Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Late have I loved you...

Yesterday we celebrated the memorial of St. Monica and today we remember and venerate her son; St. Augustine of Hippo. Despite many people's view of saints Augustine, like so many others, wasn't born holy, although his mother, by all accounts, was a very devout woman and a good example of what a Christian wife and mother should be. He received a Christian education as a small child but as he grew older he drifted away from the Church and, whilst studying in Carthage, fell into a downward spiral; he associated with what we might describe as "the wrong crowd", had numerous affairs (including one which lasted 13 years and through which he had a son) and became heavily involved with the Manichaean religion. Despite his abrupt loss of morals his mother did what all mums do, worried greatly and prayed constantly for her son's conversion. And, despite many years of darkness, her prayers did bear fruit and he was eventually received back into the Church. After having so long embraced a life of excess he went and sold all of his possessions, giving the proceeds to the poor and lived simply. He was later ordained a priest and became Bishop of Hippo. St. Augustine is best known for his written works, which if you haven't read you really must. They give us a great insight into the heart and mind of a man who has given himself over totally to God and discovered him in a deeply intimate way, they give us a tantalising glimpse of what it is to have such a personal glimpse of God and make us hunger for the same. At Mass this morning Fr. Richard read a short passage from Augustine's Confessions (it is part of a longer piece which was included in this today's Office of Readings) which I think beautifully highlights this so I have pasted it below.

"Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you!  You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you.  In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created.  You were with me, but I was not with you.  Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at all.  You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness.  You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness.  You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you.  I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more.  You touched me, and I burned for your peace."

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Hot off the press!

The new edition of the Eaglet is ready. You can either pick up your copy from the hall or download it by clicking here or on the image below. Enjoy!

Monday, 6 August 2012

Some sneaky pics from inside the Church

On Saturday last I popped into the Church briefly to see how it was looking. I hadn't been in for a couple of weeks and was pleasantly surprised at the progress that had been made! Have a look for yourselves...

I'm guessing that's not a permanent feature lol

Panelling looks good with the old varnish stripped

Caution! Men at work! ;-)

Lady chapel's coming along nicely

The doors painted a lighter colour really
brightens up the main body of the church

The view from above...

Lighting fixtures are starting to go up

The infamous cobweb is gone!!

So all in all everything's going smoothly and according to plan. Can't wait to see it when tis all done!

Friday, 3 August 2012

Praying for the people of Syria

On my own personal blog this week I have started praying the novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help for the people of Syria and peace in that country. The stories on the news of late are getting more and more horrific with the violence affecting more and more people. Apparently over 20,000 have been killed since the uprising began 17 months ago. 20,000...that's almost half the population of Horsham.

It is easy to watch the news or read the papers and feel somewhat helpless, what can we here in the UK do?  Since we are so far away what aid or assistance can we offer? Prayer is the single most powerful tool at our disposal. It is has more impact than any weapon, is more soothing than any cure and those of Our Lady have the most potency of all. Our Lord always listens to the requests of his Blessed Mother, she who carried him in her womb, raised and nurtured him, who quietly followed him during his ministry. Of all people of earth she was closest to him at all times, so out of love for all the people in Syria who are suffering so greatly please join me in asking her for help.

Dear Mother of Perpetual Help 
from the cross Jesus gave you to us for our Mother. 
You are the kindest, 
the most loving of all mothers. 
Look tenderly on us your children 
as we now ask you to help us 
in all our needs especially this one.

We pray for peace in Syria and for justice its people. We pray that they will be reconciled to one another and live in harmony.

While you were on earth, 
dear Mother you willingly shared in the sufferings of your Son. 
Strengthened by your faith and confidence in the fatherly love of God 
you accepted the mysterious designs of His Will. 
We too have our crosses and trials. 
Sometimes they almost crush us to the ground. 

Dearest Mother, share with us your abundant faith and confidence in God. 
Make us aware that God never ceases to love us; 
that He answers all our prayers in the way that is best for us. 
Strengthen our hearts to carry the cross
in the footsteps of your Divine Son. 
Help us to realize that he who shares the cross of Christ 
will certainly share His resurrection. 

Dearest Mother, as we worry about our own problems 
let us not forget the needs of others. 
You always love others so much; 
help us to do the same. 
While praying for our own intentions 
and for all the intentions of all here present 
at this Novena we earnestly ask you, our Mother, 
to help us comfort the sick and the dying,
give hope to the poor and unemployed, 
heal the broken-hearted,
lighten the burden of the oppressed, 
teach justice to their oppressors 
and bring back to God all those who have offended Him. 

Dearest Mother, help us to avoid sin 
which separates us from our heavenly Father 
and from one another. 
Full of trust in you, 
we place ourselves under the mantle of your maternal protection and confidently hope for your powerful help.

First Friday

As Fr. Aaron reminded us all at Mass this morning on the first Friday of each month we are encouraged to keep a memorial to the Sacred Heart, in the same that way that on Saturdays we celebrate the memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus has existed for centuries with it appearing in records from 11th and 12th centuries. It has been extremely popular with saints and one in particular, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, saw visions of Our Lord, conversed with him and was instructed to establish and promote it further. You can read more about the Sacred Heart of Jesus here and St. Margaret Mary here.

In this devotion we commemorate and celebrate our Lord's humanity as well as his divinity. We see vividly in his heart how his great his love is for us and what he was prepared to undergo in order to reconcile us to God. But had Jesus been purely man then this sacrifice would have never sufficed, in his heart, in the various devotions to the Sacred Heart, we see the awesome, spine-tingling mystery of how he was God and man, how his human heart was pierced by a lance on the Cross and in his divinity his heart took on all of our sins and paid the price for them. Why not, today, pray the Litany of the Sacred Heart or the prayer below either in thanksgiving for God's wonderful gift to us or for your own intentions?

O, Sacred Heart of Jesus,
filled with Infinite Love, 
broken by our ingratitude,
and pierced by our sins, 
yet loving us still,
accept the consecration we make to Thee 
of all that we are and all that we have.

Take every faculty of our souls and bodies,
only day by day draw us nearer and nearer to Thy Sacred Heart,
and there, as we shall hear the lesson, 
teach us Thy Holy Way.