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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

 

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.

Crossing the Bridge

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The act that touches the depth of our existence.

Dove, Jesus's Baptism Detail  By: Giusto De' Menabuoi

Dove, Jesus’s Baptism Detail
By: Giusto De’ Menabuoi

(From Catholic.org :- Bold type my emphasis.)

At his public audience on January 8, the first general audience of the calendar year, Pope Francis inaugurated a new series of catechetical talks, devoted to the sacraments.

Noting that the coming Sunday will be the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the Pope spoke on the importance of Baptism, which “grafts us to Christ and his Church.”

Baptism, the Pope emphasized, is “not a mere formality,” but “an act that touches the depth of our existence.” He strongly encouraged the faithful to learn the date of their Baptism, and celebrate that day each year. He observed that in the absence of some such celebration, “We end up considering it merely as an event that took place in the past – and not even by our will, but rather by that of our parents.”

Baptism makes the faithful “bearers of new hope,” the Pope continued, and that vocation should be lived out every day. He added that Baptism is a gift that we receive through someone else, since each Christian is baptized by another person in “an act of brotherhood, an act of affiliation to the Church.”

I have highlighted the main parts to the piece above. The phrase that stands out for me is ‘….not by our will, but rather by that of our parents’. The other statements contain a depth of meaning that continues to unfold for me as an adult Christian. Which sentence jumps out at you?

Baptism is a huge and pivotal milestone in anyone’s life, regardless of when you are Baptised. It is deemed to be so important  that my parents (probably urged on by my grandmother) wasted little time in having me Baptised - Grafting me to Christ and His Church. Parents only want the best for their children. To do what’s right. I know this because this is how we feel as parents, and we made the very same choice for our children.

Baptism is a sacrament which accomplishes several things, the first of which is the remission of sin, both original sin and actual sin—only original sin in the case of infants and young children, since they are incapable of actual sin; and both original and actual sin in the case of older persons. Holy Baptism holds the first place among the Sacraments, because it is the door of the spiritual life; for by it we are made members of Christ and incorporated with the Church.

baptism-at-font-a1

(From the Catechism of the Catholic Church)

1213 Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua),and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: “Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word.”

1214 This sacrament is called Baptism, after the central rite by which it is carried out: to baptize (Greek baptizein) means to “plunge” or “immerse”; the “plunge” into the water symbolizes the catechumen’s burial into Christ’s death, from which he rises up by resurrection with him, as “a new creature.”

1215 This sacrament is also called “the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit,” for it signifies and actually brings about the birth of water and the Spirit without which no one “can enter the kingdom of God.”

1216 “This bath is called enlightenment, because those who receive this [catechetical] instruction are enlightened in their understanding
. . . .” Having received in Baptism the Word, “the true light that enlightens every man,” the person baptized has been “enlightened,” he becomes a “son of light,” indeed, he becomes “light” himself:

Baptism is God’s most beautiful and magnificent gift….We call it gift, grace, anointing, enlightenment, garment of immortality, bath of rebirth, seal, and most precious gift. It is called gift because it is conferred on those who bring nothing of their own; grace since it is given even to the guilty; Baptism because sin is buried in the water; anointing for it is priestly and royal as are those who are anointed; enlightenment because it radiates light; clothing since it veils our shame; bath because it washes; and seal as it is our guard and the sign of God’s Lordship.

1229 From the time of the apostles, becoming a Christian has been accomplished by a journey and initiation in several stages. This journey can be covered rapidly or slowly, but certain essential elements will always have to be present: proclamation of the Word, acceptance of the Gospel entailing conversion, profession of faith, Baptism itself, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and admission to Eucharistic communion.

1230 This initiation has varied greatly through the centuries according to circumstances. In the first centuries of the Church, Christian initiation saw considerable development. A long period of catechumenate included a series of preparatory rites, which were liturgical landmarks along the path of catechumenal preparation and culminated in the celebration of the sacraments of Christian initiation.

1231 Where infant Baptism has become the form in which this sacrament is usually celebrated, it has become a single act encapsulating the preparatory stages of Christian initiation in a very abridged way. By its very nature infant Baptism requires a post-baptismal catechumenate. Not only is there a need for instruction after Baptism, but also for the necessary flowering of baptismal grace in personal growth. the catechism has its proper place here.

1232 The second Vatican Council restored for the Latin Church “the catechumenate for adults, comprising several distinct steps.” The rites for these stages are to be found in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). The Council also gives permission that: “In mission countries, in addition to what is furnished by the Christian tradition, those elements of initiation rites may be admitted which are already in use among some peoples insofar as they can be adapted to the Christian ritual.”

1233 Today in all the rites, Latin and Eastern, the Christian initiation of adults begins with their entry into the catechumenate and reaches its culmination in a single celebration of the three sacraments of initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist. In the Eastern rites the Christian initiation of infants also begins with Baptism followed immediately by Confirmation and the Eucharist, while in the Roman rite it is followed by years of catechesis before being completed later by Confirmati.

I sourced two family celebrations of Holy Baptism from way-back-when:-

Claire and Dawn

Dawn, Godmother to my sister Claire, wearing a mantilla in the 70′s. A beautifully serene photo.

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This, a picture of my brother-in-law’s Baptism which took place in 1959.I think this one’s particularly fetching of Richard, delineating a proud and upright sense of formality by the adults with an interesting take on the baby’s position during Baptism.

Anyone got Baptism pics to share that tells a story?

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.

The star of inspiration.

image@takeastandfacebook

image@takeastandfacebook

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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