Tuesday 29 May 2012

Every priest's nightmare


I don’t suppose that it happens at an Ordinary Form Mass.

That moment when, horror of horrors, the priest drops the consecrated host just as he was about to place it on the tongue of one of the faithful.

I posted some months ago, about how, whilst serving Mass in a side chapel at St Maria Maggiore in Rome, such an accident occurred, through no fault of the celebrant, Fr Adrian Wiltshire.
I knew (or, so I thought) that the correct course of action was for me as server,  to place the communion plate over the host so that it could be retrieved reverently after Mass but, on this occasion it was the last fragment in the ciborium and there was a communicant waiting.

“Pick it up” Whispered Fr W.
I made a move to do so and then froze. I had never in my life touched a consecrated host other than on my tongue and to do so now seemed a sacrilege somehow.

“Pick it up” whispered the good priest yet again. My hand moved another foot closer before I froze yet again.
I knew the priests suffered from bad arthritis and could not possibly undertake the action himself and it was common sense for me to step into the breach but I was still playing the part of a statue.
It could only have been a few seconds but it seemed like ten minutes had passed before I forced myself to pick up the host and hand it to the priest.

When I posted on this previously, some kind soul left a comment to the effect: “Just get over it and if you can’t get over it go and see a psychiatrist”. I felt like giving the Dorothy Day response: “I’m a Catholic, I don’t need a psychiatrist” but didn’t.

So what is the correct procedure? 
The reason I ask is that I had a report of this happening in a prominent parish in London recently. The priest had hesitated and then picked up the host and placed it on the tongue of the communicant.

Under those circumstances I do not believe that was the correct course of action.
Some think that the priest, himself, should consume it on the spot.

I am not so sure; I think the communion plate as a temporary cover is correct.

Photo: WDTPRS Blog
                                       A Sacrarium - every sacristy should have one

Then, the host would be retrieved and placed in a sacrarium.
Now, I had never heard of a sacrarium until reading Fr Z’s blog a few days ago.
A sacrarium is a covered sink with an outlet pipe running into the earth externally. Any consecrated hosts that require to be disposed of (for very legitimate reasons) are placed in water in the sacrarium until such time as they have dissolved and may be allowed to drain outside into the ground.

It is worth noting the correct procedure (if, indeed, I am correct) as this sort of accident can happen occasionally.
Of course, if the altar server is doing his stuff, the damage is limited in most cases. He must be adept at shadowing the priest’s hand as he removes the host from the ciborium to place it on the tongue, not always easy.

Then there is the account of St Richard of Chichester, when, at the moment of consecration of the Precious Blood, a large and hirsute spider fell into the chalice.

The saint did not hesitate for one second before consuming the contents of the chalice, spider and all.

But then, he was a saint.

Posted by Richard Collins - Linen on the Hedgerow

Sunday 27 May 2012

O Benevolent Holy Spirit Stay with us!

(A prayer from one of our readers
for Pentecost 2012)

Source of wisdom and sanctification, inexhaustible river of heavenly gifts and graces, accept a few words of prayer, which flow gratefully from one of your humble servants: With your infinite power, you support and maintain the entire creation. You are the source of natural and spiritual life. At the time of the creation of the physical world You moved above the darkness which covered the earth and vitalised its waters so that they would later reveal the wonderful variety of all forms of life. It is from You that the ever abundant streams of Divine Grace flow, which sanctify the faithful and carry out the great work of a spiritual harvest.
You abide in the Church; You protect her from any error; You guide her to the fullness of the truth; You ordain her shepherds and teachers; You bring to fullness the Mysteries of the Church and transmit sanctification through them; You observe closely with tender love all the faithful to grant them whatever each one needs.
O benevolent Spirit of consolation: You console the sick. You accompany the abandoned. You strengthen the weak. You motivate those who do good. You prevent the fall of another. You guide into virtue yet another.
To the sinner You inspire thoughts of repentance, and You support all those who are struggling to fulfil the will of the Heavenly Father. And when our hearts do not know how to pray and what to ask from the heavenly Father, You, all-holy Spirit, will set our tongues in motion and will place words of prayer into our mouth. Even when we do not fully understand it, You stand by us with “inexpressible sighs” and with general support in our weaknesses. For these inestimable gifts of yours, I thank You, I am grateful to You, I praise You, I glorify You and I beseech You to hear this prayer of my petition. All-holy Spirit, I beseech You, make my body your temple.
Come to dwell within me, in the depths of my being, to be for me the root and the source of nourishment, preservation and growth of my physical and spiritual life. I want You to guide my thoughts. I want You to prevail in my heart. I want You to be present in all of my being.
And I, encouraged by the subtle wind of your inspirations and enlivened by the Divine refreshment of your Grace, will be “transformed from glory to glory.” May I indeed so proceed from “power to power.” Grant me your grace to do the works of virtue and love and holiness, which You may accept as an offering of fragrant incense.
O how fortunate are those whose souls are inspired by your Divine Grace, descending from heaven upon them as a refreshing and life-giving breeze! Do not turn away from us because of our sins.

Do not reject us because of our weaknesses and our shortcomings which we continue to have. Bless in us a new life, the life that is consistent with the will of our Father in heaven, the life that has been taught to us by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

by Anne C - a supporter and follower of the Guild of Bl Titus Brandsma

Saturday 26 May 2012

Feast of St Philip Neri

The soul derives from God her being high,
In one keen instant out of nothing brought,
Not painfully through second causes wrought;
How should she, then, submit to things that die?
To hope, desire, to joy, to enmity;
To her confusion by these guides mistaught,
Of One confronting her she knoweth naught,
One glimpse of Whom would lift her to the sky.
How should the baser nature dare rebel
Against the higher, nor, as meet, consent
To do its bidding, but essay to quell?
Why prison bars the aspiring soul prevent
From leaving earth, above the stars to dwell,
To die to self, to live to God, intent.

I love, and loving must love ceaselessly,
So whole a conquest in me love hath won;
My love to Thee, Thy love to me doth run,
In Thee I live, and Thou dost live in me.
Surely the day is nigh when I may flee
From this dark gaol, for ever to have done
With vanity and blind oblivion,
Where, exiled from myself, I used to be.
Earth laughs and sky, green branches and soft air,
The winds are quiet, and the water still,
No sun before has shed so bright a day;
The gay birds sing, love's joy is everywhere;
My heart alone has no responsive thrill,
My powers flag and shrink from joy away.

                      St Philip Neri

Posted by Richard Collins - Linen on the Hedgerow

Wednesday 16 May 2012

This could become a habit......

……I mean, of course, the scapular, those two squares of brown cloth adorned with an image of Our Lady appearing to St Simon Stock and the promise of Our Lady of Mount Carmel that: “…..anyone dying in this habit shall not suffer eternal fire.”            

Today is the feast of St Simon Stock who received the apparition of Our Lady at Aylesford in the year 1251 (although Catholic Online states that it was Cambridge).

Now, I must confess that I do not wear a scapular, it is one of those devotional acts that I have been meaning to do for years but never got round to.

Enough! I will avail myself of this great devotion and enrol toute suite, I have shilly shallied long for far too long.

 In fact, it could be a devotion that the Guild might consider adopting, after all, Blessed Titus was a Carmelite. Perhaps we could have an enrolment after the next Guild Mass; it does require the services of a priest, it is not a question of just buying a scapular and wearing it.

The website of The Brown Scapular tells us that it is a “living prayer”…..

“As Our Lord taught us to say the Our Father, Our Blessed Mother taught us the value of the scapular.
When we use it as a prayer, Our Lady draws us to the Sacred Heart of Her Divine Son.
It is good, therefore, to hold the scapular in the hand.
A prayer offered while holding the Scapular is as perfect as a prayer can be.
 It is especially in time of temptation that we need the powerful intercession of God’s Mother.

The evil spirit is utterly powerless when the wearer of a scapular faces temptation, calling upon the Holy Virgin in this silent devotion.

 “If you had recommended yourself to me, you would not have run into such danger,” was Our Lady’s gentle reproach to Blessed Alan de la Roche, one of her devoted servants”.

And, for any priest interested in investing his flock with the special graces of the Scapular, here is the service of enrolment:

Procedure for Blessing and Investiture

Priest - Ostende nobis Domine misericordiam tuam.
Respondent - Et salutare tuum da nobis.
P - Domine exaudi orationem meum.
R - Et clamor meus ad te veniat.
P - Dominus vobiscum.
R - Et cum spiritu tuo.
P - Oremus. Domine Jesu Christe, humani generis Salvator, hunc habitum, quem propter tuum tuaeque Genitricis Virginis Mariae de Monte Carmelo, Amorem servus tuus devote est delaturus, dextera tua sancti+fica, tu eadem Genitrice tua intercedente, ab hoste maligno defensus in tua gratia usque ad mortem perseveret: Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum. Amen.


P - Accipite hunc, habitum benedictum precantes sanctissima Virginem, ut ejus meritis illum perferatis sine macula, et vos ab omni adversitate defendat, atque advitam perducat aeternam. Amen.


P - Ego, ex potestate mihi concessa, recipio vos ad participationem, omnium bonorum spiritualium, qua, cooperante misericordia Jesu Christi, a Religiosa de Monte Carmelo peraguntur. In Nomine Patris + et Filii + et Spiritus Sancti. + Amen.

Benedicat + vos Conditor caeli at terrae, Deus omnipotens, qui vos cooptare dignatus est in Confraternitatem Beatae Mariae Virginis de Monte Carmelo: quam exoramus, ut in hore obitus vestri conterat caput serpentis antiqui, atque palmam et coronam sempiternae hereditatis tandem consequamini. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.
R - Amen.



Priest - Show us, O Lord, Thy mercy.
Respondent - And grant us Thy salvation.
P - Lord, hear my prayer.
R - And let my cry come unto Thee.
P - The Lord be with you.
R - And with your Spirit.
P - Lord Jesus Christ, Saviour of the human race, sanctify + by Thy power these scapulars, which for love of Thee and for love of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Thy servants will wear devoutly, so that through the intercession of the same Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and protected against the evil spirit, they persevere until death in Thy grace. Thou who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.


P - Receive this blessed scapular and beseech the Blessed Virgin that through Her merits, you may wear it without stain. May it defend you against all adversity and accompany you to eternal life. Amen.


P - I, by the power vested in me, admit you to participate in all the spiritual benefits obtained through the mercy of Jesus Christ by the Religious Order of Mount Carmel. In the name of the Father + and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. + Amen.

May God Almighty, the Creator of Heaven and earth, bless + you, He who has deigned to join you to the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel; we beseech Her to crush the head of the ancient serpent so that you may enter into possession of your eternal heritage through Christ our Lord.
R - Amen.


And here is a prayer for the feast of this great Carmelite saint:

O, beautiful Flower of Carmel,
most fruitful vine,
Splendour of Heaven,
holy and singular,
Who brought forth the Son of God,
still ever remaining a Pure Virgin,
assist me in this necessity.
O, Star of the Sea,
help and protect me.
Show me that Thou art my Mother.

O, Mary, conceived without sin,
Pray for us who have recourse to Thee.

Mother and Ornament of Carmel,
pray for us.

Virgin, Flower of Carmel,
pray for us.

Patroness of all who wear the Scapular,
pray for us.

Hope of all who die wearing the Scapular,
pray for us.

St. Joseph, Friend of the Sacred Heart,
pray for us.

St. Joseph, Chaste Spouse of Mary,
pray for us.

St. Joseph, our Patron,
pray for us.

O, Sweet Heart of Mary,
be our Salvation.

Richard Collins - Linen on the Hedgerow
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