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Set apart, marked, driven out, persecuted…and not one of the Western leaders condemn these atrocities!

Share this sign as a sign of solidarity with the Christians in Iraq

Share this sign as a sign of solidarity with the Christians in Iraq

Just in case you have come across this sign on social media sites and are not sure what it represents I thought I’d post it tonight in support of Christians in Mosul who are being crucified, murdered, tortured and forced out of Iraq for being Christian.The Pope has spoken out in support of these Christians, seemingly ‘forgotten’ by the Western leaders. Read articles here and here to understand the wider picture of the atrocities unfolding so far from us here in the West.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bp4vkZdCZI

Sanctify me, Save me, Inebriate me…..

5836429_origanima-christi

Pentecost: A Beautiful Illumination. Does your heart long for beauty?

On first sight of this painting, my heart skipped a beat and caught my breath for just a few moments. This has only ever happened to me once before, in Rome at the Northern Gate, at the church just inside the gate on the right hand side. It was there that we were blessed to join in the celebration of a Baptism.

There,  I came upon a painting of Our Lady at the Annunciation and its beauty brought me to tears in an instant. The shadow of the Divine was in that painting……..just as it is here in this one. I felt it at the core of my being.

I am an artist in waiting , painting and creating along the journey of Life. Searching for the Divine in the beauty of Christian art. This is one example of just one of those paintings. The exciting thing is that there is much beauty to discover and reflect upon. (This is one endeavour on my bucket list)

In her post, Elizabeth Scalia praises the merits of the little publication MAGNIFICAT. Not only does this reach out to adults but to children also. Take a peek at MAGNIFIKID . The slogan for the Magnifikid copy is encouraging: ‘To bring the Mass and prayer closer to the children’.

By Elizabeth Scalia (The Anchoress)

I first saw this beautiful painting and the reflection when visiting the blog CATHOLIC PURE AND SIMPLE

Illumination from Hours of the Usage of Rome, French School, 16th Century

Illumination from Hours of the Usage of Rome, French School, 16th Century

Sometimes the heart just longs for beauty. June’s cover of Magnificat Magazine took my breath away. That’s “Pentecost” an illumination from a book of Hours from the 16th Century, and this is what Pierre-Marie Dumont writes of it:

Shown at prayer, Mary intercedes for her “daughter” [the church] at the moment of her birth at Pentecost, just as she will constantly intercede for her to the end of time. Kneeling in the right foreground is Saint Peter, the first pope, wearing the mozetta in cloth of gold. Opposite him is Saint John, a handsome reddish-blond young man. In the middle ground, between Mary and Peter, stands Saint James. The first bishop of the Church, in the see of Jerusalem, he is recognizable by his ermine mozetta, symbol of the episcopacy. In a most stunning way, all are clad in white. For, at Pentecost, the Apostles underwent a kind of baptism. Like catechumens, they have cast off their old clothes to be robed anew in white. Through this divestiture and reclothing, the artist seeks to express a radical change in function and vocation; to receive this immaculate uniform is a royal, priestly and prophetic investiture. But further, the artist represents a gathering in the Upper Room where all are clothed in “dazzling white” (Luke 9:29) just as Christ at the Transfiguration…the miniaturist here offers us a vision of the glory of the Church, encapsulating at the same time both its divine origins as well as its fulfillment as the Body of Christ.

I love it. And for me the Magnificat is invaluable.

How do you feel about evangelising?

benedictgreatnesscomfortquote2

A need to recognise the dangerous ‘new secularism’

There are Christians who are incarcerated for not denouncing their faith. There are those who are forced to flee their country of birth. There are those who have died and still more are awaiting their death, because they refuse to denounce their faith in Jesus.

We should not only be praying for these fellow brothers and sisters but standing side-by-side voicing our concern about what is going on against our Faith in the world. How do we do this? By  writing to the Prime Minister, writing to the representative member of parliament in your constituency and raising awareness amongst Christians about this attack.

This morning I came across this article over at Christian Concern. A very important article about the ‘dangerous new secularism’. It’s real and  insidious. We need to take notice and stand up to denounce this trend. I have highlighted words and phrases that stand out as critical. Read this. I would appreciate your comments and thoughts on this article.Christians need to recognise that the ‘new secularism’ is trying to undermine and destroy their faith, a Free Church minister in Scotland has said.

David Robertson, who is also the Director of the Solas Centre for Public Christianity, warned about the difference between secularists who are “simply about the separation of church and state” and a “new secularism which is much more militant and dangerous”.

Writing for the website Christian Today, Robertson explained: “The vast majority of the posts on secular message boards are anti-religious.

Attack

“The main purpose is to attack religion in general, Christianity in particular and in very particular the Catholic Church and evangelicals.”

He said this attitude “quickly degenerates into personal abuse” if the comments are challenged.

The new secularism appears to come with ‘values’, Robertson argued, such as being pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia and pro-homosexuality.

Public

“Dare any one in public life suggest for example that marriage should be between a man and a woman and they are automatically decried as a homophobic bigot even (or perhaps especially) if they are homosexual and atheist”, he said.

Robertson commented: “The New Secularists want the complete neuterisation and privatisation of religion. They want only their views and values to be taught and allowed in public life.”

“We need to recognise the new secularism for what it is – an attempt to undermine and destroy Christianity.

Fundamentalism

“We need to stand against its fundamentalism and we need to stand up for the poor, the young, the disabled and the marginalised (who most need the Good News), by proclaiming the gospel of Christ against the elitism and intolerance of our new fundamentalist atheists”, he said.

The last Census of 2011 found that less than 78,000 people (or 0.14 per cent of the population) identified themselves as secularist, atheist, humanists, agnostics or as a free thinker.

Colin Hart, Director of The Christian Institute, said of atheists: “This tiny group of people lays great claims to have their beliefs at the front and centre of our national life.”

“What the atheists lack in numbers, they certainly make up for in terms of their influence and boldness. They understand that their beliefs are a worldview which they are determined to impose on everyone else”, he added.

Quoted from The Christian Institute 

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

 

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

The hope for results

image@merton.org

image@merton.org

After a long time of soul-searching and questioning of my role in the Lord’s vineyard, I shared my frustration at not ever feeling as though I do any good because of the secular world we live in today. As always, I received and answer to my calling out a little while afterwards. This time, my questioning was answered through the deep Christian insight and thought woven into the fabric of Thomas Merton’s writing.

‘ Do not depend on the hope of results. When you are doing the sort of work you have taken on, essentially apostolic work, you may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps, results opposite to what you expect.

As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the  work itself. And there too a great deal has to be gone through, as gradually you struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. The range tends to narrow down but it gets much more real. In the  end it is the reality of personal relationships which saves everything.

The big results are not in your hands or mine, but they suddenly happen and we can share in them; but there is no point in building our lives on this personal satisfaction which may be denied us and when after all is not that important.

All the good that you will do will come, not from you, but from the fact that you have allowed yourself, in the obedience of faith, to be used by God’s love.Think of this more and gradually you will be free from the need to prove yourself, and you can be more open to the power that will work through you without you knowing it.

The real hope than is not in something we can do, but in God, who is making something good out of it, in ways we cannot see.’ 

From:-  Thomas Merton’s ‘Struggle with peacemaking’.

Trust without wavering

05_40_4Iamthelightoftheworld_web1PSALM 26

From Biblia.com 

A Psalm of David.

1 Vindicate me, O Lord,

for I have walked in my integrity,

and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.

2 Prove me, O Lord, and try me;

test my heart and my mind.

3 For thy steadfast love is before my eyes,

and I walk in faithfulness to thee.

4 I do not sit with false men,

nor do I consort with dissemblers;

5 I hate the company of evildoers,

and I will not sit with the wicked.

6 I wash my hands in innocence,

and go about thy altar, O Lord,

7 singing aloud a song of thanksgiving,

and telling all thy wondrous deeds.

8 O Lord, I love the habitation of thy house,

and the place where thy glory dwells.

9 Sweep me not away with sinners,

nor my life with bloodthirsty men,

10 men in whose hands are evil devices,

and whose right hands are full of bribes.

11 But as for me, I walk in my integrity;

redeem me, and be gracious to me.

12 My foot stands on level ground;

in the great congregation I will bless the Lord.

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