Archive for January, 2013

Happy Feast Day, St Francis!

Posted: January 24, 2013 in Feast Days
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St Francis de Sales

Today is the feast day of St Francis de Sales, Bishop of Geneva, Confessor and Doctor of the Church. He is the patron saint of writers and journalists.

A man of great wisdom, here are three of my favourite quotes:

Why are you surprised when the weak turn out to be weak, and the frail, frail? When you turn out to be sinful? When you fall be gentle with your frail, weak heart. Lift up your heart gently; accept your failure without wallowing in your weakness. Admit your guilt in God’s sight. Then with good heart, with courage and confidence in His mercy, start over again.

Be who you are, and be that perfectly well!


The measure of love is to love without measure

The Holy Father welcoming journalists

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Lance Armstrong

At the end of BBC Radio 4’s flagship Today programme, Jonathon Aitkin, the former conservative MP convicted of perjury in 1999 and Fr. Stephen Wang , Catholic priest and Dean of studies at Allen Hall seminary, discussed the capacity of confession in the light of Lance Armstrong’s “confession” to be broadcast soon on Oprah.

Jonathon Aitkin, an Anglican, compared confession as a transit stop on the way to repentance, observing confession is not a quick fix to putting something right. At its deepest level, confession has something to do with the heart, the spirit. It’s a spiritual journey.

Fr. Stephen Wang highlighted the elements of confession, saying it’s not just about going to confession, but you must have a genuine sorrow in your heart, it’s about promising to put things right, and, in Catholic terms, it about doing penance – bringing justice, healing and reconciliation, recognising you have done harm to others and that needs to be put right, and there will be some personal cost to that. Therefore it’s not simply suffering for one’s sake but its saying sorry and rebuilding relationships.

Aitkin reflects that it can be a painful journey that brings sense of relief, peace, and a feeling that some amends have been made.

The presenter asked Fr. Wang if atheists can confess?

Fr. Stephen Wang

Fr. Wang replied that there are different levels of confession that need to be recognised. Firstly, there is the therapeutic level, getting something off our chest. Secondly, there is the communal level- saying sorry and putting things right. Thirdly, there is the spiritual level, which brings spiritual healing. Catholics can find in this in God’s grace and Jesus Christ.

Reflecting on Armstrong’s confession, Aitkin says that if it is a genuine confession, he need not worry about the bucketfuls of cynicism that surround the interview because he will be doing it for an audience of one, not millions.

Fr. Wang hopes his “confession” will be genuine. He will be looking to see how his life had changed, and

if he makes personal apologies to the people he’s harmed.

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux observed a sincere sign of repentance is avoiding the occasion of sin.

The interview is available here until 21/01/2013, and starts at 2:54:49.

Read what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation here.

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The path of Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary (Marian consecration) was introduced by Saint Louis in the 18th Century.

Blessed John Paul II said of Marian consecration;

” … At one point I began to question any devotion to Mary, believing that, if it became too great, it might end up compromising the supremacy of the worship owed Christ. At that time, I was greatly helped by a book by Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort entitled ‘Treatise of True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin.’ There I found the answers to my questions. Yes, Mary does bring us closer to Christ; she does lead us to him, provided that we live her mystery in Christ. . . . . thanks to Saint Louis, I began to discover the immense riches of Marian devotion from new perspectives.”

Blessed John Paul II’s papal motto Totus tuas reflects his personal devotion and consecration to Mary.

Consecration falls on a Marian feast therefore, preparation begins 33 days before hand, through a series of prayers by St Louis de Montford. Preparation for consecration can begin today, so that consecration falls on the Feast of our Lady of Lourdes, the 11th February. You can follow it on Facebook.

Total consecration to Mary is something that should be undertaken after prayer and reflection, it is not a light hearted decision. To find out more information, or for alternative dates, visit Fisheaters 

fill these hearts

Christopher West’s new book, Fill These Hearts, is out today¬ For several weeks now, West has been posting “sneak peaks” on Facebook. Here the latest excerpt:

“According to the Christian faith, the ecstasy we yearn for at the deepest level of our being is precisely what God wants to give us— eternally… This is what sexual morality, properly understood, is all about: learning how to aim our desire for heaven toward heaven.”

I pre-ordered mine on Amazon. I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into it. Hurry up MrPostman!

Below is a short trailer for the book. More information can be found on West’s website.

At Mass today, on the feast of the Epiphany, the priest ended his sermon with a wonderful meditation by Howard Thurman, an American civil rights activist. As Christmas-tide draws to a close, it prompts us to consider our work as adopted sons and daughters of God.

“When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among people,
To make music in the heart.”

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Put the date in your diary! The Irish government are on the brink of legalising abortion at the beginning of 2013. Again, as in December, we must come out in force, stand up for the rights of the unborn children, and womens’ rights. It has never been more important to make your voice heard. Banners, candles etc will be provided. All we need is you! And bring along friends and family. For more information, visit http://prolifecampaign.ie/

Today is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God! She is the “New Eve,” since Eve’s disobedience ushered sin into the world while Mary’s “yes” and obedience ushered the Savior into the world!

Mary, the new Eve

Eve and Mary, the new Eve