Friday, 31 May 2013

June 2013 Month of the Sacred Heart

The month of June is dedicated to The Sacred Heart of Jesus. 

The entire month falls within the liturgical season of Ordinary Time, which is represented by the liturgical color green. This symbol of hope is the color of the sprouting seed and arouses in the faithful the hope of reaping the eternal harvest of heaven, especially the hope of a glorious resurrection. It is used in the offices and Masses of Ordinary Time. The last portion of the liturgical year represents the time of our pilgrimage to heaven during which we hope for reward.

The Holy Father's Intentions for the Month of June 2013
General: That a culture of dialogue, listening, and mutual respect may prevail among peoples.

MissionaryThat where secularization is strongest, Christian communities may effectively promote a new evangelization. (See also  

Visitation - Community Mass.- The Virgin and Child with St. John the Baptist and an Angel

Prayer after Communion 
May your Church proclaim your greatness, O God,
for you have done great things for your faithful,
and, as Saint John the Baptist leapt with joy
when he first sensed the hidden presence of Christ,
so may your Church rejoice
to receive this sacrament the same ever-living Lord.
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
Leonardo da Vinci, The Virgin of the Rocks
Compare; left, London National Gallery, right, Paris Louvre
Below see, Story of Painting by Wendy Beckett.

INTRODUSTION of  MASS             VISITATION 31 MAY 2013-05-31
We remember today Mary’s visit to Elizabeth and the graces given to both women.
Like most feasts of Our Lady the Visitation is closely linked with Jesus and his saving work.
John the Baptist recognises Jesus’ coming even while still in his mother’s womb.
But we celebrate more than a thoughtful visit of one pregnant mother to another.

Today we also recognise that God visits us in the comings and goings of our daily lives.

1.   Lord, you are present in the concern of one person for another,
                                                                      - Lord have mercy.
2.   L, You make us vehicles of your love to those in need,
                                                                     - Christ have mercy.
3.   L, You raise us up and perform wonders in the ordinary, happenings of each day.
                                                                       - Lord have mercy.
Prayer of the Faithful:
Concl; God, our Father,
You come to us in our need.
Let us rejoice in your presence and in the help you give us.
We ask this ... 


"We can always tell a Leonardo work by his treatment of hair, angelic in its fineness, and by the lack of any rigidity of contour. One form glides imperceptibly into another (the Italian term is sfumato), a wonder of glazes creating the most subtle of transitions between tones and shapes. The angel's face in the painting known as the Virgin of the Rocks in the National Gallery, London, or the Virgin's face in the Paris version of the same picture, have an interior wisdom, an artistic wisdom that has no pictorial rival.
"This unrivaled quality meant that few artists actually show Leonardo's influence: it is as if he seemed to be in a world apart from them. ... Sister Wendy Beckett
- From "Sister Wendy's Story of Painting", by Sister Wendy Beckett
 Leonardo da Vinci, The Virgin and Child with St Anne and St John the Baptist (Burlington House Cartoon), 1499-1500, charcoal and chalk on paper, c. 1499-1500 (National Gallery, London).

Visitation - St. Bede the Venerable

The House of the Virgin - Guillaume Dubufe

Friday, 31 May 2013

Visitation Ein Karem


For the Night Office this morning we had a choice from or five weighty Patristic Readings.
The Venerable Bede writes with a simplicity and warmth.
Even if he travelled beyond his own country he has been classified among the Fathers of the Holy Land. His words are touching with a sense of closeness and intimacy with the geographical place.

Luke 1:39-56
Reading A sermon by St Bede the Venerable
Mary proclaims the greatness of the Lord working in her soul
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my saviour. With these words Mary first acknowledges the special gifts she has been given. Then she recalls God’s universal favours, 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 saviour, 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.
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 saviour.
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. 

Ein Karem Village
Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth 

(courtesy of
Nestled in the terraced hills southwest of Jerusalem is thevillage of Ein Karem, where picturesque lanes lead you to the traditional spot whereElizabeth “felt life” when she met her kinswoman Mary, and where John the Baptist was born and raised.
Luke 1:39 tells us that after the annunciation, Mary hurried to “a town in the hill country of Judah” to visit Elizabeth, who was also pregnant. Centuries ago, Christians began to mark Elizabeth’s hometown at Ein Karem, whose name means “spring of the vineyard.”
Though just a short drive fromJerusalem’s modern neighborhoods, once you arrive you can leave the everyday world behind and step back in time. You’ll still find the spring, where no doubt Elizabeth drew water for her household. If you arrive in the waning of winter you’ll see the almond trees rejoicing in their pink and white blossoms; in summer the grapevines on their terraces still bear fruit. As you watch children at play in the little village park, it’s easy to imagine John as a young boy clambering across these very slopes.

Ein Karem was less than a day’s walk from the Temple inJerusalemto which Zechariah, John’s father, would be called to his duties as a priest. It was while serving at the altar of incense in the Temple that Zechariah saw the angel Gabriel, who informed him that his aged wife Elizabeth would give birth after years of barrenness. The shock must have caused Zechariah to forget his manners at angelic meetings! He immediately questioned the angel’s words, and so was struck voiceless until the naming ceremony at his son’s circumcision.

In the cool, restful interiors of Ein Karem’s churches you can see where ancient Christians marked the site of Mary’s visit toElizabeth, and where Mary uttered her great praise poem that begins with the words “My soul glorifies the Lord...” (Luke 1:46). Keep your Bibles open to Luke’s Gospel here, because in the gardens, quiet corners and courtyards you can also pause over the story of Elizabeth’s naming of John (Luke 1:59-60) and Zechariah’s own poem of praise and prophecy (Luke 1:67-79). Many tradtitions surround John’s early years. One tells of his miraculous survival of the murder of the innocents by King Herod. John was only a few months older than Jesus and thus, when the order came from Herod to kill all the boys “in Bethlehem and the vicinity” (Matt. 2:16), John, too, was in mortal danger. It is said that Elizabeth managed to conceal her son in a cave (still shown to visitors) and though the soldiers came close, they unknowingly passed over his hiding place. 

Visitation - Ein Karem 2 - Ratisbonne Sisters

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Ein Karem - Visitation, Ratisbonne Convent of Sisters of Sion

Courtyard of the Church of the Visitation, with the Magnificat in many languages.

Church of the Visitation, Jerusalem

The Church of the Visitation on Ein Karem. 
Photo Creative Commons License Nir Nussbaum.
Said to be built over the home of John the Baptist's parents, the Church of the Visitation stands high up on the hillside of Ein Kerem in Jerusalem. From here there is a wonderful view of the valley and the surrounding wooded hills.        

----- Forwarded Message -----From: Jo McG. . . .
To: Donald . . . . .
Sent: Saturday, 13 April 2013, 21:25
Subject: Fw: Ein Karem
Dear .. . . .,
Tues. 26March....Our morning was occupied with three more interesting lectures on the Gospel of JOHN.
In the afternoon, we caught our bus to  EIN  KAREM, a village on the outskirts of Jerusalem. We went first to the SION CONVENT on the summit of a hill overlooking surprisingly green valleys and bare mts. I thought how difficult it must have been for Mary to travel all the way from Nazareth to visit her cousin Elizabeth - no tarmac roads as today!
The Srs.of Sion welcomed us and then explained the various buildings and their apostolate
There are three communities here all living the same charism - the apostolic cty.,the small contemplative cty. and the Brothers of Sion.They have a large guesthouse as their ministry is mainly one of Welcome. We then had some free time to pray in the contemplative Chapel or wander in the well-kept,spacious garden - an oasis of peace,ideal for prayer.
From there,we walked down the steep hill into the village centre, a hub of activity,and walked up an even steeper hill to the CHURCH OF THE VISITATION. On a long,fairly high wall in front of it are many "Magnificats"in the various languages.We then entered the Lower Church, fairly small with some colourful paintings - Zechariah in the Temple, Mary meeting Elizabeth,etc. The larger Upper Church was much more impressive, beautifully decorated with several murals. I was very happy to be in this holy place and, in union with Mary, we all joyfully sang the "Magnificat".
At 8pm, we had a very meaningful and prayerful Reconciliation Service in the ideal place,
the LITHOSTROTOS. DEO GRATIAS for another memorable day!
Yours . . .  Jo. 
+ + + 

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Donald . . .
To: Jo McG . . .
Sent: Monday, 15 April 2013, 21:01
Subject: Fw: Ein Karem and pictures

My dear Josephine,
Many thanks for the Ein Karem on the 'Journal'.
It is lovely, and sets all the memories of the places, Visitation, Sion Convent, St. John Baptist, John in the Desert.
Google map opens up every nook and cranny. The technology is astonishing.
Hopefully I will insert some of the pictures to your Email but for the moment I am  diverted by simply viewing the abundance, not least the hospitality we do enjoyed with the Sisters Ein Karem convent.
Yours  . . .


Ein Karem (Visitation and Othodox Churchs) viewed from Sion Convent


Les Soeurs de Notre-Dame de Sion   

Ratisbonne tomb,
Ein Karem
The monastery of Les Soeurs de Notre-Dame de Sion (Sisters of Our Lady of Zion)   founded by two brothers from France, Theodore and Marie Alphonse Ratisbonne, who were born Jewish and converted to Christianity.[15] They established an orphanage here. Alphonse himself lived in the monastery and is buried in its garden. 

Marie-Alphonse Ratisbonne - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In 1858 Ratisbonne established the Convent of Ecce Homo in the Old City of Jerusalem for the Sisters of Sion. In 1860, he built the Convent of St. John on a ...

Mary's Spring  

Traditional site of Mary's Spring

According to Christian tradition, this village fresh-water spring is the location where Mary and Elizabeth met. The spring waters are considered holy by some Catholic and Orthodox Christian pilgrims who visit the site and fill bottles with its waters. The spring was repaired and renovated by Baron Edmond de Rothschild. Arab inhabitants also built a mosque on the site, of which the maqam (shrine) still remains.

To be continued .....  
Google Ein Karem

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Resurrection Body 1 Cor. 15;42 St. Catherine of Siena

Ordinary Time: May 29th

Wednesday of the Eighth Week of Ordinary Time

Night Office
First Reading      I Corintians 15:35-58
Responsory                                             1 Cor 15:21-22; 2:9
Just as death came through one man, so the resurrection of the dead came through one man. + For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be brought to life.
V. Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor human heart conceived what God has prepared for those who love him. + For as in ...

Alternative Reading
From The Dialogue of Catherine of Siena

It is the desire of the blessed ones to have once again the gift of their bodies. But it is not a troubled desire, because although they do not have them now they are happy in the certainty that their desire will be fulfilled. They are not troubled, for they experience no pain or lack of happiness in not having them. Do not think either that the body's happiness after the resurrection will add anything to the soul's happiness. If this were the case, it would follow that the soul's happiness would be imperfect until the return of the body. But this cannot be, for these souls lack no perfection. It is not the body that brings happiness to the soul. The soul, though, will give happiness to the body: her own fullness will overflow when on the final day of judgment she puts on once more the garment of her own flesh, which she had left behind.

Just as the soul was made immortal and firm in me, so in this reunion the body will become immortal, its heaviness cast off and made fine and light. The glorified body could pass through a wall, and neither fire nor water could hurt it. But know that this is not due to its own power but to the soul's - which is really my own power given her by grace through the unspeakable love with which I created her in my image and likeness.

The good of these souls is beyond what your mind's eye can see or your ear hear or your tongue describe or your heart imagine. What joy they have in seeing me who am all good! What joy they will yet have when their bodies are glorified! But while they do not have this latter good until the general judgment, they do not suffer. They lack no happiness, for the soul is filled, and in this fullness the body will share.

I have told you of the good the glorified body will have in the glorified humanity of my only-begotten Son, and this is the guarantee of your own resurrection. What joy there is in his wounds, forever fresh, the scars remaining in his body and continually crying out for mercy to me the high eternal Father, for you! You will all be made like him in joy and gladness; eye for eye, hand for hand, your whole bodies will be made like the body of the Word my Son. You will live in him as you live in me, for he is one with me. But your bodily eyes, as I have told you, will delight in the glorified humanity of the Word my only-begotten Son. Why? Because those who finish their lives delighting in my love will keep that delight forever. Not that they can do any further good now, but they rejoice in the good that they have brought with them. In other words, they cannot do anything deserving of merit, for it is only in this life, by the choice of free will, that one can either merit or sin.

These souls wait for divine judgment with gladness, not fear.
And the face of my Son will appear to them neither terrifying nor hateful, because they have finished their lives in charity, delighting in me and filled with good will toward their neighbours. The different appearances of his face when he comes in my majesty for judgment will not be in him but in those who are to be judged by him. To the dammed he will appear with just hatred, but to the saved, with mercy and love.
+ + + + + + + + + + 

Catherine of Siena: The Dialogue (Classics of Western Spirituality)

Catherine of Siena: The Dialogue (The Classics of Western Spirituality)

4.19 of 5 sCatherine of Siena (1347-1380), wrote her crowning spiritual work, for "the instruction and encouragement of all those whose spiritual welfare was her concern."

Google Goodread.
Comment from Steve:  
She was 23 when she dictated this, in a state of ecstasy, to the other nuns, having achieved a depth of understanding of the divine that hardly a nonagenarian can claim. She died 10 years later, at the same age at which Our Lord was crucified. St. Caterina, probably starving and living off of only the Eucharist as she was known to do, is able, in this remarkably, remarkably dense work, to grasp concepts that few of us could have drawn out with full stomachs. She, or, I should say, the Lord dictating through her, is not only a first-rate philosopher but a first-rate poet. Dr. Johnson says somewhere that the surest sign of genius is its use and understanding of metaphors; by this standard, St. Caterina is truly honored as a Doctor of the Church.

I was expecting, in read a work of mysticism, to encounter new ideas, ones I hadn't considered before, in other words, revelation. After all, this is purportedly the Lord speaking to her, and through her to us. And while this is the case, instead, St. Caterina spells out the logical consequences of what has already been revealed long before even her time. Hence there is complete consistency here, despite poetic novelties, and these theological truths can be glimpsed by human reason examining revealed truth. Do not be afraid: this is not nearly as weird a book as one dictated by a woman in ecstasy might sound.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Holy Trinity Sunday 2013 - Homily by Fr. A...

 Holy Trinity Sunday 2013, Benediction 

Sunday, 26 May 2013

The Most Holy Trinity – Solemnity – Year C 

Most Holy Trinity   May 2013 26
Prin. Celebrant, Fr. Aelred
Mass Introduction;
‘Most ancient of all mysteries, before your throne we lie; have mercy now most merciful, Most Holy Trinity.’
These words from a hymn for the feast of the Holy Trinity express very well what our sentiments should be for today’s celebration.

From Christmas to Pentecost the Church’s liturgy takes us through the major events in our Lord’s life His birth and ministry., His passion and crucifixion, His resurrection, ascension and the sending of the Holy Spirit on the apostles During this time, but in a more subtle manner, the nature of the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit is also being revealed to us. That is why the Church asks us on this one Sunday of the year to reflect on this central mystery of our faith, rather than a particular incident in the life of Jesus.

In the OT a popular theme with biblical authors was that of Wisdom. At an early stage, wisdom was largely a practical matter, counsels about how to succeeded in this life, or how to cope with suffering and loss. Then Israel realised that such qualities were a gift if God and could only come from him, and that these same qualities are in God to a supreme degree. It became common for wisdom to be personified. Today’s reading from Proverbs looks at the role of Lady Wisdom in creation. This speculation about wisdom can be seen as a groping towards the revelation of the mystery of the Trinity.
In the Gospels, many hints about the Holy Trinity are given us. Jesus is conceived of a Virgin through the Holy Spirit, or out-going love of God the Most High. The birth’s miraculous manner prompts us to call the Child the Son of God.
At the Baptism the Spirit is manifested descending on the Son, and and the Father’s voice is heard. And at the Last Supper in St. John’s gospel, we are given some of the most beautiful and profound chapters in the whole of the NT about the inner life of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

For St Paul Christian life is Trinitarian. Through our relationship with the Son, we have access to the Father, who sends us the Holy Spirit. We are caught up into the life of the Being who is beyond imagination, but whom Scripture tells us is love itself. And in Christ the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given us.

So the Christian revelation gives us a glimpse into the heart of the Godhead itself. It shows us a life of interpersonal relationships spirit in outpouring love. A life of unimaginable richness. And it tells us that our own human fulfilment is found at the deepest level by entering into these loving interpersonal relationships, with God and with one another.

Although Christians share in the indwelling life of the Trinity, we must not think of the omnipresent God constantly watching us like the ubiquitous security camera. Rather, God watches over us, an altogether more lovely feeling. This awareness that the Triune God is watching over us comfort in times of sadness, strength in times of weakness, and hope in times of despair.

Prayers; conclusion;
Heavenly Father’s,
Guide our wayward hearts,
For we know that left to ourselves
we cannot do our will.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen