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Yearly Archives: 2016

Shepherds at crib

VERBUM CARO FACTUM EST

THE FATHERS AND BROTHERS OF THE BIRMINGHAM ORATORY WISH ALL OUR PARISHIONERS, FRIENDS, AND BENEFACTORS THE PEACE AND BLESSINGS OF CHRISTMAS  

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Burning Bush

SUNDAY 18TH DECEMBER – O ADONAI

Adonai is the Old Testament’s way of writing the name of God. Via its Greek equivalent, Kyrios, it is best translated into English as Lord. That same title includes the connotation of Israel’s Lawgiver and Leader. Israel’s Lord manifested His presence to Moses on Mount Sinai. Moses perceived the divine presence as something which suggested the likeness of a burning bush. This was a likeness, not a photograph. In the novena leading to Christmas eve the liturgy uses the title Adonai to address the Son of God within the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in expectation of His nativity: ...

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Narnia frozen

THE GREAT THAW

Christ said that John the Baptist was the greatest man ever born of woman. That makes John greater than Isaiah, or Jeremiah, or any of the other prophets. Why? Because those earlier prophets had foretold that Christ would come. But John correctly identified Him when He finally did arrive, pointing to him and saying “Behold the Lamb of God!”   The Lord asked those who had gone to hear John preaching: “What did you go out to see – a reed swaying in the wind?”  Beside the river Jordan are innumerable tall reeds swaying to and fro in the breeze. ...

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TOTA PULCHRA

The Almighty gave this world into our charge as His stewards. He gave us a garden of surpassing loveliness to care for. What a mess we have made of our stewardship. Spiritually and morally we have turned the garden into a jungle. Since the Fall from grace of our primordial parents, all human beings come into the world fatally flawed, with an innate talent for uglifying the garden. As a result of the Fall it is always to be expected that we humans shall spoil the picture. However, the situation is not hopeless. The great Artist, whose creativity far surpasses ...

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Second Coming (1)

BACK TO REALITY

Advent brings our wandering attention back to the four Last Things; death, judgement, hell and heaven. In Advent we look up towards the transcendental horizon from whence Christ the Lord will return. The coming of the Lord is contemplated under a double focus. First we are assailed by St John the Baptist, the Lord’s stern and uncompromising precursor. John warns us of judgement and urges us to repentance with his fiery denunciations. Brood of vipers! Flee from the wrath to come! When the Lord returns He will judge the human race in omniscient detail. Under His penetrating gaze no single ...

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Destruction of Temple

THE POWERS OF THE HEAVENS WILL BE SHAKEN

Christ’s prediction of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem was fulfilled in AD70. In our own day and indeed in every generation another of His divine prophecies is also proved true – that His disciples can always expect to suffer persecution and ill-treatment. When we look at the present state of the Church Christ founded maybe we are sometimes tempted to think that we are living through something like a repetition, mutatis mutandis, of the destruction of our earthly temple. Given the present turbulence, that is an understandable temptation, but it is to be resisted. We must never forget ...

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Remembrance Day poppies

WE WILL REMEMBER THEM

O valiant hearts who to your glory came through dust of conflict and through battle flame; tranquil you lie, your knightly virtue proved, your memory hallowed in the land you loved. Proudly you gathered, rank on rank, to war as who had heard God’s message from afar; all you had hoped for, all you had, you gave, to save mankind – yourselves you scorned to save. Splendid you passed, the great surrender made; into the light that nevermore shall fade; deep your contentment in that blest abode, who wait the last clear trumpet-call of God. Long years ago, as earth ...

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PURGATORY – THE CHURCH EXPECTANT

At its particular judgement the soul sees the unveiled splendour of the Godhead. In that instant the soul also realizes how unfit it is for heaven, and so it longs for its purging to begin. Metaphors can play some part in helping us to understand our faith. Some people imagine sinking down into purgatory, as though into a lake. Others prefer Dante’s picture and think of it as rising up into purgatory, the towering mountain at the top of which the next and only further stop is paradise. In purgatory the soul finds itself bereft of the body’s physical senses. ...

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KING OF ALL NATIONS

When Christ the King was brought before Pontius Pilate, the Romans were running a European superstate which they called their ‘Empire’. Roman laws and Roman taxes were enforced by a well-organised network of local administrators, backed up by a powerful military and political machine. For Pontius Pilate, the administrator of Judea, ‘kingship’ meant simply the sort of power you wield if you have an army lined-up behind you. The strange young rabbi from Nazareth apparently had no such power. To Pilate, our Lord must have seemed like a pathetic religious fanatic with nothing to back-up His fanciful claims. Christ’s answers ...

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Queen of Angels

GUARDIAN ANGEL

MY oldest friend, mine from the hour     When first I drew my breath; My faithful friend, that shall be mine,     Unfailing, till my death;   Thou hast been ever at my side;     My Maker to thy trust Consign’d my soul, what time He framed     The infant child of dust.   No beating heart in holy prayer,     No faith, inform’d aright, Gave me to Joseph’s tutelage,     Or Michael’s conquering might.   Nor patron Saint, nor Mary’s love,     The dearest and the best, Has known my being, as thou hast known,     And blest, as thou ...

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