Sunday Reflection – 18 August – The ‘Secret’ Prayers

Sunday Reflection – 18 August – Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C,

The ‘Secret’ Prayers (Offertory)

If you watch very closely, you’ll notice that the priest is moving his lips and praying some prayers very, very quietly during the preparation of the Gifts.   The rubrics indicate that the priest should pray them ‘sub secreto’, which is translated as ‘inaudibly’ or ‘secret.’

But there’s really no secret, because the prayers are printed in the Roman Missal or other worship resources for the whole world to see.   And even though the rubrics indicate that the priest is to pray these prayers, there is absolutely no reason why you can’t do that too!

As the priest pours wine and a little water into the chalice, he prays quietly:  “By the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity.”

Then the priest bows profoundly and says quietly:  “With humble spirit and contrite heart may we be accepted by you, O Lord and may our sacrifice in your sight this day be pleasing to you, Lord God.”

Finally, as he washes his hands he prays, “Wash me, O Lord, from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.”holy mass the secret prayers - with humble spirit and contrite hearts 18 aug 2019.jpg


Sunday Reflection – 11 August – ‘The measure of your faith in Christ is the measure of your possession of Him.’

Sunday Reflection – 11 August – The Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

They said to him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger and he who believes in me shall never thirst.”…John 6:34-35i-am-the-bread-of-life-john-6-35-5-aug-2018 and sun refl 11 aug 2019.jpg

“The soul’s bread is Christ, “the living bread that came down from heaven” (Jn 6:51) who gives food to His own, by faith here and by vision in the world to come.   For Christ dwells in you by faith and faith in Christ, is Christ in your heart (Eph 3:17).   The measure of your faith in Christ is the measure of your possession of Him.
… In this gift I have received, I possess Christ wholly and Christ wholly possesses me, just as the member belonging to the whole body likewise possesses the body in its entirety. And so this portion of faith you have received as your share, is like the morsel of bread in your mouth.   But unless you often devoutly meditate over what you believe, unless you chew over it, so to speak, moving it about and turning it over with your teeth, that is to say with your spiritual senses, it will never enter your throat, in other words it won’t get as far as your understanding.
For indeed, how could you understand anything that you reflect over only rarely and carelessly, especially when it concerns something subtle and unseen?…  So, by means of meditation, let “the Law of the Lord be ever on your lips” (Ex 13:9) so that a sound understanding may be brought to birth within you.   Through a good understanding, spiritual food passes into your heart, so that you will not neglect what you have understood but will lovingly reflect over it.”

Guigo II the Carthusian “the Angelic” (?-1188)
9th Prior of the Grande Chartreuse

(Meditation 10 (SC 163, p. 181 rev.)in-this-gift-i-have-received-guigo-ii-the-carthusian-5-aug-2018 and 11 aug 2019 sun refl.jpg

Guigo II is considered the first writer in the western tradition to consider stages of prayer as a ladder which leads to a closer mystic communion with God.   The work was among the most popular of medieval spiritual works (in part because it commonly circulated under the name of the renowned Bernard of Clairvaux or even Augustine), with over one hundred manuscripts surviving.   It was also translated into some vernacular languages, including into Middle English.

It is still a basic guide for those who wish to practice lectio divina.

Guigo II also wrote twelve Meditations, which were clearly less widely known as they survive in only a few manuscripts.   From internal evidence, it appears they may have been written before the Scala Claustralium.


Sunday Reflection – 4 August – ‘The Bread of understanding!’

Sunday Reflection – 4 August – Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

“And it happened that, while he was with them at table,
he took bread, said the blessing, broke it and gave it to them.
With that their eyes were opened and they recognised him… but he vanished from their sight.”…Luke 24:30-31

“Before Communion you hear about Jesus Christ and you know Him – you are told of His Cross, of His suffering; doubtless you are affected, are even touched with compassion.

But let these same truths be presented to you after Communion.   Oh, how much more deeply your soul is moved!   It cannot hear enough, it understands much more perfectly. Before Communion, you contemplate Jesus outside you, now you contemplate Him within you, with His own eyes!

It is the mystery of Emmaus re-enacted.   When Jesus taught the two disciples along the way, explaining the Scriptures to them, their faith still wavered, though they felt inwardly some mysterious emotion.   But participating in the Fraction of the bread, immediately their eyes were opened and their hearts were like to burst with joy.

The voice of Jesus had not sufficed to reveal His presence to them, they had to feel His Heart, had to be fed with the Bread of understanding!”

St Peter Julian Eymard (1811-1868)
Apostle of the Eucharistluke-24-30-31-and-while-he-was-with-them-he-took-the-bread-the-voice-of-jesus-had-not-sufficed-st-peter-j-eymard-14-oct-2018 and 4 aug 2019-sun-reflection.jpg


Sunday Reflection – 28 July – Become the bread of Christ

Sunday Reflection – 28 July – Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 11:1–13

Become the bread of Christ
St Bernard (1090-1153) Doctor of the Church

Saint Bernard teaches that it is not enough for us to take and eat the Bread from Heaven.
We must also offer ourselves to be eaten.
Holy Communion is a wondrous exchange in which we become the bread of Christ.
Listen to Saint Bernard:

“My penitence, my salvation are His food.
I myself am His food.
I am chewed. as I am reproved by Him;
I am swallowed by Him. as I am taught;
I am digested by Him. as I am changed;
I am assimilated. as I am transformed;
I am made one with Him, as I am conformed to Him.
He feeds upon us and is fed by us,
that we may be the more loosely bound to Him.”

christ-eats-me-st-bernard-29-july-2018 and 28 july 2018.jpg

Saint Bernard, ever the poet, uses images of eating and assimilation to describe how Christ unites us to Himself.
Our Lord becomes our food that we might become His.
We need the language of poets and preachers in our approach to the Eucharist.

Saint Bernard says, “Christ eats me that He may have me in Himself and Christ, in turn, is eaten by me, that He may be in me and the bond between us, will be strong and the union complete.”

What awaits you in Holy Communion exceeds all that you can desire.   Eat, then and offer yourself to be eaten.   Receive the Bread of God and become the bread of God.

“I am in you and you are in me!”i-am-in-you-and-you-are-in-me-29-july-2018 and 28 july 2019.jpg


Sunday Reflection – 21 July – ‘As a sound becomes a voice…’

Sunday Reflection – 21 July – Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

“Christ wished to choose this sacred symbol of human life, which bread is, to make an even more sacred symbol of Himself.   He has transubstantitated it but has not taken away its expressive power – rather, He has elevated this expressive power to a new meaning, a higher meaning, a mystical, religious, divine meaning.   He has made of it a ladder for an ascent that transcends the natural level.
As a sound becomes a voice and as the voice becomes word, thought, truth – so that sign of the bread has passed from its humble and pious being to signify a mystery, it has become a Sacrament, it has acquired the power to demonstrate the Body of Christ present.”

Saint Pope Paul VI (1897-1978)

 when Archbishop of Milan from a homily on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi


as-a-sound-becomes-a-voice-paul-vi-21 july-2019-sunday-reflection.jpg


Sunday Reflection – 14 July – The Sacrament that You Receive is Effected by the Words of Christ

Sunday Reflection – 14 July – Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, Luke 10:25–37

The Sacrament that you Receive is Effected by the Words of Christ

Saint Ambrose (340-397)
Bishop and Great Latin Father & Doctor of the Church

An Excerpt from his Work, ‘On the Mysteries’

We see that grace can accomplish more than nature, yet so far, we have been considering instances, of what grace can do through a prophet’s blessing.   If the blessing of a human being had powe,r even to change nature, what do we say of God’s action in the consecration itself, in which the very words of the Lord and Saviour are effective?   If the words of Elijah had power even to bring down fire from heaven, will not the words of Christ have power to change the natures of the elements?   You have read that in the creation of the whole world He spoke and they came to be;  He commanded and they were created.   If Christ could by speaking, create out of nothing what did not yet exist, can we say that His words are unable to change existing things, into something they previously were not?   It is no lesser feat to create new natures for things than to change their existing natures.

What need is there for argumentation?   Let us take what happened in the case of Christ Himself and construct the truth of this mystery, from the mystery of the incarnation.  Did the birth of the Lord Jesus from Mary come about in the course of nature?   If we look at nature we regularly find, that conception results from the union of man and women.   It is clear then, that the conception by the Virgin was above and beyond the course of nature.   And this body that we make present, is the body born of the Virgin.   Why do you expect to find, in this case, that nature takes its ordinary course, in regard to the body of Christ, when the Lord Himself was born of the Virgin, in a manner above and beyond the order of nature?   This is indeed the true flesh of Christ, which was crucified and buried.   This is then in truth the Sacrament of His Flesh.

The Lord Jesus Himself declares – ‘This is my body.’   Before the blessing contained in these words, a different thing is named; after the consecration, a body is indicated.   He Himself speaks of His blood.   Before the consecration, something else is spoken of, after the consecration, blood is designated.   And you say – “Amen,” that is: “It is true.”   What the mouth utters, let the mind within acknowledge, what the Word says, let the heart ratify.

So the Church, in response to grace so great, exhorts her children, exhorts her neighbours, to hasten to these mysteries –  neighbours, she says, come and eat, brethren, drink and be filled.   In another passage the Holy Spirit has made clear to you what you are to eat, what you are to drink.   Taste, the prophet says and see, that the Lord is good, blessed is the man who puts his trust in Him.

Christ is in that sacrament, for it is the body of Christ.   It is, therefore, not bodily food but spiritual.   Thus the Apostle too says, speaking of its symbol – Our fathers ate spiritual food and drank spiritual drink.   For the body of God is spiritual; the body of Christ is that of a divine spirit, for Christ is a spirit.   We read – The spirit before our face is Christ the Lord.   And in the letter of Saint Peter we have this – Christ died for you.   Finally, it is this food that gives strength to our hearts, this drink which gives joy to the heart of man, as the prophet has written.and you say amen that is it is true - st ambrose sun reflec - 14 july 2019.jpg


Sunday Reflection – 7 July – “I Will Give You Rest”

Sunday Reflection – 7 July – Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

“I Will Give You Rest”

“I will give you rest.
This is what Jesus did during His mortal life and this is what He still does in His continuing life in His Church.
How strongly and gently He received, corrected and raised up Mary of Magdala, Matthew, Peter and Paul!
With what humility and love He continues to receive countless millions of souls in the Eucharistic Communion which marks the highest point of union between the human and the divine!”

St Pope John XXIII (1881-1963)

i will give you rest - st john XXIII - sun reflection 7 july 2019.jpg