Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Gospel according to Maddy

Maddy is really coming on and growing to be a beautiful little character. She adores going to Mass, loves praying to Jesus, Mary and even Newman, and certainly spurs me on with her radiant child-like Faith. Here are some recent photos of her.

Now, today's Gospel was St Luke 10: 27-37. When we're at Mass we invariably take Maddy into one of the side chapels and read from some of the books available from the church. Out of all the lovely little books, including ones on the Saints, Mary, the Nativity etc. Maddy's favourite has always been the Good Samaritan. So I was really excited today with the Gospel being this very story. So today the book in question came out of the chapel into the pew, and Maddy was very well behaved!

The story, as understood by Maddy, is about a trader called Abie. He is on his way to Jericho from Jerusalem, along a rugged rocky road. On the way a band of nasty robbers are hiding behind one of the big boulders, and overpower poor Abie, even taking his donkey and clothes. Poor Abie lies in the hot sun, bleeding and thirsty, and too weak to move. Both a Priest and a Levite hurry past without helping poor Abie. But then, a Samaritan called Saul comes along on his donkey. Samaritans and Jews don't get along at all, so Abie is so relieved to find this helpful man bandage his wounds, give him water to drink, and take him on his own donkey to Jericho. Abie leans on the Samaritan for support, but Saul doesn't mind, and is pleased to help. Once in Jericho Saul puts Abie to bed in an inn. The next morning Abie is feeling much better, and Saul says goodbye, leaving some silver coins with the innkeeper so that he can continue looking after Abie, and promising to pay back any extra when he returns.

Its sweet that Maddy loves this story so much. It seems to be one used in schools a lot to promote a Gospel of Justice & Peace. Which is all very well and good. Indeed, the story defines how we should love "thy neighbour as thyself" which is easy with our own friends and family, but set in the context of this parable, demands so much more of us. When we look at the story also in a spiritual sense, as the Fathers of the Church did, we see the Samaritan as a type of our Lord Jesus, who came down from the heavenly Jerusalem to rescue fallen humanity, dressing its wounds with great compassion and nourishing him with divine Grace. The Priest and Levite administering the old law could not hope to fulfill the law of love which our Lord ushered in, as today's Epistle says, "ministers of the new testament, not in the letter, but in the spirit: for the letter killeth but the spirit quickeneth". (2 Corinthians 3:4-9)

With this deep interpretation, we can see our Lord not only rescues Humanity from the brink of spiritual death, but takes him to the inn, which is the Church, for a full and perhaps slow recovery from the divine balm of the Sacraments. As the Good Samaritan promises, so does Our Lord; "Take care of him, and whatsoever thou shalt spend over and above, I, at my return will repay thee." In this year for Priests, it is especially heartening for our shepherds to hear these words echoed to them directly.

We should remember that in our Catholic Faith, it is not enough merely to do our duty as Catholics, as the Priest and Levite did in the Gospel parable; but rather the law of love and mercy should spill over into our everyday life. I see myself as perhaps more of an innkeeper: passively prepared to receive any gift of God's grace, and willing to help if Our Lord should present a needy cause to me, mindful of my due. But our role should shift more to the Samaritan in our attempt to imitate our Lord: in showing mercy, and refecting our love and service of God in the way we treat others completely selflessly.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Happy feast of The Assumption of Our Lady

What a Mother we have interceeding for us in heaven!
Just imagine the joy in heaven on that day when Mary arrived. The mother of Our Lord who had always humbly done the will of God, never calculating if it would inconveinience Her. Mary's plans always put the will of God first.
This is shown when at the wedding feast at cana She told the servants 'Do whatever He (Jesus) tells you.'. She recognized the Divinity of her son; who she had carried in her womb.
On the assumption her son, Our Lord would have greeted her; rewarding her for the great sacrifices and great love she always gave.

-- Posted From Wend's iPod Touch WiFi (4.5Mb/s)
Virgin Media Broadband

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cardinal Pell on Newman

There is an excellent article on the Newman Cause website on Cardinal Pell's thoughts of Newman following the recent announcement of his beatification, and marking the occasion of the 119th anniversary of his death. Although last year was thought to be the last pilgrimage to the graveside, solemn visits to Rednal will continue as this will always remain Newman's final resting place.

The article I think serves to refute some of the liberal highjacking of Newman's thoughts. Rather than anticipating some sort of rupture with the Church's thought, Newman taught us the true place of human conscience as something which serves absolute Truth, which is important to note in an ages which, according to Pope Benedict, marks a "dictatorship of relativism".

If you check back tomorrow, the complete text will be online. For now there is an excellent summary of the Cardinal's points here.
Picture above: St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Bishop of Geneva, and Patron of Catholic Journalists. This portrait hangs above the altar in Newman's private chapel at the Birmingham Oratory

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Newman Cause Response to the Tablet

I don't read the Tablet, but I do enjoy reading things which refute its liberal tendencies. This time from the prestigious Newman Cause Website.