Thursday, 10 March 2016

St John Ogilvie A Reading about


10/03/2016 20:29
John Ogilvie _ March 10 1982
A Reading about St John Ogilvie
Adapted from Butlers Lives of the Saints (Thurston Edition, 1942) March, pp. 179-184.

John Ogilvie was born in 1579 near Keith in Banffshire. The Ogilvie family, like many Scottish families at that time, was partly Catholic and partly Presbyterian,
but John's father, though not unfriendly to the old faith, brought his eldest son up
as a Calvinist, and as such sent him at the age of thirteen to be educated on the Continent. There John became interested in the religious controversies which were popular in France. The best Catholic and Calvinist protagonists took part in these disputations, which profoundly influenced the intellectual world. John Ogilvie became confused and uncertain, but he came to fasten on two texts of Scripture:
"God wills all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth," and, "Come to me all you who suffer and are burdened, and I will refresh you." He began to see that the Catholic Church embraced all kinds of people and in her alone could be found men and women of every class. These reflections and the testimony of the martyrs decided him. To belong to the Church of the martyrs he became a Catholic and was received at the Scots College in Louvain in 1596, at the age of seventeen.

He spent the next three years in various educational establishments. Six months of this period was spent with the Scottish Benedictines at Ratisbon, studying the arts. Then at the age of twenty he went to a Jesuit college; he later joined the Society of Jesus, was ordained priest and eventually found his way, after repeated requests, back to his native Scotland. He set to work trying to win back his fellow countrymen to the Catholic faith. Most of his work was concentrated around Edinburgh, Glasgow and Renfrewshire. But his time was short. His missionary efforts lasted for less than a year. It was when he was attempting to meet someone who claimed to be interested in becoming a Catholic that he was betrayed to archbishop Spottiswoode, a former Presbyterian minister and who was now one of the King's most capable lieutenants.

For five months John Ogilvie was subjected to continual harassment, humiliation, interrogation and torture. He bore all of this with equanimity, courage and even humour. His spirit could not be broken, and he was able to hold his own in the involved religious and political questions they put to him in an attempt to trap him. After his second trial John Ogilvie seems to have been treated more kindly. The heroism he had shown in prison had been reported far and wide throughout the country, and even his keepers, including the archbishop, hoped that he would recant and accept the royal supremacy. Soon, however, a questionnaire was presented to him which came from King James himself, dealing with the relations between Church and State. To these John Ogilvie could only return answers which practically sealed his fate. Although his treatment in prison grew more rigorous, he continued to write an account of his arrest and experiences in prison which he had begun earlier, and he managed to smuggle the sheets of paper to friends outside.

John Ogilvie was eventually sentenced to death for high treason. But even on the gallows he was offered his freedom and honours ifhe would renounce his religion. "For that, he said, "I am prepared to give even a hundred lives." On this day, therefore, the 10th of March, 1615, John Ogilvie was martyred for his faith. Cornelius a Lapide, the young professor who taught John Ogilvie in Louvain, wrote proudly in later years that Ogilvie had been his catechumen but became a martyr worthy to take his place with the martyrs of the early persecutions

Adapted from Butlers Lives of the Saints (Thurston Edition, 1942) March, pp. 179-184.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Cyprian Michael Tansi Local BBC Leicester
Page last updated at 09:07 GMT, Tuesday, 15 September 2009 10:07 UK
Blessed Cyprian may be new saint
Blessed Cyprian Tansi
Blessed Cyprian is one step away from sainthood
A Nigerian monk who spent the last 14 years of his life at Mount Saint Bernard Abbey is one step away from sainthood.
Father Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi was beautified by Pope John Paul II on 22 March 1998.
For the last 11 years hundreds of Catholics have gathered in Leicestershire in pilgrimage to Blessed Cyprian.
To be elevated to the state of saint, a second miracle must be proved.
In the beginning
Iwene Tansi was born in 1903 at Igboazunu in Nigeria, later receiving the name of Michael at his baptism.
As a young man he worked as a teacher, before beginning the journey towards becoming a priest.
Tansi was ordained for the Onitsha diocese at the age of 34, and became a man of great prayer and personal sacrifice.
 As a person he was very ordinary, very humble, obviously a great man of deep prayer and dedication 
Father Anselm Stark
He arrived at Mount Saint Bernard Abbey near Coalville in 1950 ready to start follow a monastic life, joining a community of 71 people.
As Father Cyprian his daily life would have very similar to that which the monks follow today.
They monks wake early to attend the first church service of that day at 03:30, with seven following church visits before bed.
Manual labour would features heavily in their day. Fr Cyprian worked in the vegetable gardens and orchard which in his day stood on the site of the 2009 pilgrimage.
Father Anselm Stark has been at the monastery for 55 years, and knew Fr Cyprian personally.
"As a person he was very ordinary, very humble, obviously a great man of deep prayer and dedication.
"We didn't realise towards the end how sick he was, he never complained about anything. Of course when we got him into hospital it was too late."
Fr Cyprian died in the Leicester Royal Infirmary on 20 January 1964, at the age of 61.
At first he was buried in the monastery grounds, but in 1986 his remains were exhumed and returned to Nigeria.
A miracle
When Cyprian's remains were taken back to Nigeria there was a big ceremony to welcome them back - lots of people wanted to go to Onitsha Cathedral - she insisted must go
In order for Blessed Cyprian to become a saint someone must have their prayers to him answered in a miraculous way that can be proved, such as a healing.
Mount Saint Bernard Abbey (Photo: Paul Burnell)
Blessed Cyprian lived at Mount Saint Bernard for 14 years
Fr Anselm says that it was at the welcoming ceremony at Onitsha Cathedral that Cyprian's miracle occurred.
A dying woman had begged her carers to allow her to attend the ceremony, despite their concerns for her health.
"When the coffin was brought up the aisle of the cathedral she put out her hand and touched it, and was instantly cured of her stomach cancer," says Fr Anselm.
In 1998 Cyprian was beatified by Pope John Paul II. Since then pilgrims have collected each year in Leicestershire to celebrate his life and pray for another miracle which could see Blessed Cyprian be raised to the state of a saint.
After a 10 year break, the 2009 event, including a mass and procession, returned to Mount Saint Bernard Abbey.
Hundreds of people from across the United Kingdom, many with Nigerian roots, took part.
Sister Bernadette said there was much to understand from Blessed Cyprian's work, "humility, patience, endurance, divine providence - the will of God".
"It means a lot to me, it is a day of prayer, a day of reflection, a day to look at Tansi's life and realise how we can emulate him as a fellow Nigerian." 

Blessed Cyprian Tansi was a monk of our community for 14 years, from 1950, until his death, in 1964. Iwene Tansi was born in 1903 at Igboezunu in Nigeria. At the age of nine he was baptised, receiving the name Michael. As a young man, he worked as a catechist and school teacher before entering a seminary at the age of 22. He was ordained a priest for the Onitsha diocese in 1937 at the age of 34. From the moment of his ordination, Michael Tansi joined an energetic apostolic zeal to a life of profound prayer and demanding personal asceticism.

His care for the people committed to him in the diocese of Onitsha made him ardent in propagating devotion to the Sacred Heart, to Our Lady, and the Rosary. His belief in the value for the whole Church of the hidden life of prayer in a contemplative Order, led Fr Tansi to join Mount Saint Bernard Abbey in 1950.

On becoming a Cistercian monk, he took the name Cyprian. Fr Cyprian worked in the refectory and bookbindery.The transition to Mount Saint Bernard and the Cistercian life must have been difficult for him, but what always made him remarkable was the iron strength and tenacity of his will which was, from boyhood, directed entirely towards God. No tragedy or trial could weaken his complete trust in God's providence. He used to say, "if you are going to be a Christian at all, you might as well live entirely for God". Fr Cyprian died in the Leicester Royal Infirmary on the 20th January 1964, aged 61.

He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 22nd March 1998, in Nigeria.

Blessed Cyprian,
during your life on earth
you showed your great faith and love
in giving yourself to your people
and by the hidden life
of prayer and contemplation.
Look upon us now in our needs,
and intercede for us with the Lord.
May he grant us the favour we ask
through our prayers. Amen.

Blessed Cyprian's Feast Day is on 20th January.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Saint Macarius of Egypt, Homily. Ezekiel Sees God's Glory


Monastic Lectionary of the Divine Office
WEEKS 18 to 34 : YEAR 1

Saturday 31
Ez 1:3-14, 22-28
Macarian Homilies, 1.1-3, 12.000000000000

   Ezekiel 1 Bible Pictures: Ezekiel Sees God's Glory


After contemplating the divinely glorious vision he had seen, the Prophet Ezekiel wrote a description of it full of unutterable mysteries. What he saw was the mystery of the soul that was to receive its Lord and become his throne of glory. For the soul that is privileged to share in the light of the Holy Spirit and is irradiated by the beauty of the unspeakable glory of him who has prepared her to be his throne and dwelling is all light, all face, all eye: there is no part of her that is not full of the spiritual eyes of light. In other words, no part of her is darkened, but through and through she has been made light and spirit; she is full of eyes all over, and has no such thing as a back part but is face forward in every direction, because the unutterable beauty of the glory of the light of Christ is mounted and riding upon her. Christ drives, guides, carries and supports the soul, gracing and adorning her with spiritual beauty: the Prophet says, A human hand was under the cherubim because it is Christ who is carried by the soul and is her guide.

The four living creatures that bore the chariot symbolise the governing powers of the soul. For just as the eagle is the king of birds, the lion of wild beasts, the bull of tame ones, and mankind of creatures in general, so the soul also has its governing powers, which are the will, the conscience, the mind, and the ability to love. By these the chariot of the soul is controlled, and God rests on them.
If, then, you have become a throne of God, and the heavenly charioteer has mounted you, and your whole soul is a spiritual eye and has become all light; and if you have been nourished with that food of the Spirit, given living water to drink, and donned the raiment of ineffable light; if your inner self is grounded in the experience and full assurance of all these things, then indeed you already live the eternal life and your soul is henceforth at rest with the Lord.

On the other hand, if you have no awareness of any of these things, then weep, mourn, and lament, because you have not yet obtained the eternal spiritual riches; you have not yet re­ceived true life. Be distressed at your poverty and pray to the Lord night and day because you have come to a halt in the dreadful penury of sin. If only we were troubled by our poverty and did not go on without a care as though we were completely satisfied! For one who is deeply troubled and seeks and prays to the Lord unceasingly will soon be delivered and gain heavenly riches. As the Lord said in his story about the unjust judge and the widow: How much more will God vindicate those who cry to him night and day? To him be glory and power forever. Amen

The Spiritual Homilies of Macarius, 1:1-3, 12 (PG 34:449-452, 461; Word in Season VI. 

Ezekiel 1 Vision of Wheels
1:1 Now it happened in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth of the month, as I was among the captives by the river Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. 2 In the fifth of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin’s captivity, 3 the word of Yahweh came expressly to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of Yahweh was there on him.
4 I looked, and behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, a great cloud, with flashing lightning, and a brightness around it, and out of its midst as it were glowing metal, out of the midst of the fire. 5 Out of its midst came the likeness of four living creatures. This was their appearance: they had the likeness of a man. 6 Everyone had four faces, and each one of them had four wings. 7 Their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf’s foot; and they sparkled like burnished brass. 8 They had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and the four of them had their faces and their wings thus: 9 their wings were joined one to another; they didn’t turn when they went; each one went straight forward. 10 As for the likeness of their faces, they had the face of a man; and the four of them had the face of a lion on the right side; and the four of them had the face of an ox on the left side; the four of them also had the face of an eagle. 11 Such were their faces. Their wings were spread out above. Two wings of each one touched another, and two covered their bodies. 12 Each one went straight forward: where the spirit was to go, they went; they didn’t turn when they went. 13 As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches: the fire went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning. 14 The living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning.
15 Now as I saw the living creatures, behold, one wheel on the earth beside the living creatures, for each of the four faces of it. 16 The appearance of the wheels and their work was like a beryl: and the four of them had one likeness; and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel within a wheel. 17 When they went, they went in their four directions: they didn’t turn when they went. 18 As for their rims, they were high and dreadful; and the four of them had their rims full ofeyes all around. 19 When the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them; and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. 20 Wherever the spirit was to go, they went; there was the spirit to go: and the wheels were lifted up beside them; for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. 21 When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up beside them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. 22 Over thehead of the living creature there was the likeness of an expanse, like the awesome crystal to look on, stretched forth over their heads above. 23 Under the expanse were their wings straight, the one toward the other: each one had two which covered on this side, and every one had two which covered on that side, their bodies. 24 When they went, I heard the noise of their wings like the noise of great waters, like the voice of the Almighty, a noise of tumult like the noise of an army: when they stood, they let down their wings. 25 There was a voice above the expanse that was over their heads: when they stood, they let down their wings.
26 Above the expanse that was over their heads was the likeness of athrone, as the appearance of a sapphire stone; and on the likeness of the throne was a likeness as the appearance of a man on it above. 27 I saw as it were glowing metal, as the appearance of fire within it all around, from the appearance of his waist and upward; and from the appearance of his waist and downward I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around him. 28 As the appearance of the rainbow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of Yahweh. When I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of one that spoke.

Observations: 1:1-28 Ezekiel was in Babylon, among the exiles and out of the darkness comes light. He sees a vision that sounds like something out of one of the OT prophets. Oh, yeah, that's exactly what it is, described in earthly terms as the “appearances” of this and that. The four creatures are cherubim (10:1ff). The vision appears to be that of God's chariot or mobile throne, containing the fire of judgement in the midst, and glory all around. The description of the living creatures precludes this being an alien UFO. Consult any commentary for equally fantastic descriptions of what everything means. We'll focus on the more applicable points. Like Isaiah, Ezekiel gets a vision of God to strengthen him for his upcoming ministry to the Jews already in exile, and the ones that would be arriving after the temple and city would be destroyed. As we'll find out in the next chapter, Ezekiel would get the typical prophet's welcome, and would need a baseline reminder of the God whose word he would deliver.
Application: The God we serve is not an idol made by man, nor man, nor animal, nor geographical phenomena, but the transcendent Creator who is above all, and served by all.
Prayer: Glorious God, You are awesome in Your might and majesty, and worthy of my humble service always. Amen.
Saturday 31
Ez 1:3-14, 22-28
Macarian Homilies, 1.1-3, 12.
Douay-Rheims Bible
v10. And as for the likeness of their faces: there was the face of a man, and the face of a lion on the right side of all the four: and the face of an ox, on the left side of all the four: and the face of an eagle over all the four. 
The patristic interpretation, which finds in the four living creatures the symbols of the four evangelists (an interpretation by no means constant or unvarying - the lion being sometimes identified with St Matthew, and the man with St. Mark, and conversely, while the ox and the eagle are uniformly assigned to St. Luke and St. John respectively), must be considered as the play of a devout imagination, but not as unfolding the meaning of either Ezekiel or St. John. 
  Cross References
Revelation 4:7
The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle.

Pulpit Commentary
Verse 10. - As for the likeness, etc. The Revised Version rightly strikes out the comma after "lion." The human face meets the prophet's gaze. On the right he sees the lion, on the left the ox, while the face of the eagle is behind. What did the symbols mean? 

Mary, The Cause of Our Joy

Mary, The Cause of Our Joy 2
   Mary in Saturday  
Night Office, file from past years.
   Monastic Lectionary of the Divine Office  



Mary bore within herself the Light of the world and is the cause of all consolation and of all joy. In this we may discover a similarity between Mary and Queen Esther: for her own Jewish people Esther’s appearance was 'the dawning of a day of light of gladness and joy and honour'. What gave the Jews so great a cause for joy was to know that at the right hand of the greatest of kings and most powerful of emperors they had as queen, Esther a Jewess. For the Safety of her people, she was ready and willing to put her own life in jeopardy. Because of her closeness to this powerful prince~ and so greatly did he love her for her unmatched charm and the almost divine radiance of her beauty that there was nothing that she could not achieve.

What a cause of joy it is for us, then, to have Mary intimately present to the Sovereign King, close to almighty God, the everlasting Ruler of all things. In the presence of the Divine Majesty, Mary is infinitely more powerful than ever Esther was in the presence of Ahasuerus, indeed, there is nothing that Mary cannot do from her place beside God. But that is not all. The love Mary bears towards each one of us is not simply a love inspired by belonging to the same nation - for she is indeed of our flesh
and blood - but is a mother's love. a deep affection, true and heartfelt like that of parents for their children.

And has not Mary also put her life in danger for our sake when she was standing by the cross of Jesus'? Like Abraham in total and overflowing generosity of spirit Mary truly sacrificed her Son to God in spirit; with genuine love she offered him up for the salvation of the world. She was 'standing by the cross of Jesus' strengthened and sustained by the power of the Holy Spirit.

How great a cause of joy and happiness it is for the whole world to have such a patroness and advocate in the presence of God the almighty! Since she is in his presence, there is nothing beyond her power. no good thing for which she doesn't strive and desire to gain for us, with her mother's care and love.

Sermon 3 on the 'Hail Mary' Orval's "Lectures Mariales" 1968
(Text prepared by Mt. St. Bernard Abbey, 1971)

Friday, 6 November 2015

Bl. John Henry Newman, Parochial and Plain Sermons, 8:127-8; Word in Season VI

 Night Office, Monastic Lectionary of the Divine Office, 

First Reading
Jeremiah 42:1-16; 43:4-7
Responsory     Ps 146:5-7; 118:8-9
Happy are those who are helped by Jacob' s God, whose hope is in the Lord their God. + It is he who keeps faith forever, and is just to those who are oppressed.
V. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in human help; better to take refuge in the Lord than to rely on princes. + It is he who ...

Friday of the Thirty-First Week in Ordinary Time Year I


No Prophet commenced his labours with greater encouragement than Jeremiah. A King had succeeded to the throne who was bringing back the times of the man after God’s own heart. There had not been a son of David so zealous as Josiah since David himself. The King, too, was young, at most twenty years of age, in the beginning of his reformation. What might not be effected in a course of years, however corrupt and degraded was the existing state of his people?
Whether or not, however, such hope of success encouraged Jeremiah’s first exertions, very soon, in his case, this cheerful prospect was overcast, and he was left to labour in the dark. His trials were very great, even in Josiah’s reign; but when that pious King’s countenance was withdrawn on his early death, he was exposed to persecution from every class of people. When Jerusalem had been taken by the enemy, Jeremiah was forcibly carried down to Egypt by people who at first pretended to reverence and consult him, and there he came to his end – it is believed, a violent end. 
All of us live in a world which promises well, but does not fulfil; it is in our nature to begin life thoughtlessly and joyously; to seek great things in one way or other; to have vague notions of good to come; to love the world, and to believe its promises, and seek satisfaction and happiness from it. And, as it is our nature to hope, so it is our lot, as life proceeds, to encounter disappointment. That disappointment in some shape or other is the lot of man (that is, looking at our prospects apart from the next world) is plain from the mere fact, if nothing else could be said, that we begin life with health and end it with sickness; or in other words, that it comes to an end, for an end is a failure. 

Here then it is that God himself offers us his aid by his Word, and in his Church. Left to ourselves, we seek good from the world, but cannot find it; in youth we look forward, and in age we look back. It is well we should be persuaded of these things betimes, to gain wisdom and to provide for the evil day. Seek we great things? We must seek them where they really are to be found, and in the way in which they are to be found; we must seek them as he has set them before us, who came into the world to enable us to gain them. We must be willing to give up present hope for future enjoyment, this world for the unseen. Let us prepare for suffering and disappointment, which befit us as sinners, and which are necessary for us as saints. Let us not turn away from trial when God brings it on us, or play the coward in the fight of faith. Watch, stand fast in the faith, acquit yourselves like men, be strong; such is Saint Paul’s exhortation. When affliction over­takes you, remember to accept it as a means of improving your hearts, and pray God for his grace that it may do so. Look disappointment in the face. Take ... the prophets ... for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy who endure.

Bl. John Henry Newman, Parochial and Plain Sermons, 8:127-8; Word in Season VI.