Thursday, 12 January 2012

From the Holy Father's Wednesday audience

"The Eucharist sustains those who are tired, worn out or lost in the world and transforms human sin and weakness into new life.

Taking part in the Eucharist today is “indispensable for Christian life” and is still a source of strength so that “our life is not lost, despite our weakness and our infidelity, but is transformed”.

The Holy Father's words above, from his speech at this week's Wednesday audience, offer such comfort and encouragement to us all.How beautiful is that phrase "Our life is not lost, despite our weakness and infidelity, but is transformed".

Thank you, Holy Father.

Thanks to the Catholic Herald

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Forthcoming Marriage

Mr. E. Morton
Miss M.M. Wheelan

The engagement is announced between Edward, second son of Mr and Mrs Alan Morton of Lincolnshire, and Margaret Mary, second daughter of Mr and Mrs Neville Wheelan of Devon.

Congratulations to our daughter Margaret Mary and to Edward. May God bless them both as they prepare for the great Sacrament, vocation and adventure of married life!

No excuses!

You don't want to read a list of excuses for why I haven't been posting lately, just the truth: the time I would have spent commenting/composing/posting has been spent on other matters that had to take the priority. That's how life is, sometimes, isn't it? Sometimes, you just can't do the things you would like to, but the things you must do.
The builders have been in for the last three or so months, making an extension to the ground floor with full disabled access and equipment. They are now renovating the old rooms our sons used, making them ready for general use.
It has been noisy, dusty and exhilarating as the new build rose up and joined the old. Plasterers, (amazing how they get that glassy finish),carpenters, builders, electricians, plumbers, and the man from the hoist company have all combined to make a really lovely and much needed suite of rooms for our disabled sons.
Just days before Christmas, there was a flurry of painting,(thanks Ed and Bunty),the carpets were laid, and the boys were able to move into their new rooms.
Now that the work is so near to completion, I hope to be able to return to more frequent blogging, perhaps a new year resolution?

Sunday, 25 September 2011


I suppose I am not the only Catholic who finds it hard to go to Confession; if the queues for Confession are anything to go by, it seems that very many of those whom I would recognise as parishioners, are absent at this weekly slot. Perhaps they too, experience that silkily persuasive inner voice which reminds them of the 101 things which need to be done, the fact that no major transgressions have taken place, or  a fulsome reminder of  virtuous accomplishments in hope of lulling the soul into a false sense of security and placing Confession somewhere low down on the priorities schedule.
If that doesn't work the next step often seems to be  throwing confusion on attempts to examine the conscience. Did I do/say/will that?
Did I really, or is it just the product of an over-scrupulous conscience?
Am I trying to get myself off the hook? So, if I witnessed someone else do/say those things, would I believe it was wrongdoing or not? Surely it should be the same for me?
Is it sin that is so complicated, or is it me?

The only way to find out is  to bring such issues to Confession; this is where a priest acting in the person of Christ, can bring light, forgiveness and healing.

I have recently been reading and re-reading ' The Warfare of the Soul' by Rev. Shirley Hughson, published I think, in 1909.So, this publication is over one hundred years old, yet as fresh as a daisy.
It feels a bit like holding up a mirror to the inner life, the spiritual life.

On Confession, and the temptation to almost despair of ever making progress in the spiritual life, Rev. Hughson has this to say:

"I do not know whether I have done this or not.I know not if my life is changed for the better,or if I am living more as Christ would have me live than I did a year ago.Moreover, I am not concerned to give you, God's enemy and mine, any answer to these questions. I have no account to render to you. But one thing I know; when I sin I can come back to Him. I kneel at His feet, I put my hands in His, I look up into those eyes brimming with love, and I say, 'Dear Lord, here is my poor heart all full of sin again; I lay it at Thy feet. Wash it in Thy Precious Blood, and make me strong to serve Thee better. I am sorry and I purpose to amend, but I am weak. Be Thou my strength; fight Thou against them that fight against me, and let me be the victor in the end.' 
I speak to Him thus, and leave it all with Him. I sin again, and again I come and kneel at His feet;and though I have come daily to Him with the same burden, His embrace is never less tender, His words not less sweet, His eyes are ever full of the same old love.
Am I amending my life? I know not-He knows. Is my soul a saintlier thing than it was a year ago? I know not-He knows. All I know is that I love Him, and I want to love Him more; and that when I think on Him my heart is at peace,"

Are you still there!

The last few weeks have been very busy on the domestic front, so much so that I have really had no time to construct a post. It's a poor excuse, I know, but the truth all the same.
With everyone back at school/college/university/seminary, I hope from now to be able to resume....and hope further that I still have some readers!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

A partial comment on Fr Ray's post

                              Hoodie available from Catholic with Attitude

In his latest post, 'Coercion', the great Fr. Ray Blake raises a number of questions about how Catholics who fall short of or deny aspects of Catholic teaching/practice, should be encouraged to live fully their Catholic Faith. Such encouragement, as the title of his post suggests, might involve a degree of insistence on the part of those who have authority over those subject to such authority.
I won't presume to comment on all the examples Fr. Ray gives, just  the first one, because it falls within my sphere as a Catholic mother, to have authority and responsibility, jointly with my husband, for our children.

So, this is the question posed:
"Should a parent insist his child goes to Mass? Obviously if child is seven but what about seventeen?"

Catholics believe that the Sacrifice of the Mass is the source and  summit of the Christian life (CCC1324). The action of the Holy Spirit during the Mass confers graces on those who are open to receiving them.
At every Mass, we, His creatures, are united with the ultimate sacrifice, the Sacrifice of God the Son, on Calvary. His life for our salvation.
At every Mass, Heaven touches earth and we are in the presence of Almighty God who loves us with a love which knows no bounds.
At every Mass, Jesus, the Son of God, desires to be united with us through our reception  (in a state of grace) of Holy Communion.
Attending Mass is not an action done in isolation from living the Catholic life, as if being a Catholic only counts for one hour of the week. It is from the Mass that we receive the help we need to meet those difficulties, problems, challenges and crosses that He permits, before we meet Him next.
Perhaps we have a tendency to  regard the gifts that the Lord would give us through the Mass as optional. Well, it is true that they are optional in the sense that we are not forced to receive them. God knocks at the door, we open the door, or leave it shut. But they are not optional in this sense: that God only gives us what we need to live a faithful life in an unfaithful world.By ourselves, we cannot live this life in preparation for the next life, the life of heaven, without His help. We are simply too weak.We need His help. The Mass, summit and source of Christian life, is where He chooses to give us this life giving help. We could think of it as kind of a spiritual life-support system.

On the particular question of  a teenager who doesn't want to go to Mass...dare I say it....the trick is to not allow dissent to develop to a point where the teenager believes with confidence that he doesn't need the Mass.
Start early, no child is too young (and no teenager too old), to receive the gifts and graces available at the Mass.
Be the devout Mass attender that you want to encourage your children to be, explain the Mass to them (not during Mass) before, and after.
If necessary, (how can I put this delicately?) find a Mass which is offered in a most dignified way, and where the homilies do not patronise, tell us how wonderful we are, but challenge us to be the saints God wants us to be.
Have a strong prayer life at home. Daily prayer is essential, Organise things so the children have experience of leading family prayer. Make sure they are all involved in the daily prayer, let it become a habit. Remember Grace before and after meals. Don't think that you can't introduce spiritual topics during meals, of course you can! Encourage your children to join in the conversation.
Be vigilant about the influences in your child's life: friends, school, social media, books.Don't be afraid to insist that the book/film/website is unsuitable, but explain why.
Take care that your young children understand the importance of being sorry for wrongdoing, (receive their apologies gracefully), and when they are old enough, the primary importance of the great sacrament of Confession. Keeping your children close to the sacraments is as important as doing the same for yourself.
Use the saints!
Have some good quality spiritual reading at home, read it yourself and pass it on to your children.
Make sure to teach your children that everything they receive, including life itself, is a gift from God, who gives because He loves. 

Back to the stroppy teenager; he needs to understand that when tempted to omit doing something which God through the Church, and through the legitimate authority of his parents, asks of him (going to Mass), such a refusal without a just cause i.e. illness, would be a kind of disobedience, and it would be sinful.
Yes, the 'S' word.
Sometimes you have to call a spade, a spade. To deliberately avoid Mass on Sunday is sinful. There, I've said it, but the Church said it first.

What would you do to avoid your child falling into a sinful habit such as Mass avoidance?