20 April 2011

Spiritual Reflections From the Retreat of the Grand Priory of England

Last week the Grand Priory of England held their Annual Order retreat for men at Douai Abbey, Berkshire. Two papers given by the Chaplain of the Grand Priory, Msgr Antony Conlon are available at the Conventual Church of St. John of Jerusalem's blog,
There is always a danger that our hearts are far from where they ought to be, slightly envious of those who have less regard for virtue and yet seem to prosper and be well regarded. Though we stay this side of outright wickedness and carry out what is expected of us, our loyalty may be tainted with suspicion and some regret as the years go by. Does God notice what we do and allow us to feel good about it or, like the father in the story show no indication of His love despite our daily attempts at faithful service? The apparent silence of God about so many things that perplex and annoy us can result in our spiritual life becoming a routine of ritual engagements rather than a filial relationship with a Father who loves us and has given us everything When fervour and joy are absent from our service, as in the example of the elder son, we all too easily fall into the state of detached formality. This in turn can deprive us of charity towards others and a heightened sense of awareness of their faults in comparison to our own imagined virtue.
Seeing his younger sibling return from fruitless dissipation and yet welcomed unreservedly, the elder son perceived the mercy and compassion shown to him as injustice, and the celebration of his conversion as a waste of time and effort. Our own version of this attitude might be rash judgement of those who appear foolish or sense of superiority over the weak disposition of others. If this is so, it makes our own conversion less likely. A devout soul can, by dwelling too much with disgust on the wrongs of others, lose the power to see where he himself has gone wrong and is too convinced of his own sense of grievance to be aware of his distance from charity and humility. We who clothe ourselves with the mantle of religion have to be on our guard that it is not a pretext for self-righteousness in any of its forms.

19 April 2011

Archbishop Fulton Sheen Cause Moves Ahead

Despite some bumps in the road over the past year the cause for canonization of Archbishop Sheen is advancing to the next step. Bishop Jenky will be presenting the completed "Positio" to Pope Benedict next month and once this is completed the investigation into a possible miracle will be possible. See the full story here. Archbishop Fulton Sheen Cause Moves Ahead

SNAP Psychiatrist Sentenced for Child Porn Possession

Anybody seen this story in the NYT? SNAP Psychiatrist Sentenced for Child Porn Possession

13 April 2011

New Prison Ministry Program in Malta

The interaction of the American and Maltese Associations of the Order of Malta has led to the development of a new prison ministry program on Malta. From the SMOM website in Rome,
The Maltese Assocation of the Order of Malta has initiated a Prison Ministry Project aimed at providing a visiting service to inmates of foreign nationality at the Young Offenders Unit Rehabilitation Service in Corradino, Malta. The inmates, all aged between twenty and twenty-five years old, have come to Malta from across the globe and are mostly in prison pending their court cases being heard and judgements issued. In this capacity they can be held for a lengthly period of time and, without family in Malta, lack any form of humanitarian contact with the outside world. The Prison Ministry Project will reach out to those inmates who will best benefit from the individual guidance, companionship and friendship that this project provides.

In preparation for the first visit the Maltese Association’s team took care to specially select volunteers who would best interact with each individual inmate. Following this first meeting inmates and volunteers will come together every fortnight to continue the development of this new social activity. Afterwards, it was agreed that the project would be both a beneficial and valuable ministry, and that it’s developement will become an important part of the Maltese Association’s activities.

This project came about as a result of interaction between the Maltese Association and the Order of Malta’s American Association, which has been running a regular prison ministry since 2006. The American Association’s prison ministry began as a small local venture and now its activities reach inmates across the United States.

04 April 2011

Will Obama Applaud Pro-Life Effort During 40 Days for Life?

President Obama says he wants to keep abortion safe, legal and rare. Since personally he really doesn't want to see babies aborted (although he nevertheless approves a women's right to murder her unborn child) do you think that at the end of 40 Days for Life he will make a public statement applauding the efforts of those involved in saving what could amount to 500 babies?  Just asking.

02 April 2011

Letter of St. Gregory Nazianzen on Serving the Poor

In today's morning office is this letter from St. Gregory

From a sermon by Saint Gregory of Nazianzen, bishop
(Oratio 14, De pauperum amore, 38. 40: PG 35, 907. 910)

Serve Christ in the poor

Blessed are the merciful, because they shall obtain mercy, says the Scripture. Mercy is not the least of the beatitudes. Again: Blessed is he who is considerate to the needy and the poor. Once more: Generous is the man who is merciful and lends. In another place: All day the just man is merciful and lends. Let us lay hold of this blessing, let us earn the name of being considerate, let us be generous.

Not even night should interrupt you in your duty of mercy. Do not say: Come back and I will give you something tomorrow. There should be no delay between your intention and your good deed. Generosity is the one thing that cannot admit of delay.

Share your bread with the hungry, and bring the needy and the homeless into your house, with a joyful and eager heart. He who does acts of mercy should do so with cheerfulness. The grace of a good deed is doubled when it is done with promptness and speed. What is given with a bad grace or against one’s will is distasteful and far from praiseworthy.

When we perform an act of kindness we should rejoice and not be sad about it. If you undo the shackles and the thongs, says Isaiah, that is, if you do away with miserliness and counting the cost, with hesitation and grumbling, what will be the result? Something great and wonderful! What a marvellous reward there will be: Your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will rise up quickly. Who would not aspire to light and healing.

If you think that I have something to say, servants of Christ, his brethren and co-heirs, let us visit Christ whenever we may; let us care for him, feed him, clothe him, welcome him, honor him, not only at a meal, as some have done, or by anointing him, as Mary did, or only by lending him a tomb, like Joseph of Arimathaea, or by arranging for his burial, like Nicodemus, who loved Christ half-heartedly, or by giving him gold, frankincense and myrrh, like the Magi before all these others.

The Lord of all asks for mercy, not sacrifice, and mercy is greater than myriads of fattened lambs. Let us then show him mercy in the persons of the poor and those who today are lying on the ground, so that when we come to leave this world they may receive us into everlasting dwelling places, in Christ our Lord himself, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.


This blog and the opinions are all my own and in no way imply the endorsement from any organization. Nor does a recommendation of another blog or web site imply my agreement or endorsement of everything found on their site.