So that we can engage from our homes in this traditional and powerful Lenten devotion you will find this video meditation of the Way of the Cross – please remember in your prayers all who are suffering at this time, and all who are sacrificing themselves to care for those in desperate need:
Lent, the time for imploring mercy from God, the time of repentance and conversion, the time for clearing out, re-focussing and understanding that God is our all. I came across this beautiful version of the traditional Lenten hymn by a choir in Ghana, I hope that you will enjoy it and maybe even sing along, asking Our Blessed Lord to extend the hand of His mercy over the world at this time and bring us all back to Him. God bless you!
My dear parishioners, I have just come back into my office after having been in the front garden of St. James’ Church. After spending a short while in the church before the Blessed Sacrament, I took our Eucharistic Lord in the monstrance out into the garden, between the Shrine of Our Lady and the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and moving in four directions each time I gave a blessing with the Sacred Host to the parish praying each time: Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison. I prayed that the Lord would grant conversion to souls, healing of ills, and protection from the virus. I pray that you will feel the power of His blessing in your homes and in your hearts.
With love and prayers,
For those who miss the beauty of Benediction please see below:
Thursday is always commemorated in some way as the day of the Lord’s Supper, the day when Our Blessed Lord instituted His priesthood and commanded His priests to “Do this in memory of me” – the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
I have found great encouragement recently in discovering a book called “In Sinu Iesu” a book that I would highly recommend to all of you, a book written by a Benedictine monk at prayer (https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=in+sinu+iesu&ref=nb_sb_noss). It records the conversation of the heart of this monk with Our Blessed Lord and is one of the most inspiring works of prayer that I have read regarding the relationship of us with Our Eucharistic Lord and particularly from the perspective of being a priest.
The overwhelming message that I have taken from the book is that of “seeking the face of the Lord” and doing this especially in time before Him in the Blessed Sacrament, in Eucharistic Adoration. It is only in contemplating God in this way, in seeking His face, that we can properly get everything into perspective in our lives, only before Him that we understand who He Is, who we are, and what our true calling is as human beings.
I read something this morning from a non-Catholic Christian site, which deals in a kind of charismatic prophecy. The words that I read echoed, I must admit, what I have felt in my own heart so far during this time, namely that God has pressed the reset button… that in His permissive will God is stripping things back, clearing away the fog, and trying to help us see what is truly important. As I say, it’s not an original thought, I think many people are thinking the same – people of faith at any rate.
The world, it would seem, on the whole, doesn’t accept the Lordship of Jesus Christ, it’s happy to acknowledge Him in some cursory way at times, but seldom does it submit to His authority and rule – that rule of truth and justice and love. And maybe, just maybe, what the whole world is now experiencing will help mankind to understand how fragile human life is, how inadequate human efforts often are, and how dependent we truly are upon the providence and goodness of God – this could be the nature of the reset?
Of course, the attitude of the world will only change when my attitude changes, when the attitude of the individual changes, and when we make the seeking of the face of the Lord a priority in our lives, in fact the priority of our lives. If we don’t do this we’ll never cope with the calamities that life throws at us because we’ll always be struggling along under our own steam, and that steam is very poor – at least I know my efforts are. Without God, and without the grace and determination to seek His face we are left empty handed, purposeless, lost, and yet with Him, with Him we can face and overcome everything, because, as we hear in the Annunciation story of yesterday: nothing is impossible for God.
This (the whole notion of seeking the Face of the Lord) always reminds me of the story of Martha and Mary, and how Jesus says that Mary has chosen the better part – the part of spending time with Him. He tells Martha not to worry and fret but to be like her sister, in a sense, to be with Him and then all things shall be well.
In prayer we can move beyond time and space to be in the presence of God and seek His Face. We can truly be before Him, and be intimate with Him. We can sit at His feet, looking up and, in spirit, gaze upon His glory.
What might help us practically with this, as I’ve said already, in a previous post, is that we make a spiritual communion with the Lord, and also that we place ourselves even spiritually before His Eucharistic Presence in the tabernacle of our church – until we have the opportunity to visit Him again physically. I would encourage you to do this. You may also wish to experience Adoration in a more “virtual” sense using some of the resources that are available on the internet, to even pay the Lord a “virtual visit”, to daily come before Him with your hopes, your fears, your needs, and especially your thanksgiving. There is, for example, live Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament from Tyburn Convent which you may wish to unite yourselves with:
Anyway, let us keep seeking the Face of the Lord in the Holy Eucharist, and let us keep seeing the Face of the Lord in each other, and keep praying for each other, and recommending each other’s needs and well-being to the goodness of our Eucharistic Saviour. Have a blessed and holy Thursday!
Please follow the link below to join with Bishop Robson’s reflection for yesterday evening and the Solemnity of the Annunciation.
And we also have a link to Fr. Ninian Doohan’s Mass for the Annunciation aired yesterday morning. Fr. Ninian is Parish Priest of St. Pius X Catholic Church in Dundee:
I remember years ago, when I was still in seminary, we had a celebration to which the late Bishop McGill was invited – it was either lectorate or acolytate. He spoke to us at the meal we had after Holy Mass and I remember him telling us how he always thanked God for everything. He said, however, that he had forgotten to thank God for the electric iron, and therefore made a point of doing it. It’s strange the things that stick in your mind…
As I was celebrating Holy Mass this morning, and of course reflecting over the past wee while, that whole concept of thanksgiving, gratitude, and appreciation was uppermost in my mind. The Mass today, as you will know, was for the Solemnity of the Annunciation, recalling the visit of the Archangel Gabriel to Our Blessed Lady, her “fiat” to God’s will, and the mystery of the Incarnation – the mystery of God becoming one of us and sharing our human condition: joys and sufferings.
How can we not be grateful, and most especially at a time like this, that we have a God who knows what it is to experience and participate in human life, who knows exactly what we’re going through? How can we not be grateful to have our Catholic Faith and the consolation that it gives of knowing that we are held in the palm of God’s hand and that we have not been abandoned even if many things have changed for us?
Personally, I thanked God this morning for being a priest, and for being privileged to be able to offer the Holy Sacrifice for all those who are unable to attend, knowing that despite being alone in the Church (at least in terms of human company) I am participating in something much greater, and am privileged to be able to keep accessing on behalf of the faithful in my parish (and beyond) the wellspring of graces through these Sacred Mysteries. I felt privileged, and yet sad to know that I can still receive Our Lord in Holy Communion, knowing that many who desire Him at this time cannot – and that is a heart-breaking thought.
God is good, and God, if we are listening to Him in prayer, is teaching us much in these times – lessons which I hope will penetrate and take firm root in our hearts. How much we have to be grateful for, and not least our holy Faith, the Sacraments, the Church, and each other who form, in union with Jesus Christ, His Mystical Body? What perhaps I have taken for granted, or become so accustomed to, the ability to offer Holy Mass and the Sacraments, the material things that I have, my food and drink, my shelter and clothing, my loved ones, family and parishioners, all of these things suddenly become more important and much more appreciated than ever before. This, I think, is part of the conversion that can take place in our hearts at this time, this time of imposed silence and stillness. The conversion of appreciation and gratitude and conscious thanksgiving to God…
Even having been to the supermarket the other week this hit home to me… We are startled by empty shelves, and by the inconvenience of not being able to buy what we would like when we would like, but isn’t this the reality for probably most of the world’s population? We live surrounded by luxury, relatively speaking, when many in the world are perpetually surrounded by poverty and lack – maybe it takes what we’re going through now to get our own situation, our normal situation, into perspective and to realise just how blessed and privileged we are, and often how ungrateful (I speak for myself).
My relationship with God is the thing I have to be most grateful for, because this sustains me, this gives me hope and joy, and this means that I do not feel alone even when I am by myself. God’s love is precious, and there are no closed doors and no degree of isolation that can ever make that distant from us, He is near, He is very near, He is nearer than anyone else can be – and this is because of what we celebrate today: the Annunciation, the Incarnation, the reality of Him becoming one of us, like us in all things but sin. He came close to us through the mediation of Our Blessed Mother, and Her response in faith. I would suggest, then, that by drawing close to Her in this time, especially, through the prayers of the Rosary we will be able to unite ourselves to Her great act of gratitude and appreciation, her “Magnificat”, and that She will make Jesus’ presence a more tangible reality in our lives.
God bless you and keep you,
Of your charity please pray for the repose of the soul of Mr. Maurice O’Hare parishioner of St. James’, Kinross, who died recently and quite unexpectedly. Please also remember in your prayers his dear wife, children, grandchildren and family who mourn his loss at this time.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.
Dear parishioners, please follow the below link to the diocesan website where Bishop Stephen Robson offers a personal message to all members of his flock in the Diocese of Dunkeld. Please keep our dear Bishop in your prayers.
My dear parishioners, we wake up in quite a different world today, in that the freedoms we have been used to are now greatly removed from us. We know that this is for a greater good, and for charity’s sake, albeit with real inconvenience for some, we accept what must be carried out for each other’s good. In a sense we are being called in this time to live the essence of sacrificial love so central to our Catholic Faith, so central to the mystery of the Holy Eucharist, and, of course, so central to this holy season of Lent.
Self-denial, self-sacrifice, as much as those things rail against our fallen nature which often seeks its own ends, its own perceived good, challenge that deeply ingrained weakness of ours. But this self-sacrifice allows for an openness to God, an openness to others, and to a freedom (which might seem ironic at the moment).
When we let go of our selfishness we can receive from God, because we cease to cling to all those other things that we think are important but really aren’t. When we let go of clinging to those things we can also offer them (especially the material things) to benefit others rather than guarding them for ourselves. And when we have discovered the freedom from being attached then we can be free to be with God, free to allow Him to be the true Lord of our lives. I think that in this current crisis we will have to let go of much, and yet, please God, I’m sure we will discover the freedom of knowing what is of true value, and that to which we should be attached: God, and love of neighbour (as Christ commands us), and all other things will, hopefully, be put into their proper perspective.
If we are open to them, I believe that we will receive many graces from God in this period: graces of prayer, conversion, trust, humility, detachment, the growing of family bonds, the sense of relying upon the Lord for all things, to name but a few. In the company of the Lord, this stripping back, and even this involuntary confinement, can be seen as on opportunity for a spiritual home-based retreat, where many of the noises, distractions and interruptions of the world have been taken away. So let us try, with God’s help, to see the positive aspects of what is happening, when all the time we are well aware of the sad, painful, and devastating things that are going on.
In this time of prayer, reflection, and “retreat” we should be holding up before the Lord in prayer all those people who need to continue working, and especially those whose health may be at risk, too, because of the essential tasks they perform in our society. Pray every day for an end to this pandemic, pray for the sick, the dying, the faithful departed, and those who mourn their loss. May God increase in us the spirit of prayer, sacrifice, and intercession, and enable us to be instruments of His Divine Love even at a distance, through prayer or words of consolation on the telephone, or through encouraging emails and text messages.
I will be saying Holy Mass each day during the week at 10.00a.m. behind close doors and at 9.30a.m. on Sunday likewise. While you cannot join me physically for the Holy Sacrifice please join with me spiritually through your prayers and especially the Holy Rosary. Tomorrow will be the Feast of the Annunciation, the wonderful announcement of the coming of the Saviour, and the call of Our Blessed Lady to be the Mother of God. Why not make a special effort to pray the joyful mysteries of the Rosary tomorrow and consecrate again yourselves and your loved ones, and indeed the people of our nation and the world, to Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary?
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!
St. James and St. Matthew, pray for us!
God bless you all, Fr. Martin
The following is an extract from the ad clerum letter issued this evening by his Lordship Bishop Robson, to the clergy of the diocese:
Dear Rev Father,
Most of you will have heard the Prime Minister and the First Minister in the recent Broadcasts on TV and Radio this evening.
We must all ensure from now the complete closure of our churches until further notice. Masses can and must continue in private. Where streaming of Mass is possible, well and good, but our places of worship must close for private prayer and for baptisms, confessions and devotions. The suspension of Confirmations and First Holy Communions have already been announced.
Funerals can proceed with due care from either the Crematorium or the graveside, but not from the Church. They must be all but private. A private Mass may be offered for the repose of the soul of the deceased around the time of the death with a family requiem Mass offered once the crisis is over. A date cannot be set for this until government clearance is given…
End of life and emergency calls will still be required for the administration of the sacrament of the sick and viaticum. Please be very careful and observe all necessary health and hygiene requirements for your own safety.
The events we are living through are unprecedented. Each of us is still in shock. We must all keep as safe as possible and not take unnecessary risks to our own health.
It goes without saying that personal prayer and our daily private Holy Mass needs to be at the heart of our daily work as priests.
Let us pray also for each other and for all of our dear parishioners… these measures to ensure social and physical isolation are all necessary to halt the progress of this terrible Coronavirus scourge.
With every blessing to you all,
+ Stephen Robson
Bishop of Dunkeld