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'The progress of the soul consists

not in thinking much of God

but in loving Him ardently.'

~ St. Teresa of Jesus

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Second Sunday of Advent

Posted on 8th December, 2019

 

Advent wreath with two candles litOn this Second Sunday of Advent, we are called by John the Baptist to be converted and prepare the way for the Lord in our hearts. We must also consider humbly whether our spiritual lives are really bearing good fruit and if we are not just Christians in name only.

 

Prayer

 

May our prayer of petition

rise before you, we pray, O Lord,

that, with purity unblemished,

we, your servants, may come, as we desire,

to celebrate the great mystery

of the Incarnation of your Only Begotten Son

Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.

Amen.

First Sunday of Advent

Posted on 1st December, 2019

 

Today we begin the Season of Advent, a time of vigilance, conversion of heart and renewal of life as we prepare for the coming of our God, in a few weeks' time this Christmas and at the end of time. This is a picture of one of our Advent wreaths with the first candle lit for the 1st Sunday of Advent.

One of ou Advent wreaths with the first candle litPrayer
Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God,

the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ

with righteous deeds at his coming,

so that, gathered at his right hand,

they may be worthy to possess the heavenly Kingdom.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Amen.

 

Second Reading
Romans 13: 11-14
Our salvation is near
You know 'the time' has come: you must wake up now: our salvation is even nearer than it was when we were converted. The night is almost over, it will be daylight soon - let us give up all the things we prefer to do under the cover of the dark; let us arm ourselves and appear in the light. Let us live decently as people do in the daytime: no drunken orgies, no promiscuity or licentiousness, and no wrangling or jealousy. Let your armour be the Lord Jesus Christ.

Solemnity of Christ the King of the Universe

Posted on 24th November, 2019

 

Icon of Christ the KingToday we celebrate the Solemnity

of Christ the King of the Universe

 

 

Almighty, ever-living God,
it is your will
to unite the entire universe
under your beloved Son,
Jesus Christ, the King of heaven and earth.
Grant freedom to the whole of creation,
and let it praise and serve your majesty for ever.
We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

 

St Raphael Kalinowski OCDSt Raphael Kalinowski, Priest

 

Raphael Kalinowski was born to Polish parents in the city of Vilnius in 1835. After military service, he was in 1864 condemned to ten years of forced labour in Siberia. In 1877 he joined the Discalced Carmelite Order and in 1882 was ordained a priest. He brought about the restoration of the Order in Poland and guided its growth. His life was distinguished by his zeal for Church unity and by his unflagging devotion to his ministry as a confessor and spiritual director. He died in Wadowice in 1907. He was canonized by Pope Saint John Paul II on November 17, 1991.

 

 

 

From the Exhortations of Saint Raphael, Religious(C. Gil, Ojciec Raphael Kalinowski, pp. 109-110)

You must be holy

 

The Holy Scriptures praise nothing more than a perfect and holy life lived in the exact and perfect fulfilment of each one’s duties. In the Old Testament our Lord and God taught his people and told them: You must be holy because I am holy (Leviticus 11:44).

 

The Eternal Father gave us our Lord Jesus Christ as our Teacher, Master and Guide. He confirmed and ratified the Old Testament injunction when he taught us that we must emulate the holiness of the Father: ‘You must be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect’ (Mt 5:48). How does one become perfect and holy? The Doctors of the Church, the leaders of souls, and the masters of the spiritual life answer: If you would be perfect and become holy, fulfil your duties faithfully.

 

Once a desert father was asked by a certain young hermit what books he ought to study in order to advance in holiness. The old man replied: My practice is to read two books only. In the morning hours I read the Gospel, and in the evening I read the Rule. The first teaches me the way I should walk as a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. The other teaches me what I should do to be a good religious. That is enough for me.

 

Let us therefore be students of the laws of God so that we may conduct ourselves according to them. When you walk, these will guide you; when you lie down, watch over you, when you wake, talk with you (Prov. 6:22). Wherever we may be or go, may they go with us to direct our footsteps. May they be so near us when we sleep that they may fill our thoughts as soon as we awaken. His voice will speak to us in them. He will refresh us for the day ahead. Through his laws we will gain the victory over our doubts. We will cast away every obstacle. We will free ourselves of that sluggishness of nature which is the enemy of strength, the foe of devotion, and the lover of ease. The law of life will help us to overcome our fears in time of temptation and to follow eagerly in the way of obedience. May it always be at hand to counsel us, so that by it we may find the strength to follow God’s call with generous hearts and willing souls.

St Raphael when he was a soldier

 

 

"I keep my eyes fixed on Eternity, and from this source I draw constancy in the midst of the confusion of daily life. God empties my heart of all natural attachments, probably to fill it with things more pure, of which nothing surpasses the desire to do good to my neighbour. I like to find at least a few moments each day spent in doing good for others out of love for God. These few moments, almost unnoticeably used, bring something like rays of peace and comfort behind them. They unite us with people and God with purity and sweetness."

 

 

Prayer

 

Lord God,

You made your priest Saint Raphael

strong in adversity

and filled him with a great love

in promoting Church unity.

Through his prayers, make us strong in faith

and in love for one another,

that we too may generously work together

for the unity of all believers in Christ.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

 

Candles Representing Prayers for the Souls in PurgatoryA Prayer for the Faithful Departed

by St John Henry Newman

 

O Jesu, Lover of souls, we recommend unto you the souls of all your servants, who have departed with the sign of faith and sleep the sleep of peace. We beseech you, Lord and Saviour, that, as in your mercy to them you became man, so now you would admit them to your presence above.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord

 

Gracious Lord, we beseech you, remember not against them the sins of their youth and their ignorances; but be mindful of them in your heavenly glory. May the heavens be opened to them. May the Archangel St Michael conduct them to you. May your holy Angels come forth to meet them, and carry them to the city of the heavenly Jerusalem. May they rest in peace.

 

Amen.

 

A Prayer for The Church on Earth    by St John Henry Newman

Baptized and Sent - The Extraordinary Missionary Month

 

Be with your missionaries in pagan lands, put right words into their mouths, prosper their labours, and sustain them under their sufferings with Thy consolations, and carry them on to their reward in heaven. Give the grace of wisdom to those in high station, that they may neither yield to fear, nor be seduced by flattery. Give your blessing to all preachers and teachers, that they may speak your words and persuade their hearers to love you. Be with all faithful servants of yours, whether in low station or in high. Teach us, one and all, to live in your presence and to see you, our Great Leader and your Cross. Amen.

World Mission Sunday

Posted on 20th October, 2019

 

Sunday 20 October 2019 - 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C


Poster for World Mission SundayFirst Reading: Exodus 17:8-13
Second Reading: 2 Timothy 3:14-4:2
Gospel: Luke 18:1-8


Today is a day of support for the mission given to the Church to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ to all peoples. On this day Sacred Scripture teaches us to persevere, in prayer and action, with patience and determination. The purpose of mission is to witness to Jesus Christ, to communicate his Gospel and build up his Church, in a climate of mutual respect and religious freedom, in the common search for justice in the world.

Mission here and abroad requires patient perseverance and when, like Moses' arms, our spirits tire, we rely on our faith in the true God who comforts the weak and frees the oppressed. In Carmel, we are like Moses in trying to keep our arms raised in prayer for those fighting against evil on the battlefield of the world, especially our priests and missionaries. That is our way of spreading the Gospel of Christ, through prayer.


In the second reading, Paul reminds Timothy of the importance of the Sacred Scripture. Timothy is a young man who, together with his family, embraced the faith during the first missionary journey of the apostle Paul, and later became a member of his missionary group. Like Timothy, we are called to proclaim the message of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ and, welcome or unwelcome, insist on it. We find our inspiration in Sacred Scripture, which guides us and teaches us that our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.


In the Gospel, Jesus' parable portrays a woman who has been denied the right to express herself by a corrupt judge; an experience that many people all over the world suffer today. The widow in the parable is not a friend of the judge, so she does not receive an audience. This widow lost her husband’s support, and in the first-century Palestinian world, she could not inherit his property. Widows were economically vulnerable and could be exploited. Not being able to afford a lawyer, the widow presents herself to offer her case against her opponent. The corrupt judge does not fear God and does not care for the good of people. The widow is determined not to remain invisible or unheard until the case is resolved in her favour.


Jesus uses the parable to teach us about the necessity of determination in our prayer life. Prayer is at the heart of the Church’s mission, as we plead for the coming of a world of justice and peace, with a healing of creation. Prayer puts Christ at the centre of our lives so that we as his Church will be permanently on mission in the world. Today God promises to see justice done to his chosen, who cry to him day and night.

 

The Gospel today ends with Jesus' poignant question: "But when the Son of Man comes, will He find any faith on earth?" (Luke 18:8)

 

On this World Mission Sunday let us respond earnestly to His plea elsewhere with regard to the missionary activity of the Church: "The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to His harvest." (Luke 10:2)

 

Icon of Our Blessed Lady, the Child Jesus and St Teresa of Jesus

Today we celebrate one of our biggest feast days of the year, the Solemnity of St Teresa of Avila, who founded our Discalced Carmelite way of life.

St Teresa taught that prayer is like sharing between friends and that we can pray wherever we are, however busy we are, just by taking a moment to remember the presence of Jesus alongside us.
"Whoever lives in the presence of so good a friend and excellent a leader, who went ahead of us to be the first to suffer, can endure all things. The Lord helps us, strengthens us, and never fails; He is a true friend."

To read a longer extract from her 'Life' and other prayers and quotes, please see our previous blog post for the feast day:
For another short introduction to her life and teaching please click here:
https://carmelitenuns.uk/st-teresa-of-avila/

St Teresa of Jesus - Pray for us.

 

Canonisation of Saint John Henry Newman

Posted on 13th October, 2019

 

Shrines to St John Henry Newman in the outside chapel and inside the enclosure on the ante-choir altar. In the latter, the centrepiece is a relic and a picture of the new Saint. In front of the chapel altar, the gold banner reads, 'Lead, Kindly Light'. We sang this hymn as the recessional at the special Mass this morning, with 'Praise to the Holiest' as the entrance and 'Firmly I believe and truly' at the offertory, all beautiful hymns written by the newly canonised English Saint.

Shrine in the outside chapelShrine in our ante-choir

Newman Novena Day 9

Posted on 12th October, 2019

 

Newman Novena Day 9Blessed John Henry Newman