Saturday, 7 September 2013
|Messy, lying poor people handing out food to homeless in Brighton. Spot the journalist? No, neither can I.|
In response to the lazy journalism by a Brighton Argus hack I was going to write saying that I had seen Father Ray trying to drown a baby at the front of church one day and that he had managed to put water on the baby’s head three times before the family had been able to get it back off of the terrible priest, but then I thought that was silly and not worth doing. As an after thought it occurred to me that the journalist in question (or others) might, in their ignorance, take my comment seriously!
A more profound thought has just occurred to me, though. That is, how thankful we should be that Father Ray Blake is a priest, since the fruit of his vocation is evident to those who have encountered him, or care to do just a like background work. And by the same token – if the quality of his journalism is anything to go by – how thankful we (and those messy poor he would encounter) should be that this 'journalist' ISN’T a priest!
Here is Father Ray's response to the attack, reposted as per his request:
I was saying that the poor, the really poor, turn our lives upside down. I know the local paper pays peanuts and expects its journalists to create stories in order to get onto the news networks but this is just a malicious and deliberate misrepresentation.
It is very interesting to see what a disreputable journalist can do with a few carefully chosen adjectives. I didn't 'condemn', 'complain', 'blast' etc, and I am pretty certain that some of his other quotes are not my words, especially not, 'test my holiness', I don't speak like that, 'only God is Holy'. Though I admit in an informal moment I might question the marriage of the parents of someone who disrupts the worship of an entire congregation, especially if they consistently steal from the church or other poor people.
It is interesting to see how an unscrupulous journalist can so easily put an entirely different slant on a simple theological reflection, presumably even basic Christian concepts are beyond the comprehension of some.
Well, journalists are obviously as messy as the poor; except unscrupulous journalists can do more damage. Perhaps Mr Gardner might like to help on our soup run, it doesn't have to be 365 day a year, once a week would be fine, providing he treats our clients with respect, or maybe he could take Jason or Daryl or Pawel or Dawn out for a cup of coffee or a meal, or just come a clear up the next time someone comes in and vomits or bleeds all over my kitchen because he is drug or has been beaten up.
Maybe next time I run out of money I could tap him for a few quid when some vulnerable 17 year old girl needs to top up her phone to speak to her mum because her boyfriend has beaten her up or she needs a roof over head because she is sleeping in a tent and it is just few degrees above zero and she is vulnerable, or maybe the next time I am arranging a child's funeral and someone comes to the door in need of someone to talk because they are suicidal I can send them round to Bill's place so he can spend a couple of hours listening to them.Here, to, I am neither complaining, blasting, lambasting or anything else, just asking.Why bother posting this? For the sake of justice, fairness, to support a Catholic priest who does the Church's work, to support the priest who received me into the Church, and also not least because, when I was in Father Ray's parish, I was one of those who gave up time and money to feed the poor on the Brighton/Hove esplanade. Although the soup run is run by Father Ray's church not all of the volunteers are parishioners or even Catholics or even Christians. Any help/support is welcome. Not least from those who, without it, would go hungry.
Wednesday, 28 August 2013
I am currently reading St. Louis Grignion de Montfort’s True Devotion to Mary for the third time. I have to admit that previously I have struggled with some of the ideas and assumptions in it. I accepted, just down to the pure logic of it, the first premise presented, i.e. that because Jesus came to us through Mary that we should got to Jesus through Mary, but I struggled with other things such as the idea that all graces are bestowed on us through Mary. I couldn’t understand that idea, least of all because it was presented without explanation or justification. I also thought that a lot of the premises of the devotion seemed to fit quite conveniently with the devotion itself, also with little justification, for example, the fact that the devotion is presented as the best way to Jesus, not to mention an easy and quick way which I thought contradicted Jesus’ words about the road being narrow that leads to life.
HOWEVER, my understanding of things and the ideas in the book have developed. And I found a nice illustration in explanation of one of these points when I broke off my reading last night to re-read Gloria Polo’s testimony. I had been thinking of reading it again for a little while and had even forgotten her name, and then somehow (flicking around on internet radio, I think) I heard her name and remembered to find her testimony again.
I was struck by how, when she was enduring her judgement even the good deeds she had done in her life were tainted by sin, whether it be by ulterior motives or the desire to look good in front of others. Then I remembered that this is exactly why St. Louis calls the Consecration to Jesus through Mary, the greatest way to Jesus. In the devotion one bestows all one’s goods including the merit of all one’s good deeds past, present and future to Mary to do with as she pleases. The result is that we cannot presume to be rewarded for our good actions because we have already surrendered them and the merits they might obtain to Mary. Therefore, there is no point in doing something to look good or in order to receive some other benefit in return as such benefits from fellow men are meaningless and those from God are no longer ours. St. Louis de Montfort’s Consecration to Jesus through Mary allows us to “get over ourselves” as it were, and to truly act selflessly, which, as Gloria Polo’s story illustrates, is, among other things (such as thorough, regular, sacramental confession) essential.
In contrast to this nice synthesis of ideas, while Gloria Polo’s testimony is enough to put the fear of Hell into anyone, True Devotion to Mary gives a slightly more gentle encouragement to holiness - though only slightly! I would recommend both.http://www.testimony.gpo.cc/
Wednesday, 7 August 2013
My second year as a Catholic was reasonably productive or as during the last 12 months my wife and daughter were both received into the Church, I completed the Consecration to Jesus through Mary, the Five First Saturdays devotion, got initiated into the brown scapular, got a job which was an answer to prayer generally as well as an answer to a specific novena.
I also prayed many novenas and for most of the year maintained praying the rosary daily, I attended the Guild of Blessed Titus Brandsma blognic and the Latin Mass beforehand, meeting and being encouraged but likeminded bloggers later, however, I decided to fast from blogging for the last 40 days of the liturgical year which meant I had more time for prayer but meant I became detached from those whose understanding of Catholicism is similar to my own and helps my to live as a Catholic. One important thing I learned at this time, though, was the importance of praying for the dead. I read ‘Hungry Souls, about encounters the faithful have had with souls suffering in Purgatory (including Protestants!), which made a huge impression on me, as well as praying daily for relief from suffering for the faithful stuck there.
I also declared my love of Jesus in a training meeting at work, which I felt was significant for a shy person in front of others who either were not religious or who shared my beliefs but were too shy to declare them themselves.
Work, however, it being shifts, meant that maintaining a daily routine became harder and when day shifts turned to night shifts in April and May I went from having only failed to pray my daily Rosary once to coming to a virtual standstill in my prayer life.
The biggest event by far in my spiritual life in the last 12 months is the resignation of Benedict XVI as Pope.
I remain bewildered, saddened and even feel betrayed by this. It feels like everything he stood for as Pope and everything the Papacy stands for was discarded. And by what Pope Francis has said and done in the 5 months since his election only serves to perpetuate these thoughts of mine.
So, despite the really positive things that have happened in my life in the last year as a Catholic my main feeling at the end of ‘year 2’ is one of disillusionment.
This doesn’t mean I’m about to walk away from the Church. It means that I don’t know what it means to be a Catholic, what I should be doing, etc. My current predicament has been summed up perfectly by Father Ray Blake last two posts and the associated comments (not least those from commenters who seem to think that not only is there nothing wrong with the Church but that Father Ray is a traitor for criticising the current Pope).
These posts and the many comments echoing exactly how I am feeling are a great source of encouragement for me. I still need to find a way to both educate myself and my family about what the Church really is apart from the weak, Protestantised version that I have unfortunately become accustomed to and also to be able to live as a Catholic in that way. An obvious answer might be to finding a TLM community somewhere but that does not appeal to my wife and we probably couldn’t afford the travel costs. We’ll see…
Wednesday, 10 July 2013
A picture of two Holy Fathers as I think about today being the second anniversary of my reception into the Catholic Church.
I thought about and started to compile a review of the previous year – as I did last year – but, unlike last year, I haven’t got very far. Perhaps I could just leave it there!
The picture of the two Popes is pertinent, though. I still haven’t got over Pope Benedict resigning, still less a Pope that not only doesn’t want to be Pope (in the words of some) but also, and more worryingly, doesn’t seem to understand that not wanting to be Pope is discouraging for Catholics who want a Pope (who wants to be Pope).
It seems to me that the Church is in the midst of a massive identity crisis – by which I mean not only that it is unrecognisable from what it was a couple of generations ago and that, for me at least, its current identity doesn’t conform to what I would expect of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, but also that there does not appear to be any sense of direction for the present, let alone the future, its past constancy and steadfastness having been jettisoned in so many areas – and this situation seems to be being perpetuated both by the (unprecedented) resignation of the former and the apparent disregard for the office of Pope by the latter, the current Bishop of Rome.
More to follow…
(H/T the sensualist, Fr. Ray)
Thursday, 28 March 2013
The celebration being that my wife is to be received into the Church at the Easter vigil on Saturday! The humility is something that I have come to realise over the last few days and weeks that I am in great need of.
So, as I prayed earlier before the Blessed Sacrament in the Chapel of Repose:
O, Lord, please give me the strength to be humble!
My previous post about Benedict XVI resigning was also somewhat lacking in humility:
Lord Jesus Christ, son of the living God, have mercy on me,
Wednesday, 13 March 2013
|Tu es Petrus!|
We did not have to wait too long. The initial signs are encouraging, but we will find out more very soon.
I don't know much about the man, or indeed - as this is the first time I've experienced a "Habemus Papam moment" as a Catholic - about getting used to a new Peter.
One initial thought is how Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio reminds me of Albino Cardinal Luciani. The one apparently took the bus to work, while the other had his butler take his clapped-out Lancia to the garage for repairs during the Conclave so it would make it back to Venice afterwards; both are from humble origins - working-class backgrounds; one lived among the people while the other rejected the trappings of high office, resenting the fact that as Bishop, Archbishop and then Cardinal it became increasingly difficult for him to visit the sick in hospital and the poor, etc.