Tuesday 26 July 2016

Fr. Jaques Hamel

I have recently heard the news of the murder this morning of Fr. Jaques Hamel in St. Etienne du Rouvray in Normandy.

I see that other bloggers have already posted on the subject, notably Fr's. John Zuhlsdorf and Ray Blake .

Fr. Hamel was killed by two attackers, allegedly claiming affiliation to so-called 'Daesh' or 'ISIS' while he was in the act of saying morning Mass. A fuller account can be read here.

One obvious thought is the parallel with Blessed Oscar Romero, who was also murdered while celebrating Mass.

I would suggest that is genuine Martyrdom, given that Fr. Hamel was actively witnessing to the Faith by the very act of offering the Holy Sacrifice (or having the intention to do so imminently - I am not sure to what extent the Mass had progressed when the attack took place). Perhaps if there is a reader with a fuller understanding of the theology of martyrdom, they could confirm whether this is indeed the case.

I would echo the final comment of Fr. Blake's post:

Kyrie eleisonChriste eleisonKyrie eleison

and add an invocation for the prayers of Our Blessed Lady:

Regina pacis, ora pro nobis

and finally, for Fr. Hamel:

Requiem aeternum dona ei, Domine,Et lux perpetual luceat ei:Requiescat in pace,Amen

Sunday 10 July 2016

Lovely Thing

Yesterday I visited the hospital where I was recently treated, in order to properly thank the ward staff who looked after me, and leave a card and gift of some sweeties for them.

It was also an opportunity to look round the hospital properly, visit the chapel to say a prayer of thanksgiving for my ongoing recovery and so forth.

The hospital corridors are decorated with several displays of artwork, and among them, a small collection of poems written by staff and others associated with the hospital. I was quite taken by one in particular, which I think was a beautiful thing. I am reproducing it below, as the photo of it I took on my 'phone is not the clearest. As it was on public display, I trust the author will not mind me posting it here.

Unborn Child

What would you say to an unborn child?
Explain the world surrounding them
The deepest blue oceans wide
The purest white clouds up high
How night becomes a brand new day
When sunshine chases it away
How love must triumph over all
And hatred left behind to die
So we can live our lives in full
Without the fear of sin and lie
This unborn child will join the world
With peace in heart and love to give
With hatred shielded from their mind
Until they grow and start to live

Shirley Hanson,
Laboratory Manager, Pathology

Very nice to see these sentiments expressed in an NHS hospital, although I sadly suspect that not all unborn children who enter there do not get the chance to 'join the world' - please pray for all expectant mothers, especially those who are led or pressured to destroy the new lives they are carrying.

St Catherine of Sienna, patroness of expectant mothers, pray for us

Sunday 3 July 2016

Inspiring Hymn

I heard this hymn (which I assume is of Anglican patrimony) recently when watching 'Songs of Praise' while in hospital. When going through a time of difficulty and suffering, the words are inspirational, reminding us that we are not Christians in order to have a comfortable, easy time, but often need to follow the tough, challenging road through life in order for our souls to grow and develop. After all, we were baptised into Christ's Passion and death in order that we might hopefully share His Resurrection, and sometimes it is necessary to walk with Him on the road to Calvary.

Please pray for me, and more so, pray for all those on the world who are going through much greater tribulation and suffering that that which I experienced during my recent illness.

Father, for the sake of Christ's sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us, and on the whole world.

Land of Our Birth - Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling

Following the Brexit vote, we have seen a rise of nastiness in some quarters, with racial and xenophobic abuse on the increase.

In response to this, I would draw your attention to this delightful old poem by Rudyard Kipling. Also sometimes known as 'The Children's Song', it is largely written in the form of a prayer, from the viewpoint of the young, and, I imagine, was probably once commonly recited in school assemblies and similar. I believe the poem was written a little before WW1, and so the fourth stanza is poignant in the light of the events of the Somme battle, of which we are currently commemorating the centenary.

Here is the poem:

Land of our Birth, we pledge to thee
Our love and toil in the years to be;
When we are grown and take our place
As men and women with our race.

Father in Heaven who lovest all,
Oh, help Thy children when they call;
That they may build from age to age
An undefiled heritage.

Teach us to bear the yoke in youth,
With steadfastness and careful truth;
That, in our time, Thy Grace may give
The Truth whereby the Nations live.

Teach us to rule ourselves alway,
Controlled and cleanly night and day;
That we may bring, if need arise,
No maimed or worthless sacrifice.

Teach us to look in all our ends
On Thee for judge, and not our friends;
That we, with Thee, may walk uncowed
By fear or favour of the crowd.

Teach us the Strength that cannot seek,
By deed or thought, to hurt the weak;
That, under Thee, we may possess
Man's strength to comfort man's distress.

Teach us Delight in simple things,
And Mirth that has no bitter springs;
Forgiveness free of evil done,
And Love to all men 'neath the sun!  *

Land of our Birth, our faith, our pride,
For whose dear sake our fathers died;
Oh, Motherland, we pledge to thee
Head, heart and hand through the years to be! 

* My Emphasis

Friday 1 July 2016

Precious Blood

I have just noted from Zephirinus' post that today is the Feast of the Most Precious Blood of Our Blessed Lord. Having myself just posted in connection with the remebrance of the dead of the Somme, I can't help but notice the bitter irony that a century ago this day saw perhaps the greatest bloodshed in history.

Reframing that irony, however, leads to the thought that so many young men that day followed the pattern of Our Lord's death, walking forth, yes in fear and trepidation, but boldly, into inevitable oblivion. Let us pray for their souls, that, while their actions were perhaps not entirely motivated by the Faith, and so not an automatic source of the crown of marttyrdom, they were fighting in the cause of right and freedom. May their Purgatory be short (if, indeed, it is not already long over), and may they be with our Saviour in Paradise.
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