have been moved towards unity by those elements of the Church of Christ which have always been present in their personal and communal lives as Christians.
For this reason, the promulgation of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus by the Holy Father, together with what will follow from this, indicate in a particular way the movement of the Holy Spirit.
The juridical means by the which the Holy Father has decided to receive these Anglicans into full Catholic communion is the erection of Personal Ordinariates (I § 1)’.
from The Significance of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum cœtibus
by Fr Gianfranco Ghirlanda SJ
‘The example of Martin’s life is ample evidence that we can strive for holiness and salvation as Christ Jesus has shown us: first, by loving God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind; and second, by loving your neighbour as yourself”.
When Martin had come to realise that Christ Jesus suffered for us and that he carried our sins on his body to the cross, he would meditate with remarkable ardour and affection about Christ on the cross. Whenever he would contemplate Christ’s terrible torture he would be reduced to tears. He had an exceptional love for the great sacrament of the Eucharist and often spent long hours in prayer before the blessed sacrament. His desire was to receive the sacrament in communion as often as he could.
Saint Martin, always obedient and inspired by his divine teacher, dealt with his brothers with that profound love which comes from pure faith and humility of spirit. He loved men because he honestly looked on them as God’s children and as his own brothers and sisters. Such was his humility that he loved them even more than himself and considered them to be better and more righteous than he was.
He excused the faults of others. He forgave the bitterest injuries, convinced that he deserved much severer punishments on account of his own sins. He tried with all his might to redeem the guilty; lovingly he comforted the sick; he provided food, clothing and medicine for the poor; he helped, as best he could, farm labourers and Negroes, as well as mulattoes, who were looked upon at that time as akin to slaves: thus he deserved to be called by the name the people gave him: ‘Martin of Charity’”.
from the homily at the canonisation Mass of St Martin de Porres by Pope St John XXIII, 1881-1963
O God, who didst lead Saint Martin de Porres by the way of humility to heavenly glory: grant that we may so follow the example of his holiness; that we may be worthy to be exalted with him to heaven; 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.
‘Of what profit to the saints are our prayers and the honour we pay them? Of what use is this feastday? Of what use to them are honours paid on earth when our Father in heaven, fulfilling the truth of his Son’s promise, has raised them to glory? Our songs of praise do not avail them nor do they need our honours, nor anything our service can offer. Surely we are the ones to benefit, when we venerate their memory. I confess that at the thought of them I am consumed by a loving desire to be with them.
…So let us strive to attain this glory with a passionate desire and an ambition that is entirely praiseworthy. And, that we may lawfully hope for it and reach out for such blessedness, the prayers of the saints are eminently desirable, that what we cannot attain by our own unaided efforts may be granted to us through their intercession’.
from the sermons of St Bernard of Clairvaux, 1090-1153
O Almighty God, who hast knit together thine elect in one communion and fellowship, in the mystical body of thy Son Christ our Lord: grant us grace so to follow thy blessed Saints in all virtuous and godly living; that through their intercession we may come to those unspeakable joys, which thou hast prepared for them that love thee; 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. - Divine Worship: The Missal.
Fr Lee Kenyon