Navigation

Reflections

August2018

QUEEN AND MOTHER

Each year at the Birmingham Oratory on the feast of the Assumption we entrust ourselves to our Blessed Lady. O Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Heaven and Mother of the Oratory, behold us now, your devoted sons, gathered in prayer before your image. Today we once again entrust to you our Congregation, this Oratory, our house, our home. We wish to belong entirely to you, O heavenly Queen and kindest Mother. We ask that by your glorious intercession you will bring us ever closer to your divine Son. We beseech you to obtain for us all the graces that we ...

Read More >

Precious Blood

THE PRECIOUS BLOOD

In 1960 Pope John XXIII issued an inspiring Apostolic Letter about devotion to the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ (Inde a primis). He reminded us that the Precious Blood was poured out for us “first at his circumcision eight days after birth, and more profusely later on in his agony in the garden, in his scourging and crowning with thorns, in his climb to Calvary and crucifixion, and finally from the great wide wound in his side which symbolises the divine Blood cascading down into all the Church’s sacraments”. From our Lord’s consecration to the Father in the temple until ...

Read More >

Corpus Christi 2017

OF THE GLORIOUS BODY TELLING

Corpus Christi is one of the most colourful and joyful feasts of the Catholic year. It is especially dear to us at the Oratory because it was a feast for which our founder St Philip Neri had a particular devotion. On Maundy Thursday at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper the sanctuary bells rang out at Gloria in excelsis Deo. Why? To herald the arrival in this world of a startling new reality, Christ’s Eucharistic presence. At the Last Supper the Creator did something entirely new. He introduced a new mode of His own Personal presence within creation. No other ...

Read More >

May2018

DE MARIA NUMQUAM SATIS

Many of us who are converts to Catholicism were already in the habit of praying to our blessed Lady long before we became Catholics. Those prayers were undoubtedly a means of grace for us. But then, having entered the one fold of the Redeemer, we came to understand better than before that devotion to the Mother of God is not an optional add-on. It is a constitutive component of the Christian religion rightly understood and rightly practised. People sometimes ask where the doctrines about our Lady come from. Are they from the Bible? Yes they are. Are they from the ...

Read More >

Screen Shot 2018-03-31 at 17.57.34

CORPOREAL AND GLORIFIED

After the resurrection Christ’s bodily presence was puzzling, to say the least. The Lord’s risen and glorified body constituted a new type of reality not previously seen or known. The apostles had seen Him die and now He was with them once again, in the body, but strangely different. One major difference was that His glorified body was no longer constrained by spatio-temporal parameters. No wonder they were frightened, and it is not surprizing that they thought it might be a ghost. It is difficult to deny that phantasms do exist, in some sense.  Remember the Biblical episode of Saul ...

Read More >

Screen Shot 2018-03-25 at 15.02.50

HOLY WEEK WITH NEWMAN

“A great number of men live and die without reflecting at all upon the state of things in which they find themselves. They take things as they come, and follow their inclinations as far as they have the opportunity. They are guided mainly by pleasure and pain, not by reason, principle, or conscience; and they do not attempt to interpret this world, to determine what it means, or to reduce what they see and feel to system. But when persons, either from thoughtfulness of mind, or from intellectual activity, begin to contemplate the visible state of things into which they ...

Read More >

Passiontide

HOC PASSIONIS TEMPORE

Christ’s Precious Blood redeemed all mankind, once and for all; past, present and future. It bought us back from our previous ownership by the Devil. Does that mean that we are all saved? Secundum quid. We are most certainly all redeemed, but that does not mean that we are automatically all saved. We have to lay hold of the redemption won for us by Christ, and so press on towards eventual salvation. We have to believe in salvation, and above all we have to want it. Our wanting is necessary for our salvation. Nobody is ever forced into heaven. The ...

Read More >

Picture1

THE RAISING OF PRINCE PAOLO MASSIMO

THE RAISING OF PRINCE PAOLO MASSIMO Et resedit, qui erat mortuus, et coepit loqui.   And he who was dead sat up and began to speak. In Rome on 16th March 1583, in the presence of a number of witnesses, Father Philip Neri performed an astonishing miracle. He raised to life a dead boy, the fourteen year old nobleman, Prince Paolo Massimo, who had died thirty minutes previously. When the family sent for Fr Philip to attend their dying son he was saying Mass and so was not present at the moment when Paolo expired. There is no doubt that ...

Read More >

REJOICE! PASSIONTIDE IS COMING

In the gospel for Laetare Sunday the feeding of the five thousand gives us good reason to rejoice, even as Passiontide approaches. Next Sunday is Passion Sunday, the start of the most intense period of the Church’s year. We should now take stock of our Lenten efforts so far, and if necessary renew our resolutions, in preparation for Passiontide and Holy Week. In the feeding of the five thousand our Lord anticipated the still more miraculous feeding of His people which He was later to accomplish, first at the Last Supper, and then down the ages every time that the ...

Read More >

Ash-Wednesday-1-1

LIBERA NOS DOMINE

We should not be surprized that the Church’s Lenten call to penance and self-denial seems so out of step with the aspirations of the secular world. How could it be otherwise? The kingdom of this world and the Kingdom of Christ are not co-extensive. They have vastly different territories, different values, different laws. In Lent we follow Christ into the desert, into a retreat of deeper prayer and more generous penance. But that solitude is also the place where evil lurks and temptation whispers. In that wilderness we shall experience emptiness and loneliness. We shall feel the cold dry winds ...

Read More >