Behold, our Lord shall come with power, to enlighten the eyes of his servants, Alleluia!
It’s the first Antiphon of the first Nocturn of Matins of the Annunciation.
The others are:
Drop down, ye heavens, from above and let the skies pour down righteousness; let hte earth open and bring forth a Saviour.
Behold, the name of the Lord cometh from afar; and his burning brightness filleth the world as the flame of devouring fire.
V; Out of Sion hath God appeared in perfect beauty, Alleluia.
R; Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence, Alleluia.
Out of Sion shall go forth the Law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem, Alleluia.
Lo this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us.
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, for He is the mighty God, the Prince of peace, and the government shall be upon His shoulder
V; Out of the stem of Jesse cam forth a rod, and out of his roots, a Branch, Alleluia.
R; Even the budding scion which bore at last the Flower, Alleluia.
The Lord shall shew loving-kindness, and our land shall yield her increase, Alleluia.
Lo, there cometh one that is both God and Man, of the house of David to sit in David’s seat.
Tell it out among the heathen that the Lord is King; for he cometh, even God our Saviour.
V; Behold the Lord cometh out of His place, Alleluia.
R; Even God with a recompense, He will come and save you. Alleluia.
Do we believe in miracles?
I ask this because we have, like all other humans in the Church before us, a great deal of difficulty really trusting in God, really trusting that He loves us, that He wants to see us in heaven, that He wants to rescue us from sin and eternal death. That, in fact, He wants this so much He was willing to do all the things we profess in the Creed, all the miracles of the Gospels, all the extraordinary things – from the parting of the Red Sea to Pentecost. Including what might be the most astonishing of all; the Incarnation, that mysterious “overshadowing” of the Holy Ghost over Mary whose famous “fiat” we commemorate today.
I also ask this because we have just this weekend, I believe, exhausted the realistic (maybe they were never very realistic) possibilities of this-world “solutions” to the current, rapidly escalating crisis in the Church. As I said earlier today, this declaration of Faith by the remaining two Dubia cardinals, can be interpreted, I believe, as an admission of failure. The attempt to force the Pope to at least pretend to be Catholic, has failed. Today’s publication of this ironically named “exhortation on holiness” that is in reality a 22,000+ word rant against his enemies – mainly people who believe the Catholic religion – is perhaps his most eloquent response to date.
We have been running our little blog-series asking the question, “What do we do?”
We have to start thinking seriously about how we are going to move forward in this situation. We cannot change it. No sentence beginning with the words “I wish” is worth the bother of completing. I was advised recently by a confessor not to try to force the world to be the way it ought to be, but to try to live in it in the here and now as it actually is. Things are the way they are. And we need to start preparing ourselves in a concrete manner for a long period of spiritual and ecclesiastical famine.
Of course, the answer is one we all know already. We’ve had some interesting responses, and unsurprisingly they have all more or less been the same.
“Traditional Catholicism is the only answer” – an Archboldian call to arms
The recovery of all Truth and return fully to traditional Catholicism in its liturgy and formulations of the Truth and every promulgated falsehood, whether direct or indirect, must be purged from the Church.
Catholics without priests; the solitary pursuit of holiness
“Every good Catholic should read this. The answers needed are in this. This is my plan. I’m ready. I’ve been studying and receiving the Sacraments. I’ve been learning to pray without ceasing. The contents of this article will carry me through. It is a priest caring for the few faithful during the French Revolution. God willing, we will become saints.”
And our Report from the ground in Ireland:
Children growing up in Ireland today will not hear the whole truth in their Catholic schools, i.e., no hard teachings. It’s all about love and mercy and Gospel values. Don’t get me wrong, these have their place too and I am grateful for the priests and religious sisters still serving in my children’s schools. However, the hard teachings have to be taught at home and this is extremely difficult to do in a global, sentimental, social media age, saturated with celebrity virtue signalling. This question occupies most of my time, energy and prayer.
We’re waiting on more from various people who have promised to write their thoughts. I’ve corresponded with several people who have asked to just keep things private for now. A young priest asked for details on the things he might have missed out on in his seminary training, so I put him in touch with some good priests and a theologian I knew. A couple have simply asked for help finding a traditional Mass near them. I know a lot of people are confused and in difficulties. I know that a lot of people are waking up to the realities and they are much, much worse than they had previously suspected. Waking up and discovering the Matrix is no much fun, I know.
But despite all our varied circumstances, different states in life, different past experiences, different ages, work, and interests, different countries, different educations… I think the solution – the real solution – is not going to be much different for us. In fact, the solution – if we have the courage to embrace it (and this is the tricky part) – is pretty much the same in every country for every person.
We have had similar messages from each of our blog correspondents above. But more to the point, they have been substantially the same as every message we’ve had from Our Lady in the last 100 years: “Pray, fast, do penance.” Specifically, pray the Rosary, daily if you can. Pray for the pope. Pray and offer sacrifices (all the saints suggest small, invisible sacrifices) for the conversion of sinners. Make reparation for the offences against the Sacred Heart, offences which are growing against the Most Holy and August Sacrament of the Altar. If you can’t pray big – if you can’t do a Rosary a day or the Divine Office – pray small. Pray little heartfelt prayers throughout the day, whenever you feel the little tug on your heart. The more you pray the more you can pray. Start small and your heart will expand to help you pray more. God will not fail you in this.
For many years I worked in the pro-life movement because I thought this was the most important issue of our times, the one most urgent. I think I wasn’t wrong, but after all that time, the conclusion I came to – that has been bolstered by the last five years in this country – is that activism, per se, isn’t sufficient answer. It seems like every lesson I’ve learned in life I’ve had to learn the hardest way possible. I learned that sin is a complete horror by committing the worst ones. I learned that redemption can’t be bought except by the Blood of the Lamb. I learned that miracles are real by experiencing them. And this latest lesson, that activism isn’t going to save us, is one I have had to learn the hard way too, after 20-odd (not very happy) years in activism of various kinds.
What are we all, perhaps just finally this week, really learning about the situation in Rome? That activism isn’t what we’re supposed to be doing. You’d think that after 100 years of appearances with the grace-filled Queen of Heaven telling us quite plainly, in so many words, that only She can rescue us, only She really has all the inside information on what needs fixing and how to fix it – we might have believed Her. But we’re slow. I know I am. I know I’m at fault for trying to the very end to rely upon worldly things, upon my own pitiful powers.
We are accustomed to thinking that the work is up to us. We have to keep doing things. And of course, we fool ourselves into believing that we know what to do, and that we know it isn’t just to sit and pray. A petition! Yes, that’s the ticket! Or perhaps a conference! I’ll get on the phone right now and start organising! Or maybe an open letter! Let’s see how many signatures we can get!
In fairness, it’s kind of our nature; we can’t really help it. But of course, we are asked to try to overcome mere nature. I talked to a professional pray-er (a learned monk) and he confirms that the activist instinct is not a modern, recent addition to human nature. Indeed, the main part of the Sayings of the Desert Fathers is about older monks telling eager-beaver younger monks who want to go out and do “something useful” to “Go back to your cell.” We can’t see supernatural realities. We can’t see that the Host is the Body and Blood of Christ. We weren’t witnesses to the Annuciation, the Nativity, the miracles and the Resurrection. We weren’t there at Pentecost. All we see from day to day is this ordinary, physical world. So of course we struggle with this. It’s the great struggle of Faith, as we were told, “Blessed are they who have not seen, but yet have believed.”
For every one of the years of my activist life, I struggled with this interior conflict. I wanted to do something. But I was also quite sure, deep in the secret cloister of my heart, that this was not the thing. It is obviously true we are called to do something, but it’s not to circulate petitions in this world.
Last week we published a brief essay, with a bit of commentary, titled, “What do we do; a military answer” . Our friend Bree A. Dail wrote:
Indeed, this is a war. The blessing is, we have access to the weapons that will level the playing field against an enemy far stronger than any of us…and better still, every Catholic may utilise them.
Today I spoke briefly with her again, asking about it. She agreed that we struggle with this problem of believing in but not seeing the miraculous, the splendid interventions of heaven. But as of this weekend, we agreed that we have run out of these earthly solutions. The silence of nearly all the bishops, the failure of the Dubia…the fact that we seem to have absolutely no lawful, canonical means of protecting the Church from an evil pope intent on her destruction.
She’s given us the plans. She is also the one to crush his head; the demonic flee whenever She arrives. In a way, though, when we see the truth, we must do everything we can to confront the lies. But when we have…and I think this has happened (the latest effort being on Saturday)… we are out of options. So now, we respond to grace. Nothing more, nothing less and nothing else.
What is it? We must unite the Catholic world in joining the “Rosary Coast to Coast” movement that began in Poland in October.
This is from the press release:
US Catholics to Join International Rosary Initiative with “Rosary Coast To Coast”
USA, April 2, 2018 – Inspired by the Rosary events that took place in Poland, October 7, 2017– where more than 1 million faithful gathered at the borders of the country to pray the Rosary–US Coordinators are organizing national “Rosary Coast to Coast”. The events will begin with a 54-Day Rosary Novena, starting August 15, 2018 and culminating with rallies throughout the US and at the US Capitol on October 7, 2018.
“Throughout the world, men and women have been moved, by only what can be discerned as a Clarion Call of the Holy Spirit, to engage in spiritual warfare through prayer, fasting and sacrifice. Ordinary men and women have joined forces, joining with their priests and bishops and in extraordinary ways—physically surrounding their nations in active prayer.”-Fr. Richard Heilman, President of Holy League.
In addition, International Coordinators from Ireland, the British Isles, Australia and Poland–as well as other countries–have pledged to join the US, both in the prayers leading up to and through world-wide prayer events scheduled October 6-7.
Americans across the country are invited to lead, pray and engage with “Rosary Coast to Coast” wherever they can gather: along the US coasts and borders through pilgrimages and processions. If unable to organize trips to the US Coastline or borders, they are encouraged to participate in parish Churches; in front of state capitols; as families; or simply while viewing the live-stream of the National Rosary Rally in Washington, DC. The events will culminate with the Rosary being said, simultaneously, throughout the country starting at 4 pm Eastern/ 3 pm Central/2 pm Mountain/ 1 pm Pacific.
Of note, the “Novena for Our Nation”, “National Rosary Rally” and “Rosary Coast to Coast” are all sponsored by Holy League, a 501c3 under the spiritual guidance of Raymond Cardinal Burke, whose mission is “calling men to combat the forces of evil in today’s society”.
More information here from Rosary on the Coast UK
I’m going to add only this: You can’t pray. You struggle. You have never got on well with the Rosary, which you find dull and repetitive. You often feel strangely “blocked” when you try to organise your prayer life. You feel like praying is for other people. Maybe, you think, you just aren’t ‘called to it,’ and you’re more of a “doer” than a pray-er.
All these are normal temptations. Nearly everyone experiences them – some or all – at some point. Sometimes for long periods. This is the struggle, the interior combat that the old Desert Fathers talked about so much. It can be frustrating, especially when we talk to other people who seem to never have these problems, the eager-beavers who are, it seems, always cheerfully Rosary-ing away at the drop of a hat. We go through dry spells. Sometimes it’s something more serious. Sometimes there are spiritual problems, and sometimes there are psychological issues.
I have a couple of suggestions from good priests I know who have helped me.
1. Find someone to talk to about it. Seriously, good priests are always around, and in my experience they like nothing more than to help someone who says to them, “Father, I just can’t seem to get on in prayer.” From their point of view, they’ve found someone who cares enough to try, to struggle with it, instead of just never giving it a thought.
2. Do what St. Philip Neri suggests. He said, “Don’t pray as you can’t, but as you can.” I’ve been told, if a full five decades of the Rosary is too daunting, start small. Do a decade at a time. Ten Hail Mary’s and a little brief think about the mystery. It will take the amount of time you spend waiting for the kettle to boil or for the bus to arrive. If even one decade is too much, just say three Hail Marys. Say them when you wake up in the morning and are working on getting up. Say them just as you’re about to go to sleep at night.When you say them, just make a little petition, “Blessed Mother, please help me to pray.” Ask your guardian angel for help. Try it right now. … There, see? You prayed. Well done!
3. Pray the Angelus. This easy-to-memorise prayer was a mainstay of Christian life for all the centuries of Christendom, three times a day. Set the alarm on your phone or watch for six, noon and six. It takes about two and a half minutes.
4. Squeeze prayer into every little nook and cranny of the day. The Catholic treasury is full of little short prayers you can say on the spot. The tradition of the Desert Fathers is that one fills the hours of the day just popping off the prayers that come into your mind, and are suggested by the liturgy, the Psalms one chants every day when one is a desert monk.
One of them was always extolled as very powerful indeed. So much so that St. Benedict put it at the start of every Office of the day: “O God come to my assistance; O Lord, make haste to help me.” “Deus in adiutorium meum intende: Domine, ad adiuvandum me festina.” If you can’t think of anything to “say” this one always wins. If you listen to the video, you can learn to chant it in Latin. Which is cool!
5. Learn a bit of chant. One of the purposes of it is to make prayer easier, more pleasant, more interesting. The hard part is the Latin, but with a little help from Youtube even this stops being so difficult. Once you have learned just a few of the little snippets, the responsories, a few Office antiphons, the Lord’s Prayer, the Angelus or the Marian Antiphons, you can repeat these to yourself throughout the day. Bonus for Latin is that it is well attested that Stan hates Latin. Sing these little bits all day long and he’s going to stay well away from you.
Here’s the Marian Antiphon for Easter.
This is where Fr. Cassian talks about praying “without ceasing” in the monastic tradition. It’s some good stuff!
We do believe in miracles. Big ones like the Incarnation and Resurrection. And little ones like turning you into a praying person.