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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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Expulsion from Eden

SEPTUAGESIMA

Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima are the three Sundays and weeks which the Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite wisely gives us in preparation for Lent. The afterglow of Epiphany is replaced by the austerity of Septuagesima and the three weeks which follow. The liturgical colour is violet. The Gloria is not sung or said. Alleluia is omitted. This is to help us get in training for Quadragesima itself, the forty days of intensive prayer and penance in preparation for Eastertide. These three pre-Lenten preparatory weeks are not included in the Ordinary Form of the Roman rite. However, in the magnificent ...

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ADORAVERUNT EUM

The Magi exemplify the merciful work of the Holy Spirit. Among countless other mercies, He can and does lead pagans, atheists, agnostics, and others, to find Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is intrinsic to our faith in Jesus of Nazareth that we want Him to be known, loved, and followed, by the whole of mankind. Conversion is God’s work, but He graciously allows us to play some part in preparing the ground for the action of the Holy Spirit. Here is how we can help to prepare the ground: Get down on our knees in front of the ...

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THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

In the forty second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus, in a dull provincial backwater of the Roman Empire, the world’s true King tabernacled silently for nine months in the virginal womb of a then unknown Jewish maiden, Mary of Nazareth. The Blessed Virgin Mary’s divine Infant is Jesus Christ, the long awaited Saviour of mankind, Messiah. Christ the Messiah generously invites every man, woman, and child on earth to follow Him. Where? Along the Christian path of new life, life in the Holy Spirit. The Catholic Church is the home of the Holy Spirit. The Christian religion, as ...

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WAKE UP, LOOK UP

Hora est de somno surgere. Advent is the austere and sobering start of the new liturgical year. We recall humanity’s primordial expulsion from paradise. We ponder the Four Last Things; death, judgement, hell, and heaven. The cry of Wachet auf rouses sleepy pilgrims from their dreams. It urges us to wake up, and to look up, towards the transcendent horizon from whence Christ the Lord of history will return. Excita potentiam tuam. As Advent begins our conscience is stirred up by St John the Baptist. The Saviour’s stern precursor bids us repent. There is no denying the threatening tone of ...

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