The commemoration of the death of the Blessed Virgin Mary (the Dormition, or falling asleep, as it was known in the East) is known as the Assumption because of the tradition that her body did not decay but that she was raised up, body and soul, into heaven. This tradition was already present in the sixth century; by the beginning of the twentieth century it was widespread; and after consulting the views of bishops all over the world, the Pope formally and infallibly declared the doctrine of the Assumption to be part of the authentic and ancient doctrine of the universal Church.
There is nothing difficult about this dogma. Mary now shares the first fruit of those who have been raised. She is where we want to be. Where else would the Mother of God be if not in heaven with her Son?
It is also perfectly consistent with anglican theology. Thomas Ken, that great anglican divine writes in his hymn "Her virgin eyes, saw God incarnate born" -
"Heaven with transcendent joys her entrance graced,
next to his throne her Son his Mother placed;
and here below, now she's of heaven possessed,
all generations are to call her blessed. "
Saint Clare (1193/4 - 1253)
She was born at Assisi and came under the influence of Saint Francis. She left home at the age of 18 and, under Francis’s guidance, began a community that grew to become the order of the Poor Clares (she was later joined both by her sister and by her widowed mother). In its radical attachment to poverty the Rule of the order was much more severe than that of any other order of nuns. In 1215 Clare obtained from the Pope the privilege of owning nothing, so that the nuns of the order were to be sustained by alms and nothing else. Such a rule was (like the Franciscan rule) both a challenge to established structures and a risk to those who followed it, and successive Popes tried to modify it. In 1247 Pope Innocent IV promulgated a new Rule that allowed the ownership of communal property: Clare rewrote it. A later attempt at mitigation in 1263 partly succeeded (perhaps because Clare was dead by then): some communities followed the old, strict rule and some followed the new.
Clare was a noted contemplative and a caring mother to her nuns. She died at Assisi in 1253.
The drift towards laxity and the desire for strictness are part of the history of every religious order. In the history of most monasteries, for example, one can find both a steady relaxation of the rule and a desire on the part of some members of the community to be more severe and ascetic – possibly even to become hermits. The Maronist Saint Sharbel Makhluf is one example; the Trappist Thomas Merton is another. In our own lives, too, we are always oscillating between being too strict and being too lax. It seems to be a universal tension in the human race.
1000 MASS http://ustre.am/UCOl
St Laurence ( - 258)
Laurence was one of the seven deacons of the Church of Rome and was executed on 10th August 258, four days after Sixtus II and his companions. By now, few of the facts of his life are known for certain: he was probably a Spaniard from Toledo.
A basilica was built over Laurence’s tomb fifty years after his death, by the Emperor Constantine, and the anniversary of his martyrdom was kept as a solemn feast – with considerably more solemnity than that of Pope Sixtus II (we do not know why). By the sixth century, it was one of the most important feasts throughout much of western Christendom. His name occurs (with Sixtus’s) in the Roman Canon of the Mass.
St Ambrose of Milan relates that when St Lawrence was asked for the treasures of the Church he brought forward the poor, among whom he had divided the treasure as alms.[ "Behold in these poor persons the treasures which I promised to show you; to which I will add pearls and precious stones, those widows and consecrated virgins, which are the church's crown." The prefect was so angry that he had a great gridiron prepared, with coals beneath it, and had Lawrence's body placed on it (hence St Lawrence's association with the gridiron). After the martyr had suffered the pain for a long time, the legend concludes, he made his famous cheerful remark, "turn me over, I'm done on this side"
St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (1891 - 1942)
She was born into a practising Jewish family. She had a distinguished career as a philosopher and received a doctorate at the University of Freiburg, but her academic career was impeded because she was a woman.
Reading the autobiography of Saint Teresa of Ávila brought about her conversion to Catholicism and she was baptized on 1 January 1922. She taught at a Dominican girls’ school and studied Catholic philosophy. She became a lecturer at the Institute for Pedagogy at Münster but was thrown out of her post in 1933 as a result of the Nazi régime’s anti-Semitic legislation.
She entered a Carmelite monastery in Cologne and took the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. Her order moved her to the Netherlands to keep her safe from the growing Nazi threat. While a Carmelite she wrote an important philosophical book, seeking to combine the phenomenology of her former teacher Edmund Husserl with the philosophy of Aquinas, and she also wrote on St John of the Cross.
On 20 July 1942 the Dutch Bishops’ Conference had a statement read in all churches condemning Nazi racism. In retaliation the authorities ordered the arrest of all Jewish converts to Christianity. Teresa Benedicta was taken to Auschwitz and killed on 9 August 1942.
0930 MASS http://ustre.am/UCOl
An often quoted bit of Shakespeare. But names are important, they define who we are. Lately I have felt a little Schystophrenic – these days I am known by 2 names – here Fr Alex, but by some I am know as Br John-Aelred.
In the ancient worlds of Greece and Rome, the power of a name was very real. It was widely assumed that the essence of a being resided in its name, and that if people could gain access to the names of supernatural beings they could manipulate them into serving their own purposes. Magicians and sorcerers abounded who promised to reveal their secrets to common people. Their spells often included dozens of divine names. It was hoped that at least one of them would hit the mark and force a supernatural being to bring about the desired result.
The Biblical traditions have remarkable stories demonstrating the power of naming. God creates the world by naming “light,” “day,” “night,” and “sky.” The act of naming is the first vocation of Adam, who names the living beings that inhabit the earth. God calls Abram and Jacob and then renames them Abraham and Israel – names which mark a dramatic shift in their life’s trajectory, a new orientation, a new mission, a new way of life bound in faith to the God who named them. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, calls his flock by name and teaches them the power of his own name. Some of his followers, such as Peter and Paul, are given new names to mark a particular charism or mission. Early Christians called upon the name of Jesus Christ for healing and deliverance. Today the church remembers the power of naming when a child is christened at Baptism; not only is the child given its Christian name but from that point on it bears the name, “child of God,” which reflects the essence of its true nature and identity.
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Name, which marks the occasion when Mary and Joseph presented their newborn son to God in the Temple, to be circumcised and to receive the name of “Jesus.” The Hebrew word Yeshua that we translate as “Jesus” or “Joshua” means “God saves and helps.” Jesus’ parents had been given that name by an angel who promised that through this child God would bring salvation to the world.
The feast of the Transfiguration is one that is much beloved by Monks and Nuns.. It is a feast of Contrasts, of highs and lows, of darkness and light.
When Jesus took Peter, James, and John up on Mount Tabor and allowed them to see His divine glory it was to prepare them for the scandal of the Cross that they would encounter when they came down the mountain. And He prepares us in much the same way. If we want to be able to remain faithful to Him as we serve Him in the disguise of the poor and those in need, we must first encounter Him in the intimacy of prayer, in the warmth of community life, in the reassuring light of scripture, and above all in the strength of the Sacraments, principally the Holy Eucharist.
This year also on this day is the 150 anniversary of the death of John Mason Neale. The great anglican theologian, ecclesiologist and translater and writer of over 200 hymns.
He and many of the tractarians sought to bring back light into a church that had become very dark, at great personal cost. Tomorrow I shall have the priviledge of Offering Mass at St Mary's Convent, Chiswick (A house of the Society of St Margaret which he founded) and then will make a pilgrimage to East Grinstead to his grave and to Sackville College where he was Warden.
St Jean-Baptiste Vianney, Curé of Ars (1786 - 1859)
He was the son of a peasant farmer, and a slow and unpromising candidate for the priesthood: he was eventually ordained on account of his devoutness rather than any achievement or promise.
In 1818 he was sent to be the parish priest of Ars-en-Dombes, an isolated village some distance from Lyon, and remained there for the rest of his life because his parishioners would not let him leave. He was a noted preacher, and a celebrated confessor: such was his fame, and his reputation for insight into his penitents’ souls and their futures, that he had to spend up to eighteen hours a day in the confessional, so great was the demand. The tens of thousands of people who came to visit this obscure parish priest turned Ars into a place of pilgrimage.
The French State recognised his eminence by awarding him the medal of the Légion d’Honneur in 1848, and he sold it and gave the money to the poor.
1000 MASS http://ustre.am/UCOl
Of adoring Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament St. John Vianney has written:
"When we speak to Jesus with simplicity and with all our heart, He does like a mother who holds her child's head with her hands and covers it with kisses and caresses."
"When you awake in the night, transport yourself quickly in spirit before the Tabernacle, saying: 'Behold, my God, I come to adore You, to praise, thank, and love you, and to keep you company with all the Angels,' "
At last! Since the BT Broadband went down 2 weeks ago we have had terrible problems with the live stream! I think now all is sorted, so we should return to normal service!
ALL SAINTS CHURCH
Whats going on, liturgy, live streaming details, the ramblings of the Parish Priest.