Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Tuesday 31 May 2016

A sermon by St Bede the Venerable

Mary proclaims the greatness of the Lord working in her soul
 Image result for images: The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. With these words Mary first acknowledges the special gifts she has been given. Then she recalls God’s universal favors, bestowed unceasingly on the human race.
  When a man devotes all his thoughts to the praise and service of the Lord, he proclaims God’s greatness. His observance of God’s commands, moreover, shows that he has God’s power and greatness always at heart. His spirit rejoices in God his saviour and delights in the mere recollection of his creator who gives him hope for eternal salvation.
  These words are often for all God’s creations, but especially for the Mother of God. She alone was chosen, and she burned with spiritual love for the son she so joyously conceived. Above all other saints, she alone could truly rejoice in Jesus, her savior, for she knew that he who was the source of eternal salvation would be born in time in her body, in one person both her own son and her Lord.
Image result for images: The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary  For the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.     Mary attributes nothing to her own merits. She refers all her greatness to the gift of the one whose essence is power and whose nature is greatness, for he fills with greatness and strength the small and the weak who believe in him.
  She did well to add: and holy is his name, to warn those who heard, and indeed all who would receive his words, that they must believe and call upon his name. For they too could share in everlasting holiness and true salvation according to the words of the prophet: and it will come to pass, that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. This is the name she spoke of earlier: and my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
  Therefore it is an excellent and fruitful custom of holy Church that we should sing Mary’s hymn at the time of evening prayer. By meditating upon the incarnation, our devotion is kindled, and by remembering the example of God’s Mother, we are encouraged to lead a life of virtue. Such virtues are best achieved in the evening. We are weary after the day’s work and worn out by our distractions. The time for rest is near, and our minds are ready for contemplation.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Monday of week 9 in Ordinary Time 31 May 2016

A colloquy of St Dorotheus

The reason for all disturbance is that no-one blames himself
 Related image
My brethren, let us consider how it can happen so often that someone hears something unpleasant and goes away untroubled, as if he had not heard it; and yet sometimes he is disturbed and troubled as soon as he hears such words. What is the cause of this inconsistency? Is there one reason for it or many? I recognise several, but one in particular is the source of all the others. As someone has put it: it all comes from the person’s state of mind at the time.
  If someone is engaged in prayer or contemplation, he can easily take a rebuke from his brother and be unmoved by it. Or again, his affection toward a brother may be a strong reason; love bears all things with the utmost patience. Yet another reason may be contempt: if a person despises the one who is trying to trouble him, and acts as if he is the vilest of all creatures and considers it beneath his dignity even to look at him, or to answer him, or to mention the affront and insults to anyone else, he will not be moved by his words.
  All in all, then, no-one is disturbed or troubled if he scorns and disregards what is said. But on the other hand, it is also possible for someone to be disturbed and troubled by his brother’s words, either because he is not in a good frame of mind, or because he hates his brother. There are a great number of other reasons as well.
  Yet the reason for all disturbance, if we look to its roots, is that no one finds fault with himself. This is the reason why we become angry and upset, why we sometimes have no peace in our soul. We should not be surprised, since holy men have taught us that there is no other path to peace but this.
  We see that this is true in so many other people; and yet we hope, in our laziness and desire for peace, we hope or even believe that we are on the right path even when we are irritated by everything and cannot bear to accept any blame ourselves.
  This is the way things are. However many virtues a man may have – they could be innumerable, they could be infinite – if he has left the path of self-accusation he will never have peace: he will be afflicted by others or he will be an affliction to them, and all his efforts will be wasted.
  If we say we have no sin in us, we are deceiving ourselves,* but if we acknowledge our sins, then God, who is faithful and just, will forgive our sins.
 He who conceals his faults will not prosper,* but if we acknowledge our sins, then God, who is faithful and just, will forgive our sins.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

9th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Confessions of St Augustine

Our hearts find no rest until they rest in you
 Image result for images: praising you may bring us joy
Great are you, O Lord, and exceedingly worthy of praise; your power is immense, and your wisdom beyond reckoning. And so we men, who are a due part of your creation, long to praise you – we also carry our mortality about with us, carry the evidence of our sin and with it the proof that you thwart the proud. You arouse us so that praising you may bring us joy, because you have made us and drawn us to yourself, and our heart is unquiet until it rests in you.
  Grant me to know and understand, Lord, which comes first. To call upon you or to praise you? To know you or to call upon you? Must we know you before we can call upon you? Anyone who invokes what is still unknown may be making a mistake. Or should you be invoked first, so that we may then come to know you? But how can people call upon someone in whom they do not yet believe? And how can they believe without a preacher?
  But scripture tells us that those who seek the Lord will praise him, for as they seek they find him, and on finding him they will praise him. Let me seek you then, Lord, even while I am calling upon you, and call upon you even as I believe in you; for to us you have indeed been preached. My faith calls upon you, Lord, this faith which is your gift to me, which you have breathed into me through the humanity of your Son and the ministry of your preacher.
  How shall I call upon my God, my God and my Lord, when by the very act of calling upon him I would be calling him into myself? Is there any place within me into which my God might come? How should the God who made heaven and earth come into me? Is there any room in me for you, Lord, my God? Even heaven and earth, which you have made and in which you have made me – can even they contain you? Since nothing that exists would exist without you, does it follow that whatever exists does in some way contain you?
  But if this is so, how can I, who am one of these existing things, ask you to come into me, when I would not exist at all unless you were already in me? Not yet am I in hell, after all but even if I were, you would be there too; for if I descend into the underworld, you are there. No, my God, I would not exist, I would not be at all, if you were not in me. Or should I say, rather, that I should not exist if I were not in you, from whom are all things, through whom are all things, in whom are all things? Yes, Lord, that is the truth, that is indeed the truth. To what place can I invite you, then, since I am in you? Or where could you come from, in order to come into me? To what place outside heaven and earth could I travel, so that my God could come to me there, the God who said, I fill heaven and earth?
  Who will grant it to me to find peace in you? Who will grant me this grace, that you should come into my heart and inebriate it, enabling me to forget the evils that beset me and embrace you, my only good? What are you to me? Have mercy on me, so that I may tell. What indeed am I to you, that you should command me to love you, and grow angry with me if I do not, and threaten me with enormous woes? Is not the failure to love you woe enough in itself?
  Alas for me! Through your own merciful dealings with me, O Lord my God, tell me what you are to me. Say to my soul, I am your salvation. Say it so that I can hear it. My heart is listening, Lord; open the ears of my heart and say to my soul, I am your salvation. Let me run towards this voice and seize hold of you. Do not hide your face from me: let me die so that I may see it, for not to see it would be death to me indee

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Saturday of week 8 in Ordinary Time

A sermon of St Zeno of Verona

Job as a prefiguring of Christ
My beloved brethren, the story of Job prefigures that of Christ. Thus we understand it, and we can see the truth of this by detailed comparison.
  Job was called a righteous man by God; and God is righteousness itself, the fountain of righteousness from which the blessed drink. Of him it was said: The sun of righteousness shall rise for you.
  Job was called truthful; and the Lord is truly Truth itself, for as he says in the Gospel: I am the way and the truth.
  Job was rich; and what could be richer than the Lord? For all the rich are his slaves, his is the whole world and all that exists, as David said in the Psalms: The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness, the world and all who live in it.
  The devil tempted Job three times; and three times, according to the Gospel, he tried to tempt the Lord.
  Everything that Job had, he lost; and for love of us the Lord forgot all his heavenly blessings and made himself poor, that we might be rich.
  The devil, raging, destroyed Job’s sons; and the Lord’s sons, the prophets, were killed by the people of the Pharisees in their madness.
  Job was disfigured with boils; and the Lord, taking on human flesh, was fouled with the sins of all mankind.
  Job’s own wife urged him to sin; and the synagogue, the bride of God, tried to compel the Lord to follow the corrupt behaviour of the elders.
  Job’s friends, it is said, insulted him; and the Lord was insulted by his own priests, his own worshippers.
  Job sits on a dunghill full of worms; and the Lord lived in a real dunghill, that is, this world, surrounded by men seething with every vice and every crime: true worms.
  Job received back his health and his riches; and the Lord, rising, did not only regain health but granted immortality to those who believed in him and took back dominion over the whole of nature. For as he himself bears witness: All things have been given to me by my Father.
  Job begot new sons to replace the ones who had died; the Lord, to replace the prophets, begot his holy sons, the Apostles.
  Job went to his rest in blessedness and peace; but the Lord remains blessed in all eternity: before time, and from the beginning of time, and to the end of all ages.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Friday, May 27, 2016 THANKS BE TO GOD!

I am very happy to be back in Nazareth Hermitage after being away for the past two months.

As you may have heard, I was caught up in the airport bombing in Brussels on the 22nd of March, 2016. It was a terrible tragic day. So many innocent people killed and wounded in such a senseless act of terrorism. Hundreds of other people were forced to miss their scheduled flights and because all communication networks were shut down they were unable to notify their families or friends. After all the Airport buildings were evacuated there were thousands of people milling outside the airport buildings. Airport security personnel did a commendable job of handling so many worried and concerned people.

I will take time over the weekend to tell you more about this but right now we have a lot of patients that need to be served and the patients always come first.

God bless the many folks who, because of their generosity, enabled me to purchase medicines and medical supplies in the US to bring back to the hermitage.

brother dismas Mary

Friday 27 May 2016 Saint Augustine of Canterbury, Bishop

A letter by Pope St Gregory the Great

The nation of angels was bathed with the light of holy faith
Glory to God in the highest and peace to his people on earth, because the grain of wheat has fallen into the earth and has died. Christ has died in order to reign in heaven. Not only that: by his death we live; by his weakness we are strengthened; by his passion we are freed from suffering; impelled by his love, we are seeking in Britain brothers whom we do not know; through his help we have found those for whom we were searching, although we were not acquainted with them.
  Who, dear brother, is capable of describing the great joy of believers when they have learned what the grace of Almighty God and your own cooperation achieved among the Angles? They abandoned the errors of darkness and were bathed with the light of holy faith. With full awareness they trampled on the idols which they had previously adored with savage fear. They are now committed to Almighty God. The guidelines given them for their preaching restrain them from falling into evil ways. In their minds they are submissive to the divine precepts and consequently feel uplifted. They bow down to the ground in prayer lest their minds cling too closely to earthly things. Whose achievement is this? It is the achievement of him who said: My Father is at work until now and I am at work as well.
  God chose illiterate preachers and sent them into the world in order to show the world that conversion is brought about not by men’s wisdom but rather by his own power. So in like manner God worked through weak instruments and wrought great things among the Angles. Dear brother, in this heavenly gift there is something which should inspire us with great fear and great joy.
  For I know through your love for that people, specially chosen for you, that Almighty God has performed great miracles. But it is necessary that the same heavenly gift should cause you to rejoice with fear and to fear with gladness. You should be glad because by means of external miracles the souls of the Angles have been led to interior grace. But you should tremble, lest on account of these signs, the preacher’s own weak soul be puffed up with presumption; lest, while seeming externally raised aloft in honor, it fall internally as a result of vainglory.
  We should remember that when the disciples on their joyous return from their preaching mission said to their heavenly master: Lord, in your name even devils were subjected to us, he immediately retorted: Do not rejoice about this but rather that your names are inscribed in heaven.