Sunday, 30 November 2014

St Andrew - Scotland's Patron Saint

Story of how St Andrew became the patron saint of Scotland

Advent, 1st Sunday. 'that definitive moment of our own personal lives' Fr. Raymond Homily

Mass, Advent 1. 


Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 13:33-37.
Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.
It is like a man travelling abroad. He leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his work, and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch.
Watch, therefore; you do not know when the lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cock-crow, or in the morning.
May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.
What I say to you, I say to all: 'Watch!'"

 Fr. Raymond ... 

"that definitive moment of our own personal lives" [emphasis. Edit]

For the Gospel of the very first Sunday of Advent we might expect the Church to choose a passage that turns our minds directly to the proximity of her annual celebration of the birth of Christ.
But we won't find anything of that in today's Gospel. Instead She chooses a Gospel that turns our minds to the consideration of the proximity of our personal death. The implication being made is surely that it is precisely, at the moment of our own personal death that we will first personally encounter the Christ face to face, and no matter how young we may be, that encounter is, for each of us, relatively proximate. "Stay awake!" says Jesus, "Stand ready! Because .... " No matter who we may be or what the times and seasons for anyone of us ... "The Son of Man is coming at an hour we do not expect".

Perhaps we could do well this Advent to make this theme the background to our preparation for Christmas. We could make it a preparation for; a looking forward to; that definitive moment of our own personal lives when we will come face to face with the living Christ; or rather, that definitive moment when He comes to us.
This will be the moment when we come face to face with Jesus: not as the sacramental Jesus of the Eucharist,
nor as the liturgically new-born Jesus of the Christmas season, nor as the Jesus whom we encounter in our prayer life;
but as the Risen and Living Christ of Glory. The Christ in all the splendour of his Godhead and of his glorified humanity.

This is surely the message of today's Gospel: that our death will not be a lonely journey into the next world. Jesus himself has described it for us very differently. He describes it, not as a going out of ourselves from this world to him in the next, but rather as an advent, a coming of Himself to us in this world to take us by the hand and lead us into the next. "I am going away to prepare a place for you" he says" .... and I will come back to take you to be with me where I am." And in case we should think of this final personal advent with fear, Jesus himself is careful to take away any sense of awe and fear we might have. This he does by portraying it for us in that homely post-resurrection scene where he stands on the shore of eternity, as it were, and invites the Apostles to "come and have breakfast".

Now is the time then to prepare ourselves to welcome this inevitable and utterly personal Advent of the Lord to us with a Faith and a Love that cry out "Come then, Lord Jesus, Come."

Cistercian ocso Missal.
First Sunday of Advent

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Year of Consecrated Life set for 2015

Year of Consecrated Life set for 2015   

4-01-31 Vatican Radio
(Vatican Radio) The Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Cardinal João Braz De Aviz held a press conference on Friday to announce the upcoming Year of Consecrated Life.
At the press conference, Cardinal Braz de Aviz told journalists that Pope Francis had announced the Year of Consecrated life in November at a meeting with the Union of Superiors General.
Noting that the Year will take place in the context of the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, Cardinal Braz de Aviz said, “We believe that the Council has been a breath of the Spirit not only for the whole Church but, perhaps especially, for the consecrated life. We are also convinced that in these 50 years consecrated life has undertaken a fruitful journey of renewal — not free, certainly, of difficulties and hardships — in the commitment to follow what the Council asked of the consecrated: fidelity to the Lord, to the Church, to their own charism and to the people of today.
For this reason, he said, the first objective of the Year of Consecrated Life would be to “make a grateful remembrance of the recent past.”
With this positive outlook on the past, he continued, “we want to ‘embrace the future with hope’— the second objective. Although the crises that affect the world and the Church are also felt within consecrated life, Cardinal Braz de Aviz said women and men religious remain full of hope, based not on their own powers, but on trust in the Lord. “In Him,” he said, “no one can rob us of our hope.”
This hope, though, he said, cannot keep us from “living the present with passion” — and this is the third objective of the coming Year. This passion, the Cardinal said, speaks of “being in love, of true friendship, of profound communion.” This is “the true beauty of the life of so many women who profess the evangelical counsels and follow Christ ‘more closely’ in this state of life.” In this regard, he said, the Year of Consecrated Life will have an evangelical focus, helping people to realize “the beauty of following Christ” in the various types of religious vocations.
The Year of Consecrated Life is expected to begin in October of this year, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the promulgation of Lumen gentium(the Second Vatican Council’s constitution on the Church), which has a specific chapter dealing with consecrated life. The anniversary of the Council’s decree Perfectae caritatis, will be the occasion of the close of the Year, in November 2015.

Prayer Vigil for the Year of Consecrated Life - 2014.11.29

Started on 29 Nov 2014
Starts at 7:00pm - Prayer Vigil in occasion of the beginning of the Year of Consecrated Life. Pope Francis addresse the participants trough a video message.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Gospel November 30, 2014

Gospel November 30, 2014

Faith, hope and love are virtues directed toward past, future and present. In Advent, we remind ourselves to be ever ready to meet and love the Lord who has come, who will come, who comes. Liturgical Year

Sancta Maria Abbey: (Website)  
Blogspot : 

On Wednesday, 26 November 2014, 22:02, Liturgical Year Preview <> wrote:

Overview for November 26, 2014 to December 10, 2014

Ordinary Time


Nov. 26Wednesday of the Thirty-Fourth Week of Ordinary Time
According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Sylvester. He was the son of a lawyer and had also studied law before becoming a canon in his native town of ...
Nov. 27Thursday of the Thirty-Fourth Week of Ordinary Time; Thanksgiving
Many people assume that the United States has celebrated Thanksgiving Day since the time of the pilgrims as a sign of thanksgiving for the harvest season. This is not exactly true. President Abraham Lincoln instituted the ...
Nov. 28Friday of the Thirty-Fourth Week of Ordinary Time
Traditionally today is the feast of St. Catherine Laboure. The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to her, a member of the Daughters of Charity, three times in 1830 and commissioned her to have made the Miraculous Medal and to spread a ...
Nov. 29Saturday of the Thirty-Fourth Week of Ordinary Time
Today is the last day of the liturgical year. But the Church proposes no special liturgy to mark its close because already here on earth she lives an eternal life. One day follows another like the links of a chain; the end of ...

Advent Begins:

Nov. 30First Sunday of Advent
For us Catholics, the new Liturgical Year commences with the first Sunday of Advent. In this new liturgical year, the Church not only wishes to indicate the beginning of a period, but the beginning of a renewed commitment ...


Dec. 1Monday of the First Week of Advent
And God seeing that the wickedness of men was great on the earth, and that all the thought of their heart was bent upon evil at all times, It repented him that he had made man on the earth. And being touched inwardly with sorrow ...
Dec. 2Tuesday of the First Week of Advent
According to the 1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Bibiana who was martyred at Rome under Julian the Apostate in 363. Jesse Tree ~ Fall of ...
Dec. 3Memorial of St. Francis Xavier, priest
St. Francis Xavier (1506-1552) was born in the castle of Xavier in Navarre, Spain. In 1525 he went to Paris where he met St. Ignatius Loyola and with whom he received Holy Orders in Venice in 1537. In 1540 he was sent to ...
Dec. 4Optional Memorial of St. John Damascene, priest and doctor
St. John Damascene was a learned theologian who carefully gathered together and transmitted to us the teaching of the Greek Fathers, and is thus one of the most trustworthy witnesses to oriental tradition. He also wrote many ...
Dec. 5Friday of the First Week of Advent
St. Sabbas is pictured as an abbot with an apple. He was once tempted to eat an apple outside of the prescribed mealtime, whereupon he vowed never to eat apples again. The Martyrology says: "At Mutala in Cappadocia the holy ...
Dec. 6Optional Memorial of St. Nicholas, bishop
St. Nicholas was born in Lycia, Asia Minor, and died as Bishop of Myra in 352. He performed many miracles and exercised a special power over flames. He practiced both the spiritual and temporal works of mercy, and fasted twice a ...
Opt. Mem.
Dec. 7Second Sunday of Advent
“As the journey of Advent continues, as we prepare to celebrate the nativity of Christ, John the Baptist's call to conversion sounds out in our communities. It is a pressing invitation to open our hearts and to welcome the Son ...
Dec. 8Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Patronal Feastday of the United States of America 
Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the solemn dogma defined by Blessed Pope Pius IX in 1854. As Our Lady Immaculately Conceived is the patroness of the United States of America, this is a ...
Dec. 9Optional Memorial of St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (USA)
Today the Church in the United States celebrates the optional memorial of St. Juan Diego, an Indian convert, to whom the Virgin Mary appeared as he was going to Mass in Tlatlelolco, Mexico. Our Lady asked him to tell the Bishop ...
Dec. 10Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent
St. Melchiades "who suffered much during the persecution of Maximianus; when at last peace was restored to the Church, died in the Lord." He was an African whom St. Augustine calls "the true child of the peace of Jesus Christ." ...
The liturgical year resources on are currently complete through Saturday, November 29, 2014.
There are not a hundred people in America who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions of people who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church—which is, of course, quite a different thing. –Bishop Fulton Sheen
Commentary of the day 
Aphrahat (?-c.345), monk and Bishop near Mosul 
The Demonstrations, no.4 (©Cistercian publications; SC 349, p. 316)
"Be vigilant at all times and pray"
My beloved, that a person should do the will of God is what constitutes prayer. That is how prayer seems to me to excel. Above all, be eager for prayer and do not weary in it, as it is written that our Lord said: “Pray and do not weary.” You should be eager in wakefulness and remove far from yourself drowsiness and sleep; you should be watchful both by day and by night and not be disheartened.
Now I shall show you the different occasions for prayer. There is petition, thanksgiving, and praise (Phil 4,6). In petition one asks for mercy for one's sins, in thanksgiving you give thanks to your Father who is in heaven, while in praise you praise him for his works. At a time when you are in trouble, offer up petition, and when you are well supplied with good things, you should give thanks to the Giver, and when your mind rejoices, offer up praise.

Make all these prayers of yours with discernment to God. See how David was always saying: “I have risen to give thanks to you for your judgments, O Just One.” (Ps 119[118],62). And in another psalm he said: “Praise the Lord in heaven, praise him in the heights” (Ps 149[148],1). Again he says: “I will bless the Lord at all times, and at all times his praises are in my mouth” (Ps 34[33],2). Do not pray using only one kind of prayer, but all separately according to circumstance.

I am convinced, my beloved, that everything people ask for with diligence, God will grant them. But he takes no pleasure in the person who offers up prayer in mockery. As it is written: “This is required of the person who prays, offering up prayer: that he turn over and inspect his offering well, lest some blemish be found on it; only then should he offer it” (cf Mt 5,23-24; Mk 11,25), so that your offering does not remain on earth. What is this offering if not prayer?... Of all offerings pure prayer is the best.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Dom Donald's Blog: COMMENTS: Father Donald 80 yrs

Dom Donald's Blog: COMMENTS: Father Donald 80 yrs: Octogenarian, celebration ... Anne Marie ... To   Me Aug 14 at 10:16   PM The pictures are brilliant.   Great memories of a gr...

Dom Donald's Blog: Nunraw Environmental Renewables

Dom Donald's Blog: Nunraw Environmental Renewables:     Whit Whitelee, Wind Farm, Eaglesham - Mini bus outing   Sancta Maria Abbey: (Web...

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Presentation of Our Lady

Fr. Ives Congar O.P.
Night Office Readings, Nov 21, 2013

SAN - Nov 21
Presentation of Our Lady-l

A Reading 'In the Virgin Mary and the Temple', by Fr. Yves Congar *

THE only occasions on which the Gospels express1y mention the Virgin Mary in connection with the Temple are in the account of her Purification and of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple (Lk 2, 23-38), the annual journey to Jerusalem of his parents for the Feast of the Passover (Lk 2~41) and the finding of the child Jesus in the Temple after four days' absence on his part and three of anxious searching by his parents (Lk 2, 42-50).  To these very brief indications, the piety of Christians very soon added the idea of the presen­tation of Mary in the Temple at the age of three to be consecrated to the service of God, We are dealing here with a symbolical representation of a profound spiritua1 reality about which the tradition and the doctrine of the Church provide us with valid information. Mary, predestined to be the Mother of Jesus, true God and true man, and to be worthy of her vocation, was prepared by the gift of exceptional graces and lived with unfailing fidelity a most pure life of inner consecration to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. As the type of all faithful souls and of the Church herself, Mary expressed spiritually and supremely in her life that ''presentation'' which, for each one of us, is to begin by the service of faith and to be consummated in heaven.

It is obvious that the tradition and doctrine of the Church may, without falling a prey to the imaginary productions of the apocrypha, propound state­ments concerning the status of the Mother of God in relation either to the Jewish or the messianic temple going far beyond what we are explicitly told in the three short passages from the Gospel which narrate the incidents mentioned above, If Mary is the Mother of God, she has a special relation to the body of Christ which is the true temple-to his physical body and doubtless also, in a certain sense, to his body the Church, She is herself a temple of God in a quite specific and sublime way, both because Christ was within her from the moment of his conception until that of his birth, and because of the exceptional spirttua1 gifts she received in preparation for her divine motherhood and as a reward for her free acceptance of this vocation (Lk. 1,38), not only after the Annunciation but during the whole of her life. Hence the liturgy-the Oriental 1iturgy in particular-shows a profound understand of the mystery of Mary when it constantly uses the texts concerning the Temple and the tabernacle in order to express it.
* The Mystery of the Temple , Westminster (Maryland) 1962, 254-255,

Cistercian Life Vocation

Regular Wednesday Community Talk
Fr. Raymond 19 November 2014

Cistercian Life - Vocation

Fr. Raymond Talk on Cistercian Vocation
None of our three Holy Founders has the personal individual fame of their great protégée St Bernard, nor do we have nearly so much biographical information about them.  That is a great pity, and yet there is something very fitting and relevant about their anonymity and the silence and the obscurity of their lives.  They were destined, after all, to found an Order whose members were, by profession, to live lives of anonymity and obscurity.  St Bernard’s life, however, was hardly obscure and anonymous.  It is true that he was a great monk but he was hardly a typical monk. Certainly not in the way that Robert and Alberic and Stephen were.
However, our debt to them and our devotion to them do make us eager to learn as much about them as we can.  Knowledge and love are two inseparable concepts.  If we love anyone, we want to know as much as possible about them.   
This seems to leave is in a bit of dilemma.  If we know so little about them how can we in any way get close to them?  How can we gain any inspiration from them?  How can we be drawn to imitate them?  How can we really respect and love them?
On consideration, however, this lack of knowledge of the external details of their lives is no great obstacle to our coming to know and love and appreciate them.  How much, for instance, we know about the details of the lives of the great figures of ancient human history: the Pharoahs, The Gengis Khans, the Napoleons, the Stalins, the Hitlers, the Churchills, and countless others, and yet how little do we really know them as persons.
The  case is very different however, with our Holy Founders.  We have a knowledge of them which is, in a way, very deep and intimate.  It is the knowledge that comes from the fact that we share in the deepest and most intimate aspirations of their minds and hearts.  We share in their ideals of poverty; of leaving behind all the goods of this world.  We share in their desire to commit themselves to God’s will in a life of obedience to a rule and an abbot.  We share in their love for God alone in a life of consecrated chastity.
Moreover, although the condition of human life has changed almost beyond recognition since those mediaeval times, yet the basic round of monastic life: The Divine Office, Lectio, Work, remains basically still the same for us as it was for them.
Indeed then we can know and love our Holy Founders and indeed we can know them for precisely who and what they were.
In the matter of our own personal relationship with our founders we can find great encouragement in a passage from Therese of Lisieux’s  autobiography.
She tells us “I dreamt that I was standing in a sort of gallery where several other people were present but our Mother (Celine) was the only one near me.  Suddenly, without seeing how they got there, I was conscious of the presence of three Carmelite sisters..........  What was borne in upon me with certainty was that they came from heaven.  I found myself crying out the silence of my heart: “Oh how I would love to see the face of one of these Carmelites!”  Upon which, as if granting my request, the tallest of the three Saintly figures moved towards me, and, as I sank to my knees, lifted her veil right up and threw it over me.   I recognised her without the slightest difficulty;  the face was that of our Venerable Mother Anne of Jesus, who brought the reformed Carmelite order into France.  There was a kind of ethereal beauty about her features, which were transfused with a light that seemed to come from her.
I can’t describe what elation filled my heart; an experience like that can’t be put down on paper.  Months have passed now since then but the memory of it is as fresh as ever, as delightful as ever.  I can still see the look on Mother Anne’s face, her loving smile;  I Can still feel the touch of the kisses she gave me...........
What gave more strength to this impression was the fact that, up till then, Mother Anne of Jesus had meant nothing to me.  I’d never asked for her prayers, or even thought about her, except on the rare occasions when her name came up in conversation.


Sts RobertAlberic and Stephen, 26 JanuaryJANUARY. 10 St. Gregory of Nyssa, Bishop. St. William of Bourges, Bishop O.N.. 12 St. Aelred, Abbot O.N., ...

Dom Donald's Blog: Presentation of Mary in the Temple

Dom Donald's Blog: Presentation of Mary in the Temple: Presentation of Mary in the Temple Mary's hidden life, e.g., her Presentation in the Temple , finds expression in ancient tradition...

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

St Mary's Abbey, Holme Cultram, Abbeytown, Cumbria: Archaeological and Historical Investigations - Cumbria Archaeological Research Reports No. 4 (Book) by Jan Walker, et al. (2013):

COMMENT: This press cutting from 'The Cumberland News' is received from William...
The interest is warmly appreciated from the Cistercian history and the immediate  link of Holme Cultram Abbey, the affiliation from Melrose Abbey.
Holme Cultram from Melrose Abbey
St Mary's Abbey, Holme Cultram, Abbeytown, Cumbria: Archaeological and Historical Investigations - Cumbria Archaeological Research Reports No. 4 (Book) by Jan Walker, et al. (2013): 

The Cumberland News
Holme Cultram
Dig reveals treasure chess of the monks
Interesting discovery: Archaeologist Mark Graham is leading the dig at Holme Cultram Abbey at Abbey town. He is holding up a medieval chess piece unearthed during the dig.     Paul Johnson


A CHESS piece, a shoe sole and leather horse tack are the latest findings to have been uncovered at a north Cumbrian excavation.

Archeologists have unearthed artefacts at Holme Cultram Abbey, near Abbey town, that they believe tell us about the activities of the Cistercian monks who lived in Cumbria more than 500 years ago.

To the south of the site a latrine has been found in a newly-discovered building, thought to be an infirmary.

Archeologist Trish Shaw said: "It's brilliant. It goes beyond what we expected to find really.

"It's absolutely wonderful to be in Cumbria and to do research on a site like this."

Volunteer Robert 'Bone read about the dig in The Cumberland News and decided to take part.
Shifting soil: The excavation has been ongoing since June.     Going underground: Inside the medieval water cistern at the abbey

He was the lucky digger who found the chess piece on his second day.

"I'd only been there for about half an hour before I found it," said Robert. "It was beginner's luck. I didn't expect to find anything more than a bit of bone.

"If I hadn't found it someone else would have."
He said it looked unusual and was unsure what it was made of. The piece was found inside the refectory - where the monks would have eaten and socialised - and is thought to be a queen or a pawn.

"It's small but intricate," said Trish. "It could be ivory, bone or horn but it is yet to be looked at by a specialist."
Leather horse tack and a shoe sole were found at Friar's Garth, an area to the west of the abbey where, in 2012, experts found it to be an area containing a high level of magnetic disturbance.

Trish continued: "The leather is quite good and well preserved, and it should be able to be handled when it is  conserved."
She explained how all their fmdings tell us a lot about how the monks lived.
"We've found drainage systems, but no water sources yet. But it shows us they were managing the water systems.
"We know they were breeding sheep and cattle - from the bones we've found - and that they encompassed quite a lot of the area, managing the woodland, farming and utilising the sea," added Trish.

"As they increased in wealth they were in a position to reorganise things."

The site around the church, that was nearly destroyed by fire in 2006, dates back to about 1150.

It would have once been a huge complex, but experts say it was destroyed in 1538 during the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII.

The excavation, which is part of the Heritage Lottery funded Solway Landscape Partnership, has been ongoing since June and will run until July 25.

In the past, coins, stained glass, ceramics, decorated tiles and bodies have been found in the area.

Where the artefacts will be displayed is yet to be decided. There is a lot of post-excavation work and research to be completed before then.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Saint Mechtildis of Hackeborn (of Helfta)   Friday, 19 November 2010St. Me...

Benedictine; born in 1240 or 1241 at the ancestral castle of Helfta, near Eisleben, Saxony; died in the monastery of Helfta, 19 November, 1298

Dom Donald's Blog:                     Friday, 19 November 2010St. Me...:                      Friday, 19 November 2010 St. Mechtildis of Helfta (13th century) Saint Mechtildis of Helfta (13th century)...

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Saint Mechtildis of Hackeborn, Abbess
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Saint Mechtildis of Hackeborn  

  November 19

Saint Mechtildis of Hackeborn


Saint Mechtildis of Hackeborn
Saint Mechtildis of Hackeborn

Saint Mechtildis, born in 1240 in Saxony, was the younger sister of the illustrious Abbess Gertrude of Hackeborn. She was so attracted to religious life at the age of seven, after a visit to her sister in the monastery of Rodardsdoft, that she begged to be allowed to enter the monastic school there. Her gifts caused her to make great progress both in virtue and learning.
Ten years later, when her sister had transferred the monastery to an estate at Helfta offered by their brothers, Mechtildis went with her. She was already distinguished for her virtues, and while still very young became the valuable Assistant to Abbess Gertrude. One of the children who in the monastic school were committed to her care, was the child of five who later became known as Saint Gertrude the Great.
Saint Mechtildis was gifted with a beautiful voice, and was choir mistress of the nuns all her life. Divine praise, it has been said, was the keynote of her life, as also of her famous book, The Book of Special Grace. When she learned, at the age of fifty, that two of her nuns had written down all the favors and words of their Abbess, which she had become, she was troubled, but Our Lord in a vision assured her that all this has been committed to writing by My will and inspiration, and therefore you have no cause to be troubled over it. He added that the diffusion of the revelations He had given her would cause many to increase in His love. She immediately accepted the Lord's bidding, and the book became extremely popular in Italy after her death. Its influence on the poet Dante's Purgatorio is undeniable, for she had described the place of purification after death under the same figure of a seven-terraced mountain. The Donna Matelda of his Purgatorio, who guides him at one point in his vision, is Saint Mechtildis as she represents mystical theology. She died in 1298 at the monastery of Helfta.
The Catholic Encyclopedia, edited by C. G. Herbermann with numerous collaborators (Appleton Company: New York, 1908); Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler's Livesof the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).
Lives of the Saints  Our Models and Protectors 

Monday, 17 November 2014

Dom Donald's Blog: "C. S. Lewis - A Life" by Alister McGrath 2

Dom Donald's Blog: "C. S. Lewis - A Life" by Alister McGrath: CS Lewis Biography Alister McGrath     Youtube - Published on 19 Nov ...