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Candles at the end of Christmas

“Candlemas Day” by Marianne Stokes (1855–1927) Austrian Painter

“Candlemas Day” by Marianne Stokes (1855–1927) Austrian Painter

A painter born Marianne Preindlsberger at Graz in the Austrian province of Styria.  She settled in England after her marriage to the landscape painter Adrian Scott Stokes (1854–1935) whom she had met in Pont-Aven and was considered one of the leading artists in Victorian England.

I am moved by the serenity of the young woman in the painting and feel a stirring affinity with her as Catholic Christian, as this image reaches out to me from across the centuries. Praying in the stillness of early morning perhaps, by the light of a candle. I too light a candle , read the Bible and say the Rosary at prayer. A Christian doing what Christians have done for 2000 years. 

Candlemas is a Christian festival celebrated on 2 February.  It marks the end of Epiphany, the Purification of the Virgin Mary and the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, when Jesus was recognised by Simeon as the one for whom he has been waiting. (Luke 2:25-40)  

The feast celebrates the day on which the infant Jesus was taken by Mary His Mother and St. Joseph to the Temple in Jerusalem where thanks would be offered to God, according to the correct and ancient Jewish custom. When Simeon , ”an upright and devout man”, well advanced in years saw them he knew that this was the Child who was the Messiah for which Israel and the world had been waiting. He took the child in his arms and praised God and  declared that this child would be a light to all the world, a light that would enlighten pagans and give honour to the people of Israel from whom he had sprung.

To commemorate what Simeon said , there are special candle services in church – sometimes with a procession into the church beforehand. These candles are blessed, and we can take them home with us where they can be lit again for a family candlelight supper. 

…after Candlemas the days start getting longer, and we don’t need artificial light in the evenings.Spring is on the way and we should start enjoying it.

Quoted from ‘A book of Feasts and Seasons’, by Joanna Bogle (available at Amazon)

Image@http://www.freeimageslive.co.uk/

Image@http://www.freeimageslive.co.uk/

Saturday 8th February: – A day with Mary

1virgin

See  here for details for what promises to be a day of Blessings and spiritual growth through Our Lady.

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Awards share and connect.

On first receipt of the traditional WordPress awards from fellow bloggers, I was dubious. On the flip-side though, I appreciated/appreciate the recognition for my intentional work in the Vineyard, and through these awards have been exposed to excellent blogs that I would not have found without specific mention from fellow bloggers.

For this particular award, I graciously thank To Love and Truth, as Michael’s blog provides an inspirational and educational read each time I visit.  I am honoured.

It’s been a while since awards have been doing the rounds, and I would like to thank the readers of my blog for  support and contributions over the past year. Thank you…many blogs are deserving of these awards.

I’m particularly grateful for consideration of this award as I do endeavour to share special moments and thoughts with the readers of 1catholicsalmon.

best-moment-award

The Rules:

1.  Use the award logo in the post.

2.  Link to whoever nominated you.

3.   Write 10 pieces of information about yourself.

4.   Nominate fellow bloggers who meet the indicated criteria.

5.   Leave a comment on the nominees’ blogs to tell them of the award.

1. I am an avid reader, especially of all things regarding Catholicism, and at the moment I’m reading an e-book called ‘Catholic Christianity’ by philosopher Peter Kreeft. Highly recommendable.

2. I was born in South Africa, and I am currently hankering after the warm sun and sunny skies that abound there.

3. I belong to the wonderful parish of St. Joseph New Malden, where the Truth of our faith is promoted daily, and where I receive my Spiritual Food.

4. I had the unexpected pleasure of meeting a man who radiates the love of God: Rev Stuart Windsor.

While  I was shopping in a Christian bookstore, he walked in and began chatting with those around him as if he were acquainted with everyone. He possesses a sort of magnetism that cannot be ignored and I was intrigued by this elderly gentleman’s’ confidence, and sense of authority. His demeanour and obvious  joy set him apart from the rest of us in that shop, and I wanted to know more about him.

I walked over to pay for my books when he began chatting with me also. He asked me which church I belong to and proceeded to make a positive remark about St. Joe’s, telling me of a fine young priest he knew from there.

He  handed me a business card. On it, was the logo of the CSW (Christian Solidarity Worldwide organisation –  www.csw.org.uk ) and his name:

Rev Stuart Windsor - underscored  with the title , ‘Special Ambassador‘.This title would’ve meant nothing had I just been handed the card and not met him personally. Meeting this man changed me in a way that I cannot explain, and I understood for the first time what it’s like to meet someone really close to God. Don’t ask me how I knew this, I just did. I proceeded to look up information about him, and it made for some very interesting reading. Click the link above for interesting facts about him.

5. My beloved and I have been married for 28 years this year. It still feels so right.

6. The older I get the deeper my love for Jesus grows.

7. I love praying the Rosary. I have a collection of Rosaries.

8. Reconciliation is part of a monthly routine, and is one of my favourite Sacraments.

9. I have a picture of Mary Magdalene (Jesus’ friend) at His feet. I want to have it printed on a canvas to place at the side of my bed.541611_10152642400455584_1973326944_n

10. I prefer attending Mass that is Ad Orientem

So, I nominate these chosen blogs for the following awards:-

Best Moment Award (to person/blog that brought a special moment): 

  1. Art in Faith
  2. Reinkat
  3. 8 kids and a business
  4. Catholic alchoholic
  5. 365 Missional practice
  6. Wonder and Beauty

     Semper Fidelis Award (Semper Fidelis for always faithful):semper-fidelis-awardBridges and tangents

Biltrix

God and politics UK

Dominus mihi adjutor

Jericho tree

Catechesis in the third millenium

Sunshine Award (to to person/blog that brought sunshine):

sunshineawardCatholic Cravings

Catholic teen apologetics

Catholic working mom

Biltrix

Reader Appreciation Award:reader-app-award

 Along the watchtower

A model for men and women searching for the Mystery of God.

cardinalnewmanWhen we say the Creed, we need to realise that we are doing something extraordinary and counter cultural. In a world where so many people live atomised existences, we are doing something as a community. In an age that shies away from commitment, as we say the Creed we are committing ourselves to a set of convictions and to each other. The Creed is our symbol, the way we recognise each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s a sign of our common membership. It is our Catholic identity. (JerichoTree). It is to this identity that Newman endeavoured to cleave himself through his search for Truth in the Mystery of God.

“I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it, who know so much of history that they can defend it.” ~ John Henry Newman

I went on a pilgrimage to Newman’s Littlemore College in Oxford, where I learned more about this inspirational man,and his fascinating journey into the arms of the Catholic Church.The influence of Blessed John Henry Newman, one of the outstanding voices of 19th century Roman Catholicism, has spread throughout the Christian world and is stronger than ever today. He lived and prayed for four years at The College in Littlemore where he was received into the Roman Catholic Church on 9th October 1845.Blessed John Henry Newman lived at “The College” at Littlemore from 1842-1846, making it a place of quiet prayer and study for himself and some friends.

Littlemore college

Littlemore college

“There it has been, that I have both been
taught my way and received an answer to my prayers.”

Newman, Letters and Diaries, XI 132/3

Newman’s oratory has again become a place of prayer and worship, with the Office, daily hours of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and regular masses. A substantial and specialized collection of Newman-related literature has been built up on the site of Newman’s own library, together with an exhibition of Newman memorabilia (prints, etchings, photographs, sculptures and original letters). Newman wrote in total, 20.000 letters!

In 1963 Pope Paul VI beatified Fr. Dominic Barberi, The Passionist ,who received John Henry Newman into the Catholic Church. On that occasion the Pope spoke about Blessed Dominic; but he also spoke about Newman. He said ‘, Newman’s journey of Faith was ,’the greatest, the most meaningful, the most conclusive, that human thought ever travelled during…the modern era.’

This quote from Blessed Barberi on Newman's request to become Catholic.

This quote from Blessed Barberi on Newman’s request to become Catholic.

A relic of Blessed Dominic Barberi at eh church I visited at Littlemore.

A relic of Blessed Dominic Barberi at the church I visited at Littlemore.

I had an opportunity to pray in front of the Crucifix Blessed Newman prayed in front of daily.

I had an opportunity to pray in front of the Crucifix Blessed Newman prayed in front of daily.

Newman's bedroom kept today as it was when he lived there.

Newman’s bedroom kept today as it was when he lived there.

Pilgrims can visit Newman’s room, in which many historic features have been preserved. The chapel, which is regularly used for prayer and Mass, is similar to how it would have been when Newman and his companions prayed there. I prayed in the same place where Newman spent so much of his time in search of the truth, and where he had the grace and happiness of being received into what he believed to be “the one true Fold of Christ” (Letters and Diaries XI, 5).

Newman's writing desk on which Blessed Barberi performed the mass after Newman's conversion. Newman never write on it again and kept it inverted after this .

Newman’s writing desk on which Blessed Barberi performed the mass after Newman’s conversion. Newman never wrote on it again and kept it inverted after this mass .

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Newman’s writing desk in his bedroom.

The intellectual genius of Newman coupled with is humility struck me to the core. His dogged determination in search of the truth cost him dearly as far as his friends and family were concerned.  On his desk is a diary of his writings and included is a letter to his sister Jemima telling her of his decision to convert to Catholicism. He begins, ”My dear Jemima, I must tell you what will pain you greatly, but I will make it as short as you would wish me to do…”.  This letter he sent to her only after his conversion. The non-pre-existent relationship with his sister caused his much sadness.

In 1845 Newman wrote his ‘Development of Christian Doctrine’ and towards the end of this work it became clear to him that he must seek admission into the Roman Catholic Church. When Fr Dominic Barberi visited Littlemore, Newman and two of his companions were received into the Church on 9th October 1845.

In his Development of Christian Doctrine’, Newman spoke of how ‘to live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.’ These memorable words are well known and often quoted, and it seems obvious that change was a particular characteristic of his life. The Roman Catholic Church in England was itself going though great change at the time of Newman’s conversion.

As a Catholic I worship God.

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Two years ago I attended a Baptist service celebrating the Dedication of a friend’s baby to God. A  substantial service which consisted of a significant praise and worship segment, prayer, preaching and finally the dedication of little Noah. I was moved by the intense prayer for the baby during this part of the service. Four members of the church community (who seemed to have standing in the community) prayed over the baby. This was followed by tea and then a luncheon.

It was at the luncheon that  my daughter and I got chatting with a couple who were seated at our table. We discussed the service amongst other things and the conversation inevitably led to us discussing which church we belonged to. As soon as we said that we attend St. Joseph’s, an uncomfortable (albeit short) silence ensued and the conversation petered out after that.

On coming across the above poster recently, my mind was taken back to this encounter and yes, I understand now what my Catholicity may have represented to that couple. Their reaction was a plainly visible physical recoiling as they realised that we are Catholic.

This brings me to the sermon at Mass last Sunday. The picture on the bottom right of the poster brought me here, because what I do at Mass is exactly this, listen to the Word of God, and  praise Him in thanksgiving through song and prayer and receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus. We were reminded that the Eucharist means ‘thanksgiving’. That we should  give thanks for everything we have, freely and willingly. We should go to church every week to ‘freely and willingly’ give heartfelt thanks to God, not because we feel that it’s our duty to go, but because we want to thank God  for all He has done for us through Jesus. We were gently reminded too, that often-times Catholics take for granted the Great Gift that  we have in the Eucharist because that is what we’re used to having at Mass. There shouldn’t be an ‘ought’ attached to this weekly Worship. We should respond in true thanks-giving each week. If there is an ‘ought’ attached to our attending Mass, we should stop and think about our motives.

‘What is our calling as Christians? To thanks God. When all our worldly goods are removed from us and we are faced with the essential nature of our lives, the most important ‘thing’ that we are left with is God. We need to thank God for Him, because He is everything. We are totally dependant of God’s divine mercy. He gave Himself to us, and as an act of worship, we give thanks to Him for this.’ 

This is why I go to church.

‘Blessed are you for Believing.’

As part of the Year of Faith, the theme of this year’s Marian Day is ‘Blessed are you for Believing.’ 

Pope Francis will consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on October 13th as part of Marian Day celebrations that will involve the statue of Our Lady of Fatima.
The statue is normally kept in the Shrine of Fatima in Portugal but will be in Rome this weekend for the consecration which is one of the highlights of the ongoing Year of Faith.
Our Lady of Fatima appeared to three shepherd children in the village of Fatima in Portugal in 1917. She warned of violent trials in the twentieth century if the world did not make reparation for sins. She urged prayer and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

The statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

The  shrine at Fatima  where Our Lady appeared to the visionaries.

The shrine at Fatima where Our Lady appeared to the visionaries.

med_2011012511_pastorinhos_09Lúcia dos Santos with fellow visionaries Jacinta and Francisco Marto.

2011015800_fatima_01b

The Basilica at Fatima.

It is hoped that the Year of Faith, declared by Pope Benedict XVI, has helped us to deepen this great gift which we can easily take for granted. The apostles begged the Lord to increase their faith as they knew Faith’s paramount importance in their relationship with Jesus. Jesus assures them and us that it takes only a little Faith, the size of a mustard seed, to make the impossible possible. Without doubt we need Faith to help us face the hostile atmosphere we often find ourselves surrounded with – life without God, love, hope and purpose. Faith, Hope and Charity (Love) make all the difference in our dealings with many who have lost the reason to live. We need that Faith which the apostles prayed for, so that we may be strengthened to stand firm and be of help to those who have lost faith in God, man/woman and themselves. Rightly it has been said, “the righteous shall live by his faith.” (Hab. 2:4)

THIS IS WHO WE ARE :-

This message is such an important one.
In order for groups to grow and flourish; in order for the parish to feel like home from home; in order to meet Christ at church- we need to accept our responsibility as being that important part , which is church.

A ‘must-have’ read.

I purchased this book last year as a digital copy and then almost immediately purchased a hard copy because is is such a wonderful book to ‘have and to hold close’ (in your hands and in your heart!) This is a book I will be purchasing as gifts  for friends and family.

THE BETTER PART, buy Fr John Bartunek

image@http://live.regnumchristi.org/

image@http://live.regnumchristi.org/

is a’ Christ-centred resource for personal prayer.’ It is changing my relationship with Jesus and is helping me through the most difficult time of my Journey to Christ to date. My prayer life is becoming deeper and more meaningful. I feel prepared and eager for a meeting  with the Lord every day.

It’s the only book that has shared with me a 4 step structure to personal meditation, making my prayer life more intimate and meaningful for me.

Here are some titbits to whet your appetite:

  1. ‘ Jesus has made the appointment to meet  with you in prayer’ –  In other words it’s no accident that I am yearning to be closer to Jesus and that a deeply personal relationship is one that I want so much with Him, because he yearns for the same relationship with me. He is the one calling me to prayer.
  2. ‘ Among the most basic prayer commitments is one that can have more bearing on your life that any other, because is is more personalised: the daily meditation.’ - I do much spiritual reading to find out more about my Faith and my Lord and Saviour, I need to keep a daily meeting with my Lord for the sole purpose of getting to know Him better and to recommit myself to uncovering His will for my life. I realise that there is a difference between spiritual reading and meditation in that even the readings of the day can become spiritual reading, and not so much a meditative reading if I merely read them as part of a routine day in and day out. In order to get to know the Lord more intimately and to unwrap His will for my life, His messages for me alone, I need to excavate what’s in the Gospel with tenacity and purpose. This is done through meditation and prayer over the Gospels.
  3. ‘Prayer is similar to walking. To walk everyone has to follow the same principles of physics- friction, gravity, muscle propulsion, momentum. And yet, even though the principles are the same, everyone’s walk is a little bit different. When babies learn to walk, they start out clumsy and awkward, until they develop the rhythm and style proper to their body type, personality, and environment. Meditation follows a similar pattern: the same principles for all, activated uniquely by each. The Better Part can help you wherever you happen to be on the spectrum.’ 

images

If any one of you have read this amazing book please comment on how you have found it deepening your relationship with Jesus. I intend to post more on this book as I read on.

the Story of Mary and MArtha: Mary is doing 'the better part', listening to the Lord's teaching.

In the Story of Mary and Martha: Mary is doing ‘the better part’, listening to the Lord’s teaching.

I Love This Guy: Pope Francis…

I borrowed the title of this post from this article  written by Father James Martin SJ  because it describes the way I feel about our Papa and the amazing example he’s setting for us all.

I feel uplifted by Pope Francis’s joy and love for humanity, not to mention his sense of confidence and self-assuredness. He conducts himself as someone who has no worry in the world but to spread the love of Jesus. He is doing this in such a loving way. His sincerity shines through.

He is inspirational to all. WYD in Rio is testament to his individual approach and independent thought, he reacts naturally sharing his demeanour since his appointment as the Vicar of Christ, as one who knows what he has to do and he’s going full steam ahead to share the Good News.

My favourite line from this article by Father James,‘Because of this I love the guy. Because of this I love God even more.’ Surely this is what it’s all about?

These photos are testament to this verve, energy and stamina. (All photos are from various sites)

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WYD 1

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2

APTOPIX Brazil Pope World Youth Day.JPEG-03e33

f2RPz.St.4

images (18)

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On his arrival in Rio, he chose to ride in this little Fiat, which took the wrong turn and ended up in Rio traffic.

On his arrival in Rio, he chose to ride in this little Fiat, which took the wrong turn and ended up in Rio traffic.

slide_304920_2749741_free

Catholic England.

I came across this video clip on Catholicism Pure and Simple and thought it deserves to be shared in this space. I’m not a follower of Michael Voris, but this clip made me stop in my tracks and think about the implications of what he is saying about Catholicism in England and world-wide. Off the bat, I admit to being downhearted and filled with dismay at the sad picture he is painting about Catholicism generally. I proceed, sharing my thoughts and feelings about his  brush strokes.

Mr. Voris claims that there is a ‘philosophical and ideological war’ being waged between faithful Modernists and a growing  following that are proud to be known as Traditionalists on this English Isle.  He goes on to say that the contemporary Modernist, trendy Liberalist Christians  are dying away and that there is no sign of growth or vitality within modern day Catholicism here in England, other than a slow trickle of those  who are moving towards Traditional  Masses. I believe this trickle towards Traditionalism it’s a good sign.

He points to the article from the Economist to support his views

I quote from the Economist article Michael Voris refers to; 

…the congregation is young and international. Like evangelical Christianity, traditional Catholicism is attracting people who were not even born when the Second Vatican Council tried to rejuvenate the church. Traditionalist groups have members in 34 countries, including Hong Kong, South Africa and Belarus. Juventutem, a movement for young Catholics who like the old ways, boasts scores of activists in a dozen countries. Traditionalists use blogs, websites and social media to spread the word—and to highlight recalcitrant liberal dioceses and church administrators, who have long seen the Latinists as a self-indulgent, anachronistic and affected minority. In Colombia 500 people wanting a traditional mass had to use a community hall (they later found a church).

This ‘movement of young Catholics who like the old ways’ is to me  an encouraging sign , in that the youth are not easily swayed. They think for themselves and see right through farcical arguments. They recognise Authenticity for what it is:- Right and True. They wear their knowledge on their sleeves and are proud to share it.

Looking back over the last 12 years, my family and I have been blessed to be members of a strong and established parish, thanks to the dedication and foresight of our parish priest. He is a stickler for doing everything properly, which has led to undue criticism from those who feel  as though they are being spoken to in a ‘condescending manner’ after being reminded that:

  1. the at Mass it’s unacceptable to walk in after the Gospel has been read,
  2. or that it reflects poor manners to leave Mass straight after Communion,
  3. that when you enter the Church building you should do so in a quiet manner because it is a place set aside for prayer and worship,
  4. and that after Mass you should leave in silence out of consideration for those who are remaining behind  in prayer.

While my better half and I have grown to love and appreciate ‘Fr. Brown’s’ direct approach to how things are to be respected planned and executed, others have decided that his ‘nit-picking’ has driven them to leave the parish for ‘greener pastures.’  We’re proud of  our Pastor for being strong and unafraid of upholding  basic principles of behaviour expected in a Catholic church anywhere in the world.’ Fr. Brown’s ‘ tenacity and strength of character are the attributes that the thinking Catholic will be drawn to.

Portrait of G.K. Chesterton by Timothy Jones--see more of his art at http://timothyjones.typepad.com/timothy_jones_daily_paint/ This painting was used on the cover of "In Defense of Sanity", a collection of essays by G.K. Chesterton.

Portrait of G.K. Chesterton by Timothy Jones–see more of his art at http://timothyjones.typepad.com/timothy_jones_daily_paint/
This painting was used on the cover of “In Defense of Sanity”, a collection of essays by G.K. Chesterton.

I take offence at Voris’s claim to the lack of growth or vitality  within Catholicism here: he is obviously unaware of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal which is alive and well, boasting growing numbers  at annual  Catholic week-long conferences such as ‘New Dawn‘ and ‘Celebrate’the excellent work done by the Catholic theatre group TEN TENthe wonderful work of the SION community; the tireless work done by the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal during the annual  Spirit in the City faith Festival in the heart of London’s West end over 4 days and every other day of the year; the popularity of Youth 2000the growing numbers of youth from England attending World Youth Day celebrations (which includes both those from the Modern and Traditional ‘persuasions’); the birth of  a new Catholic radio station (Heart gives unto Heart) available 24/7; the 80 000 + Catholics who joined the Holy Father in Hyde Park alone not to mention the development of the Catholic Voices organisation developed especially before the Holy Father’s visit to improve the image of Catholicism in the press here in England.

Sure things are changing in Catholicism, but I think, for the better. Papa Francisco points clearly in a new and fresh direction.

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