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New Life.

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Contemplating the Easter Triduum, the Three Days Leading to Easter

Holy Thursday

"The Washing Of The Feet" by Fr. Seiger Koder.

“The Washing Of The Feet” by Fr. Seiger Koder

 

'The Last Supper' by Fr. Seiger Koder.

‘The Last Supper’ by Fr. Seiger Koder.

Only one Mass is celebrated on Holy Thursday.  This special Mass, the Mass of the Lord’s Super takes place in the evening.  It is during this Mass that we remember three fundamental mysteries of our Christian Faith.

First, we remember the gift of the Catholic priesthood. Secondly, we remember the gift of the Eucharist.  Thirdly, with the Washing of the Feet ceremony, we remember the mandate of the new commandment of love.  As a Christian people we are to live our lives with selfless love for all.

At the conclusion of this beautiful Mass, we process solemnly to the Altar of Repose.  It is there where the Eucharist remains for our adoration until midnight.  We accompany Jesus as he begins his Passion.  We pray in reparation for our own personal sins and the sins of the world.

 

Good Friday

Mass is not offered on this day.  Instead, we gather together in our parishes for the Good Friday Solemn Liturgy.  This liturgy is comprised of three parts.  First, we listen to the Word of God as the Passion is proclaimed.  Secondly, we venerate the Cross, the instrument that gained for us our salvation.  Thirdly, we receive the Eucharist that was consecrated the night before during the Holy Thursday Mass.

Other moments of prayer can take place during the day such as a directed meditation on the Seven Last Words and the Stations of the Cross.

"The Cricifiction''by Fr. Seiger Koder.

“The Crucifixion”by Fr. Seiger Koder.

Holy Saturday

On this quiet day we accompany the Blessed Virgin Mary as she sorrowfully stood at the tomb of our Lord waiting for the Resurrection.  In the evening, we participate in the Easter Vigil, the highlight of the Catholic liturgical year. For us today, Holy Saturday is a time of waiting, of expectation, of longing. For Mary, Mary Magdalene, the Twelve, and Jesus’ other disciples, Holy Saturday was when time stood still. They had no expectation, no longing. They had only confusion and grief, disorientation and loss.

In order to better understand the Easter Vigil, we should focus on four fundamental elements of the Easter Vigil: fire, word, water and bread.

The Easter fire is blessed by the priest celebrant.  The Easter candle, representing Christ, is brought into the dark church as the small Easter candles of each parishioner receives the light of Christ.  The light of Christ dispels the darkness of sin.  We then listen to the chanting of the Easter Proclamation, the Exultet.

“Exultet, let them exult, the hosts of heaven, exult, let Angel ministers of God exult, let the trumpet of salvation sound aloud our mighty King’s triumph!  Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory flood her, ablaze with light from her eternal King, let all corners of the earth be glad, knowing an end to gloom and darkness.”

We then attentively listen to the history of salvation through the seven readings of the Old Testament.  These readings lead us to the fulfillment of the Old Testament with the New Testament readings from the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Romans and the Gospel narrative of the Resurrection.

Following the homily, the liturgy of Baptism takes place.  The Catechumens are baptized and we renew our baptismal promises.  We are sprinkled with the waters of baptism as the joy of Easter begins.

After the liturgy of the Baptism, we then enter into the liturgy of the Eucharist as we normally do during each Mass.  The Bread of life fills our souls with the peace that only the Risen Jesus can give us.

'Tomb'by Sieger Köder

‘Tomb’by Sieger Köder

 

Leading by example

Forgive us our trespasses…

The Return of the Prodigal Son (detail) c. 1669 Oil on canvas, The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

The Return of the Prodigal Son (detail) c. 1669 Oil on canvas, The Hermitage, St. Petersburg- (Rembrandt)

The key to a healthy understanding of the value of confession lies in the recognition of the real, objective social nature of the drama of sin and forgiveness. This recognition has always been part of the traditional ritual practice of confession, even after the “one-on-one” encounter between the penitent and the confessor replaced ceremonies that included a public recognition and confession of certain sins. And although the absolution from sins is indeed a personal judgment based on the authority of the individual priest, the ritual includes a prayer that the penitent be granted pardon and peace “through the ministry of the Church.”

Forgiveness is not conditional. All that is required is for the sinner to accept the divine mercy unconditionally offered to him. The power of God’s mercy builds our defense, so to speak, on our acknowledgment of the truth of His love and our inability to respond to it. The rite of confession is an acknowledgment by the Church of the objectivity of God’s mercy. To “go to confession” means to join the Church in the celebration of this truth.

The Sacrament of Penance is a beautiful Sacrament through which we are reconciled to God, ourselves and our neighbours. Remember the words of St. Paul: “God is rich in mercy; because of His great love for us, He brought us to life with Christ when we were dead in sin” (Eph 2:4).

From the Compendium of the Catholic Church

298. When did he (Christ) institute this sacrament?

1485

The risen Lord instituted this sacrament on the evening of Easter when he showed himself to his apostles and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (John 20:22-23).

Why Is Confession Necessary?

Non-Catholics, and even many Catholics, often ask whether they can confess their sins directly to God, and whether God can forgive them without going through a priest. On the most basic level, of course, the answer is yes, and Catholics should make frequent acts of contrition, which are prayers in which we tell God that we are sorry for our sins and ask for His forgiveness.

But the question misses the point of the Sacrament of Confession. The Sacrament, by its very nature, confers graces that help us to live a Christian life, which is why the Church requires us to receive it at least once per year . Moreover, it was instituted by Christ as the proper form for the forgiveness of our sins. Therefore, we should not only be willing to receive the sacrament, but should embrace it as a gift from a loving God. ally 2

From the Compendium of the Catholic Church

231. What is sacramental grace?

1129, 1131
1134, 2003

Sacramental grace is the grace of the Holy Spirit which is given by Christ and is proper to each sacrament. This grace helps the faithful in their journey toward holiness and so assists the Church as well to grow in charity and in her witness to the world.

What Is Required?

Three things are required of a penitent in order to receive the sacrament worthily:

He must be contrite—or, in other words, sorry for his sins.
He must confess those sins fully, in kind and in number.
He must be willing to do penance and make amends for his sins.
How often should you go to Confession?

While Catholics are only required to go to Confession when they are aware that they have committed a mortal sin, the Church urges the faithful to take advantage of the Sacrament often. A good rule of thumb is to go once per month. (The Church strongly recommends that, in preparation for fulfilling our Easter Duty to receive Communion, we go to Confession even if we are aware of venial sin only.)

forgive us our trspassese as we forgive

Tune in

BiymqGpCEAAHDx8

Let light shine

lent

COMMITMENT-Staying loyal to what you said you were going to do.

images (1)

Taking inspiration from St. Joseph’s, New Malden’s web page, I agree with the importance of our Witness as Christians and our commitment as Baptised, involved lay faithful. It’s all about commitment , being committed to our journey as disciples of the Lord and remaining committed to the tenets of the Faith.

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In the first few centuries of the Church’s existence, evangelisation was crucial to its survival. Living in a pagan culture Christians had to live their Faith in a very intentional way. To admit one was a Christian,was to risk persecution, so Church members had to be passionate about their commitment. Then, in the fourth century, Emperor Constantine made Christianity the religion of the Holy Roman Empire. Suddenly, being a Christian became not just accepted, but fashionable.

Today, our experience as Christians is not far from those who lived so long ago in a pagan world. Today, being Christian means you ‘re a bit ‘otherwise’ to put it politely.Today we need to be living our Faith in a very intentional way. Today we have to know the reasons for believing and wanting to be Christian if we are to stand a remote chance of survival amongst secular free-thinkers.This is most especially true if we profess to be Catholic Christians.

It wasn’t until the Second Vatican Council in the 1960′s that Pope Paul VI began to call for a “new evangelisation” — and not just by clergy and religious, but by all Catholics. Blessed John Paul II said that to evangelize, you have to be evangelised; that evangelisation is an encounter with the ‘living Spirit;’ that sharing faith has got to become normal, a natural part of life.

 If someone says they like to connect with nature and the spiritual by walking along the beach, most Catholics today would probably say, “Good for you,” but would not go a step further and share how their own faith helps them connect with God. People are reluctant to push their beliefs on other people. We have to be convinced there’s something worth sharing. Many ‘catholics’ don’t really know their Faith at all, and other than just admitting to being ‘catholic’do not attend Mass or receive the Sacraments.

They have not sought to understand the reasons that lay behind our dedicated attendance at Mass every week;our observance of prayer and fasting on Fridays; our need to  receive Holy Communion or to receive absolution through regular attendance at Reconciliation. If you find yourself to be one of these ‘catholics’, I urge you to find out more about the reasons why we do what we do as Catholic Christians. The answers will open up a new way of thinking about Jesus and His love for you. Enquire about courses at your parish. Attend an RCIA group and learn about your gift of the Faith with new converts. JUST ASK.

The process of becoming a disciple involves three components: proclamation, conversion, and service and mission. I believe that resistance by Catholics to evangelise is  because the front-end piece of evangelisation deals with conversion: making Jesus Lord of our life. It calls for a radical change if we’re going to embrace this mission. Catholics do tend to be good at teaching prayers to children, making sure they’re educated in the faith and — simply living their lives, so that others may see them as good people and be attracted to what beliefs lead to that lifestyle.However, when it comes to sharing their faith and inviting others to participate in it, Catholics don’t fare as well.

So, in what ways can we show our commitment to sharing the Good News as Catholics? A few suggestions:-

  1. Mention that you have attended Mass over the week-end over sandwiches at lunchtime on Monday, and go further, sharing something about the readings or the Gospel that opened up a new insight to the Scriptures for you.
  2. Share anecdotes about your parish priest and his dedication to his flock. How does he show you  the love of Jesus through his words and actions?
  3. Invite ‘resting catholics’ to an early morning Mass, or just any Mass.
  4. Invite them to come along and visit a group at your parish.
  5. Share the news about the acts of social care and justice that your parish supports: eg’ St. Joseph’s parish supports the local food bank and our parishioners donated one tonne of food last month alone.’ This might open up new avenues of discussion leading back to our Faith, to understand why we’re helping the poor, what moral values and social teachings lead the Church to be a voice for the voiceless.
  6. Take an extra parish newsletter to share with someone and leave it with them.
  7. Share good Catholic literature written by Blessed John Paul II, Pope Emeritus Benedicte XVI, Scott Hahn. There is an abundance of choice.
  8. If you are a God-parent, make time to remain in your God-child’s life for the long haul, not just on the day of their Baptism. Find new ways of doing this.
  9. Create a family shrine at home with the crucifixes, pictures, and statues received at Baptisms and Confirmations. These speak volumes about your Faith and how you live it without having to say a word.
  10. Start a book club that reads Catholic literature and encourage members to bring a friend.

For inspiration and spiritual uplifting, pop into St. Joseph’s for Mass, or take a look at its vibrant and informative website.

St. Joseph’s New Malden, has embarked on a  Year of Renewal in 2014 which  builds on the recently ended Year of Faith, and is proposed as a Parish Year of Faith in Action  leading into a Year of Re-Dedication (2014-15) and a Year of Mission (2015-16) I’m looking forward to the next three years with anticipation. Want to join me on this promising new journey?

Image@worksbyfath.org

Image@worksbyfath.org

Not until the Baptism of the Lord!..and then Spiritually until Candlemas.

imgae@

imgae@orthodoxcatholicism.com

Christmas does not  begin in October,November or in December but at Midnight Mass on the 24th of December. So when does Christmastide come to an end then? Judging by some reactions, pretty much 3 days after Christmas, when all the decorations are put back in the loft and ‘duties’ around Christmas festivities are over. Sadly though this is not the case at all.

Christmas falls on 25th December. We mark the birthday of Jesus of Nazareth. Church and ancient custom then add a twelve-day follow-up season up to Epiphany, which in 2014 was celebrated on 5th January. However, liturgically speaking, the season of Christmastide lasts until the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (today ,12th January) and “Ordinary Time” does not commence until after this day. In some traditions, Christmas further continues until the feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple  (Candlemas) on 2nd February . 

Simeon takes Jesus in his arms and praises God: “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation...

Simeon takes Jesus in his arms and praises God: “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation…

The entire Christmas Cycle is a crescendo of Christ’s manifesting Himself as God and King — to the shepherds, to the Magi, at His Baptism, to Simeon and the prophetess, Anna (Luke 2).  

The days from the Feast of the Nativity to the Epiphany are known as “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” with Christmas itself being the first day, and Twelfth Night — 5 January — being the last of the twelve days. Christmastide liturgically ends on 13 January, the Octave of the Epiphany and the Baptism of Christ. But Christmas doesn’t end spiritually – i.e., the celebration of the events of Christ’s life as a child don’t end, and the great Christmas Cycle doesn’t end — until Candlemas on 2 February.

candlemas1

The Presentation

In this way, just as From Ash Wednesday on, we commemorate Christ in the desert for forty days, and just as after Easter we celebrate for forty days until the Ascension, after Christmas we celebrate the Child Jesus for forty days — all through the season of Time After Epiphany — until Candlemas.

The delineation of those Christ Child celebrations looks like this:

  • Christmas
    Christ is born
  • Feast of the Holy Innocents
    Herod slaughters the baby boys in order to kill the Christ Child
  • The Circumcision (the Octave of Christmas)
    Jesus follows the Law
  • Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus
    After He is circumcised, He is named and becomes a part of the Holy Family
  • Twelfth Night 
    The Twelve Days of Christmas as a Feast come to an end
  • Feast of the Epiphany
    Jesus reveals His divinity to the three Magi, and during His Baptism, and at the wedding at Cana
  • Baptism of Our Lord/Octave of the Epiphany
    Christmas liturgically ends with the Octave of the Epiphany.
  • Feast of the Holy Family
    Jesus condescends to be subject to His parents
  • Feast of the Purification (Candlemas)
    40 days after giving birth, Mary goes to the Temple to be purified and to “redeem” Jesus per the Old Testament Law of the firstborn. Christmas truly ends as a Season with Candlemas.

Let friends and family know about this and continue to celebrate the Nativity of our  Lord and Saviour until the 2nd of February.

Mother of God

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image and prayer @cathy pease designs on facebook

Loving Mother of the Redeemer,

gate of heaven,

star of the sea,

assist your people who have fallen yet strive to rise again.

To the wonderment of nature you bore your Creator,

yet remained a virgin after as before.

You who received Gabriel’s joyful greeting,

have pity on us poor sinners.

Amen.

Christian, remember your dignity

Christ our Saviour is born.

Christ The Saviour is born.

Herewith and excerpt from a wonderful Christmas homily of Pope St. Leo the Great: (Catholic Online)

Christian, remember your dignity 
Dearly beloved, today our Saviour is born; let us rejoice. Sadness should have no place on the birthday of life. The fear of death has been swallowed up; life brings us joy with the promise of eternal happiness.No one is shut out from this joy; all share the same reason for rejoicing. Our Lord, victor over sin and death, finding no man free from sin, came to free us all. Let the saint rejoice as he sees the palm of victory at hand. Let the sinner be glad as he receives the offer of forgiveness. Let the pagan take courage as he is summoned to life. In the fullness of time, chosen in the unfathomable depths of God’s wisdom, the Son of God took for himself our common humanity in order to reconcile it with its creator. He came to overthrow the devil, the origin of death, in that very nature by which he had overthrown mankind. 
And so at the birth of our Lord the angels sing in joy: 

Glory to God in the highest, and they proclaim peace to men of good will as they see the heavenly Jerusalem being built from all the nations of the world. When the angels on high are so exultant at this marvellous work of God’s goodness, what joy should it not bring to the lowly hearts of men? 

Beloved, let us give thanks to God the Father, through his Son, in the Holy Spirit, because in his great love for us he took pity on us, and when we were dead in our sins he brought us to life with Christ, so that in him we might be a new creation. Let us throw off our old nature and all its ways and, as we have come to birth in Christ, let us renounce the works of the flesh. 

Christian, remember your dignity, and now that you share in God’s own nature, do not return by sin to your former base condition. Bear in mind who is your head and of whose body you are a member. Do not forget that you have been rescued from the power of darkness and brought into the light of God’s kingdom. 

Through the sacrament of baptism you have become a temple of the Holy Spirit. Do not drive away so great a guest by evil conduct and become again a slave to the devil, for your liberty was bought by the blood of Christ. 

Cathy Pease Designs

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