Monday, March 7, 2016

Monday, December 21, 2015

Prayer to the Angel who comforted our Lord

St Luke tells us that an angel was sent by the Eternal Father to strengthen and comfort our Saviour in the Garden of Olives, in his Agony. The Servant of God, Bernardino of Portogruaro, composed a prayer, which was endorsed by the Holy See, by the granting of an indulgence.
« The one who had the task of consoling the Head in his Agony, received also the power and the mission of consoling the members [of Christ, ourselves] when they are in pain, and above all in agony. Test this out and you will see that devotion to the Consoling Angel of Jesus, will be immensely precious to you during your life and at the hour of your death.»

Hail, holy Angel, Consoler of my Agonizing Jesus, and I praise with you the Most Holy Trinity, for having chosen you among all the angels, to comfort and strengthen Him, who is the consolation and strength of all the afflicted. I beg you, for the sake of the honour you received, and the humility, obedience and affection with which you helped the Holy humanity of my Saviour Jesus, who fell under the weight of the view of the sins of the world, and especially mine, to obtain for me perfect contrition for all my faults, deign to console me in my distress which weighs on me today, and during all others which will come to me in the future, and especially in my last agony. Amen.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Thursday, October 1, 2015

An Awesome Miracle of the Scapular receives Providential Confirmatrion

I love miracles. I mean real ones, such as those approved by ecclesiastical authority. But there is something that impresses me even more. You see, God is almighty. “God can do all that he wills to do: he is the all-powerful one” (“Catechism of Pope Saint Pius X”) and He watches over all things, great and small: “God takes care of created things and exercises providence over them; he preserves them in existence and directs all of them toward their own proper purposes with infinite wisdom, goodness and justice” (same Catechism).

Miracles are exercises of divine power which can over rule the ordinary workings of the natural world any time He wants. (Sorry certain prissy philosophers and theologians, but the Lawmaker is above His laws of the created order. I am not talking about moral goodness. God, for example, can neither deceive nor be deceived.)

But when God makes something happen providentially, using free human choices, and other factors, so that it comes about just so, this is very impressive. When he has arranged the whole universe so that certain things freely happen, we don’t have a miracle, but a “sign for the Faithful”.

* * *

About twenty years ago I was preaching a public novena to prepare for the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, at the Carmelite nuns’ monastery in Buffalo, NY. One night, I decided, was “miracles of the Scapular night”. But there was one miracle which, though I had read about it in a reliable book, it just seemed to be too much, too over the top. But finally I decided to recount it:


At the beginning of the twentieth century, in Ashtabula, Ohio, a man was run over by a train, and cut in half. This would normally be fatal, you must admit. But he stayed alive, and conscious for 45 minutes, until a priest arrived to give him the Last Sacraments. Then he died. He was wearing the Brown Scapular.

He benefitted from the promise of Our Lady, “whoever dies in this clothed in this, will not suffer eternal fire”, that is, they will be saved.

When the Mass was over I heard confessions, and finally it was time to drive back to Canada. I started my car, and backed out of the driveway of the monastery. There was no traffic. I came to a stop sign and turned left. Another stop sign at Hertel Avenue. I turned right and stopped at a red light. Here I encountered by first car. I looked at it without much interest. Then my eyes fell on its licence plate, from the State of Ohio. And then I gasped. The license plate frame said “Ashtabula, Ohio”.

“Well, its all just chance”. Really? I would at any moment have noticed such a thing, and yet it never came to pass. I mean, “Ashtabula” is a name that has stuck with me because of this story. But for it to happen on the day and at the first possible moment... I think I am right in seeing it as a confirming sign of the truth of the story of the man in Ashtabula.

Now, if I only knew more. What was his name? When, exactly, did this happen...

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Ephphatha !

This is substantially what I preached this Sunday at the Masses for the Lord’s day, especially in the final version at the 11:00 a.m. Listen here... Listen here, if you will...

Monday, August 31, 2015

Honouring St John the Baptist

Fr Hunwicke suggests that we could in our Rosary ponder the mysteries of the life of St John the Baptist:

The Annunciation to Zachary

the Visitation

the Nativity of S John Baptist

the Baptism of Christ

the Beheading of S John Baptist.

And as one of Fr H's commenters suggested, we could, by the phrase in italics added below, make more concrete and specific for our times, the liturgical collect:

O God, who willed that Saint John the Baptist should go ahead of your Son both in his birth and in his death, grant that, as he died a Martyr for the truth about the sacred bond of marriage, we, too, may fight hard for the confession that you teach..."

Friday, August 28, 2015

What I preached this morning

What is the oil in the lamp? It is charity, it is sanctifying grace. Only the Almighty can produce it in our soul for "It is the Lord who gives grace and glory". The Homily