Saturday, 31 May 2014

June 2014 Month of Sacred Heart. Prayer Intentions of Pope Francis

Month dedicated June to Sacred Heart    

Picture: an image from previous Abbots' room. The Icon is wood cased and hinged to open. This Christ Pantocrator  is beautifully covered of silver and gold. Obviously we'd love to identify the possible Russian made Icon.
Insight on Icons see recent URL;  
The Vatican has announced the prayer intentions of Pope Francis for the month of June 2014.
The Pope's general intention is: “That the unemployed may receive support and find the work they need to live in dignity.”
His intention for evangelization is: “That Europe may rediscover its Christian roots through the witness of believers."

Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, alleluia. 31 May 2014

Church of Visitation at Ein Karem - Donald & Nivard  2004
Night Office Readings, The Song of Songs, St. Bede "sing Mary’s hymn (Magnificat) at the time of evening prayer.

Previous day, a book in the Library needed the dusk cover to be laminated. The book was St Bernard's Commentary on the Song of Songs.

Next night, 31 May,  to happy surprise, we found the association of the Readings in the Vigil Office and the Hours continue with the weaving of Antiphons on the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
10 years remembering Holy Land  pilgrimage. Donald and Nivard at Ein Karem.

Scheduled for 31 May 2014
Pope Francis attends the closing celebration of the Marian month.
Cerimonia di chiusura del mese mariano con la partecipazione di Papa Francesco, nei Giardini Vaticani.
Pictures photos from YouTube screen

Monastic Office of Vigils,    - iBreviary

Ant. Let us sing to the Lord as we celebrate the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, alleluia.   
Statue of the Visitation

Visitation Ein Karem  


From the Song of Songs
2:8-14; 8:6-7

The coming of the beloved

Hark! my lover—here he comes
springing across the mountains,
leaping across the hills.
My lover is like a gazelle
or a young stag.
Here he stands behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
peering through the lattices.

My lover speaks; he says to me,
“Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one,
and come!
For see, the winter is past,
the rains are over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of pruning the vines has come,
and the song of the dove is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines, in bloom, give forth fragrance.
Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one,
and come!

“O my dove in the clefts of the rock,
in the secret recesses of the cliff,
Let me see you,
let me hear your voice,
For your voice is sweet,
and you are lovely.”

Set me as a seal on your heart,
as a seal on your arm;
For stern as death is love,
relentless as the nether world is devotion;
its flames are a blazing fire.
Deep waters cannot quench love,
nor floods sweep it away.
Were one to offer all he owns to purchase love,
he would be roundly mocked.

Luke 1:41b-43, 44

Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit
and cried out:
Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
 And who am I
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

For when your greeting sounded in my ears,
the baby in my womb leaped for joy.
 And who am I
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

From a homily by Saint Bede the Venerable, priest
(Lib. 1, 4: CCL 122, 25-26. 30)

Mary proclaims the greatness of the Lord working in her

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 savior 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.

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.

Luke 1:45, 46; Psalm 66:16

Happy are you who have believed,
because the Lord’s promises will be accomplished in you.
And Mary said:
 My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.

Come, and listen,
and I will tell what great things God has accomplished for me.
 My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Medugorje Chaplain Postcard

Fr. Raymond was invited to Medugorje as Chaplain to Pilgrims.
His Postcard followed him back home later.
He reported to the community. His word was the strongest message, "Our Lady loves each one".
And Raymond's own gift is that after his first Mass at Medugorje found himself freed of his lame condition.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

ASCENSION 2014 Homily of Fr. Raymond

Flowers for Ascension

Ascension, Mass Homily, 


Among all the mysteries of our faith the importance of the Mystery of the Lord’s bodily ascension into heaven is underlined for us in several ways.  First, it is mentioned in the earliest of the Christian Creeds, from the very beginning of the development of Dogma.  These early Creeds were meant to summarise the essential elements of the Church’s teaching for us.  The Ascension is also mentioned in one breath along with the Passion, death &  Resurrection of the Lord in the Canon of the Mass.  And, very significantly, in our own day it has been retained as one of the few remaining Holidays of Obligation where so many of the other more “popular” feasts have been passed over.

So, there can be no doubting the centrality of the mystery of the Ascension for our understanding of the whole of the Paschal Mystery.
Let’s approach this understanding today by p rescinding from all of God’s other revelations to us.  Let’s go back to the dawn of creation itself, before any revelation from God at all. The Psalmist helps us to do this by so many beautiful expressions of wonder at God’s creation:  “How great is you name O Lord our God through all the earth!  Praise him sun and moon!  Praise him shining stars!  Praise God from the earth; sea creatures and all the oceans!  Fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy winds that obey his word!  This sense of wonder at God’s marvellous creation is at the  foundation of our appreciation of the mystery of Our Lord’s bodily ascension into heaven.  This comes about because when we have first praised him for the wonders of all creation we then praise him even more for the wonder of our own being.  Men and angels alone, the very peak of God’s creation, can understand and appreciate the gift of existence and life and offer thanks for it.

But then, from the wonder of the created world, and from the wonder of our own being, we are drawn by the mystery of the bodily ascension of Christ to see in it a pledge and promise that that this world of time, and we with it, are to be lifted up and fused into the very heaven of heavens.  The world we live in is so beautiful in so many ways!  What then will it be like as the new heaven and new earth that God promises to make it for us.  And what will we ourselves be as we too are lifted up by the resurrection of the dead.  Life is to be changed, not ended.  And if we would get a glimpse of it’s ultimate destiny we need only look up with the apostles and see “Christ, the head and first fruits of our human race, ascending bodily into the heavens”.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Ascension Day: Praying with the Glenstal Icons, Byzantine Chapel

The Glenstal - Book of Icons   
with appreciation of the author, Dom Gregory Collins OSB.  

Dear Folks,
Sr. Mary Teresa, Happy Birthday to Mary. Showers of Blessings for a long and joyful apostolate and also many graces of the Ascension Day in Scotland - and Poland?.

Just had chat with Sr. jomc on Skype.
Before, I was in the Abbey Shop and found the Glenstal Abbey "Praying with the Glenstal Icons"  and Attached the picture, above. The writer is Dom Gregory Collins osb, now Abbot of the Abbey of the Dormition, Jerusalem.
We could well have the 'Meditation on the Icon of Christ's Ascension into Heaven' as it echos the monastic Liturgy quotations. Maybe you may visit the Glenstal Byzantine Chapel, not far away..

Tomorrow, Fr. Raymond will have the Homily on Ascension.
God love.
fr. Donald & Niv.

Previously the Mass introduction of Fr. Nivard:   
On Wednesday, 28 May 2014, 10:43, Nivard wrote:

Daily Reading & Meditation Don Schwager © 2014 adapted
Wednesday (May 28): John 16:12-15

The Holy Spirit will guide you into all the truth

Are you hungry for truth? Jesus proclaimed that he is the Truth, the Way, and the Life.
It is the gift of God.
Many skeptics of truth do not want to believe in an absolute Truth.


A Meditation on the Icon of Christ's Ascension into Heaven

As they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud
took him out of their sight. 
(Acts 1 :9)

Reflecting othe scene of the Ascensio
The celebration of the mystery of the ascension developed liturgically in the Eastern churches as a dramatic com­memoration of the final event in the history of Christ's saving deeds on behalf of the world. The event itself is recorded in the so-called longer ending of St Mark's gospel (16:19-20), but it is also implied in that of St Matthew (28:16-20). St Luke is the one who provides the most detailed account, both at the end of his gospel (Luke 24:50- 53) and in the opening chapter of the Acts of the Apostles (1:1-14). St John's gospel does not contain such a record, because with his characteristically unitary understanding of the work of Jesus, John sees his glorification as a single action, beginning with his lifting up on the cross (12:32) and culminating in his resurrection.

However, the church's liturgical wisdom, in its desire to celebrate the mysteries of Jesus, has followed the Lucan account since it allows for a distinct event in which the work of redemption culminates. At the last supper John records that Jesus promised the coming of another Paraclete (comforter or counsellor) whom the Father would send in his name (John 14:15; 26). For this reason, he says, it is to the disciples' advantage that he should return to the Father (John 16:7) so that the Holy Spirit may come to them.

St Luke takes up this close connection between the departure of Jesus and the arrival of the Holy Spirit, a con­nection expressed also in the various liturgical traditions of Christianity, East and West. Indeed he tells us that just before his ascension, the Lord commanded his disciples to wait in Jerusalem until the promised Spirit would come (Acts 1 :4-5).

The tradition of the church has discerned three deep truths in the mystery of Christ's ascension. The first we find emphasised in the letter to the Ephesians: Christ has ascended on high so as to become the head of his body the church and to fill all things with his presence (Ephesians 1: 20-23). The author sees the ascension as the end of the trajectory traced by Jesus in his act of self-emptying, which led to the cross and the descent to the dead. Christ has received the fullness of grace as head, so as to pour it out on his body the church (Ephesians 4:7-10):
But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore it is said, 'When he ascended on high, he made captivity itself a captive; he gave gifts to his people. ' (When it says, 'He ascended', what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.)
The letter observes that all the gifts of ministry given by the ascended Christ to the church enable the whole body to grow up to the stature of its glorified Lord.

The second truth contained in this mystery is similar to the first, It concerns Christ's continuing work as mediator of the new covenant and is particularly emphasised in the letter to the Hebrews. In heaven at the right hand of God the Father, the risen Jesus exercises his priestly ministry, interceding for the sins of the people and pleading his completed sacrifice in the presence of the Father (Hebrews 5-9). Liturgical tradition (including that of Rome) frequently mentions an altar on high where this priesthood is carried out. Jesus has lifted up the sacrifice of love he accom­plished on the cross and carried it back into its source in the circle of love within the Trinity.

The third truth emerges by reflecting on the scene of the ascension itself as we see it depicted here. The icon shows the company of the disciples gathered beneath the ascended Lord. He is radiant in the glory of heaven where he is attended upon by angels. In the centre stands Mary the Theotokos with her hands crossed in prayer. She too is accompanied by angels, 'men in white' as the scriptural account names them, who speak to the disciples. In many icons the group of apostles includes not only Peter but also Paul. By including Mary and Paul, the icon shows that the ascension is not just a commemoration of a past event, but an icon of the church which is about to be born through the descent of the Spirit at Pentecost.

The ascension is the mystery by which the historically conditioned events of the life of Jesus received their perpetual validity for us. By enthroning our humanity the instrument by means of which he carried out our redemption - at the right hand of the Father, Christ has, in the words of the Roman liturgy; 'given our mortal nature immortal worth'. Thanks to his ascension, the events of his life and death become for us, in the power of the Holy Spirit, a fountain of life and grace in the church until he comes again in glory. It is therefore the basis of our worship and our future glorification. Where Christ our head has gone in glory, there we; the body, are called in hope.

However, it is not enough for the church simply to accept this passively, gazing in unbroken contemplation after her departing Lord. The angels ask (Acts 1: 11),
Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus who has been taken up away from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.
The implications are clear. There is no time to simply stand and gaze. The church like Mary of Bethany (Luke 10:38-40) must never lose sight of her heavenly Lord (Hebrews 12:2). But at the same time she is not called to passivity or inertia. Like Jesus, Christians must allow themselves to be driven by the Spirit (Mark 1: 12). They are called to be apostles, to proclaim the good news of God's redeeming love. That is the task of Christ's disciples in the time between the ascension and the second coming.   
Prayers before the Icon of the Ascension

O King of glory and Lord of hosts who ascended in triumph today above all the heavens: do not leave us orphaned but send to us the promise of the Father, the Holy Spirit of truth, alleluia.
(Roman Rite antiphon for the feast of the Ascension)
Be exalted, 0 God, above the heavens. Let your glory be over all the earth. (Psalm 57: 5)  
Prayers before the Icon of the Ascension  

Lord Jesus Christ you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer!

Lord Jesus Christ, you ascended on high: send us the Holy Spirit!

Lord Jesus Christ in the glory of the Father: lead us on the way to God's kingdom!

Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered, let those who hate him flee before him. Sing to God, sing praises to his name;
lift up a song to him who rides upon the clouds ­his name is the Lord - be exultant before him. (Psalm 68:1,4)

Make our minds ascend 0 Lord to the place of your dwelling and our hearts to the meeting place of your majesty.
May our rise thoughts to the contemplation of your
and grant that we may honour with fitting praises this illustrious mystery of your ascension,
and give glory to your Father and to the Holy Spirit. (Hymn from the Syrian tradition)

The oldest known icon of Christ Pantocrator,e.g. encaustic