The Promise of The Spirit

 As the Father sent me, so am I sending you

John 20:21

It is Pentecost Sunday, the day when in fulfilling the promise made to his disciples at the last supper, Christ sent them an advocate to build up His church to be united and holy. Father  Jeremy Davies pointed out in St Paul’s letter  to the Ephesians that the gift of the Holy Spirit was given to build up the church into a community and into holiness, so as to build up each Christian into the image of our Lord Jesus and thus enable the fullness of Christ to dwell fully in every Christian. As his disciples were,  we too are in receipt of this same promise of the Holy Spirit.

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In addressing  the gathering at Tyburn on Sunday, Fr Jeremy explained that Christ in bringing us into unity with His body paves the way for us to become the visible church, His visible church. Christ brings everyone into unity with God’s love by bringing them into union with Himself. The journey to God through the Son is possible since Christ himself is in union with the Father

 On that day you will understand that I am in my Father and you in me and I in you  

John 14:20

and this journey is aided by the coming of the advocate as promised by Christ. It is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, the spirit of wisdom and understanding that Luke says which opens the new testament to us. Through His son and by way of the Holy Spirit unlocking all the mysteries and teachings of Christ, God speaks to every human being on this earth. We are only asked to listen and to open our hearts.

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The platform of the Westminster Catholic Evidence Guild at Tyburn bears witness to the message and promises of Christ each Sunday afternoon and is blessed with the presence of Fr Jeremy Davies who journeys down from Luton on the third Sunday of each month.

I call you friends because I have made known to you everything I learnt from my Father

John 15:15

And on each of these days, many friends are gathered to share in the special gifts that call us all to be Christians.

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Faith and The Planet

The summer series of talks relating to matters of Catholic moral and social teaching  began at Vaughan House on Thursday 9th May with Mary Colwell addressing the audience on a subject close to her heart, the state and future of our planet. Those who follow current debate and discussion on this matter will know that one of Mary’s roles is as environmental adviser to the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales. Very appropriate therefore that she should open this series of lectures with her topic entitled ” Dialogue with the earth  “.

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Utilising material sourced in her work as a producer on the various media, Mary drew the attention of those present to the pressures on our environment and the resources of the planet brought about by social and economic demands, reflecting on the question posed by the ecological theologian Thomas Berry that mankind had broken it’s conversation with the earth. As nature’s resources in both our forests and oceans are plundered, she offered as food for thought what Catholic teaching and beliefs could do in not only giving us a way to consider the crisis placed upon our planet but for the Catholic Church to take a lead in addressing these issues and to help our planet recover not only from the ravages on it’s natural wealth but also the drastic changes to our planet’s ecosystem.

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Mary herself wrote some years ago that people of faith would conduct their lives so as not to engage in rampant consumerism.  Whilst on the face of it, the Gospels may not make direct references to the earth, it is very clear that in Genesis ( 1:26-28 ), we are called to be stewards of the planet. Implicit in this therefore is our role in taking care of the earth and managing it’s resources which are a gift to us. Mary asks too if we should not see the world as more than something which supplies us with resources but indeed something that reflects back to us the face of God which should therefore be treated with respect and reverence.   As the Catholic church has a strong presence in those parts of the planet where there is much stress on the environment, Mary believes that indeed we have something to say but what we have to do is to bring a well-formulated proposition to the discussion or be dictated to by the world of science, business and politics. I need to make it clear that Mary’s approach is not that of an environmentalist. Instead she offers the basis of a dialogue which Catholics can bring to the environmental table. This is important since all of us share in what the earth offers and we share too, a grave interest in what it has to offer to the many generations to come. It is therefore not merely a case that we see fewer Swifts in our skies but that our children may see any at all and what hardships they may have to endure because we have spent today that which is rightfully theirs and that of their heirs tomorrow. We as Catholics should therefore  bring our teaching to this important table of discussion.

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Information on the series and video courtesy of the Diocese of Westminster

Additional Images from the discussion

My photo blog

Good People Bound By Good Purpose

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On Thursday April 11, in the first of a three-part series of discussions organised by St Paul’s Institute and sponsored by CCLA, an ethical fund manager, Archbishop Vincent Nichols placed before  the audience, challenging views for our society and it’s communities,  to consider what sort of City it is that we want that would better serve society. As keynote speaker for the evening, Archbishop Vincent took a view of the City as a place where people live and work. Since it is people who make the City, it follows that the City can therefore be a place of human flourishing. The Archbishop’s talk therefore was entitled ‘ Good People ’.

Quoting TS Eliot who said ‘ there is no life that is not in community….. ’ the Archbishop offered that if one were to take the view of a City as being a community, then we must pursue all that cultivates community. The ancient Greeks he went on to say, had a clear view on the purpose of the city, ‘ the polis ’ as they called it which was to build a good society where citizens thrived as members of a virtuous community. In a city since we are all in it together, the well being and fulfilment of each is in some ways dependent on others.  There are ties of trust and solidarity to be recognised and developed between people and  institutions which in turn create common bonds. These common bonds and shared common interests could result in good. In recent times though, the apparent legitimisation of the pursuit of self interest which were once believed to result in better outcomes for all had led to breakdowns such as  the financial crisis, prompting searching questions about inequalities which have been generated by the approach of self-enrichment. Therefore more collective thought was needed about what can be changed for the good of all. Archbishop Vincent offered as a key to the answer, the concept of

 ‘Good people bound by good purpose’

Good first had to be defined, itself not an easy process since we no longer share many of the patterns of thought which would help establish its meaning. Instead of applying the  conventional rationale of morality and duty he felt it would help to understand ‘desire’ as a vital and fundamental driving force of ethics and goodness. In our quest for relationships of deep friendship and for our lives to have meaning so as to make a contribution, we all have in us  a  desire for ‘good’. The Archbishop said that respecting others and seeking their good was essential to one’s own good.  Seeking the good and responding to its attractiveness further takes us out of narrow, self-centered attitudes.  It is he suggested the path to true human flourishing and fulfilment.

However he did recognise that our desire for the good can easily be distorted through selfishness greed, pride or lust.  It is a  struggle between good and evil that runs in every aspect of our lives. Thus in order to lean to the good we need to learn to pursue virtues that become our moral agents. These would help us do that which is right and honourable irrespective of reward and regardless of what we are obliged to do. The Archbishop then briefly explored the fundamentals of the virtues of prudence, justice, courage and temperance.

Prudence or right reasoned action was the opposite of rashness and carelessness. Courage ensured firmness and the readiness to stand by what we believe in times of difficulty while Justice enabled us to give what was due to others by respecting their rights and fulfilling our duties towards them and the virtue of Temperance which helps us moderate our appetites and use of the world’s created goods was  the opposite of consumerism and the uninhibited pursuit of pleasure. These together form essentials of a happy life.

The formation of good people starts in the family which is the first school of citizenship. Loving, stable families are the vital building block of every society. Schools come next and are important in building character, as are universities and in the context of the City, the business schools. Whilst we should look to these institutions of the community to foster virtue and thereby build character, we should also look to the institutions of commerce to nurture and strengthen character. Such institutions should have a clear sense of purpose so as to be enterprises of ‘good purpose’.

When sight of purpose is lost then breakdowns of the system occur. Reflecting on the Francis Review into Staffordshire NHS Trust, Archbishop Vincent quoted the head of the professional standards authority who spoke of leaders having lost sight of their moral purpose. They seemed to have forgotten they exist to do good. Concern for finances had taken priority over care, compassion and respect leading him to say that “unless you know the purpose for which you are running an organisation you will never get the ethics right within it”.

That sense of ‘good purpose’ was not just for the public sector but also for commercial organisations. Mark Carney, the incoming Governor of the Bank of England spoke of the speaking of the need for companies to “define clearly the purpose of their organisations and promote a culture of ethical business”, and, in doing so, for employees to have “a sense of broader purpose, grounded in strong connections to their clients and their communities”. It is not simply a focus on profit as an end in itself but Archbishop Vincent suggested that the true justification of business was when profit was made while making the world a better place. Goods and services produced that truly serve people,  create employment, offer fair returns to investors, while minimising harm. Any business looking to remain true to that purpose needed people with technical skills and competencies as well as the required character and virtues he outlined earlier. These “ architects of lasting business success ”in staying true to their virtues would create a culture within their organisations that actually promotes and strengthens good practice.

It should be noted that the exploration of ‘good people bound by good purpose’  comes up against the limits of law and regulation since these mechanisms are slow to react and new rules usually deal with the last problem not the next one. Furthermore a compliance mentality creates perverse incentives while increasing bureaucracy.  Rules become a lazy proxy for morality and people think that if what they do is not against a rule, it must be in order. Such a society he counselled, would become inherently fragile. What is required the Archbishop believed was a fundamental transformation of purpose, so that business, and the financial sector is seen by everyone as it should be – at the service of society. Reform though must be credible or as John Kay, an economic commentator says, it will take another financial crisis before the City really wakes up to the scale of reform that is needed.

Archbishop Vincent though is firm in his belief that there is great potential for good in people which far too many employers do not release or encourage because of the primary aim to maximise short term profit. In mitigation, companies tended to justify themselves through additional programmes of social benefit or philanthropy but as the Archbishop insisted, these acts of benevolence should be supplementary to the shared value created by the core work of the business activity. Rather than react to laws and guidelines or engage in these programs, it was far more important  for business to have a clear purpose to serve society. To this end, the quality of leadership is critical since all the good influences that support the way for a better society is hugely influenced by these choices made by leaders. The Archbishop drew on Paul Polman’s remarks as CEO of Unilever when he  reminded the assembled guests at the launch conference of the Blueprint for Better Business last September that in the long term no business can succeed in a society that fails.

The Christian instinct Archbishop Vincent affirmed, sees the potential for good in a city and gave us all food for thought in noting that the Bible started in a garden and ended in a city. He then drew our attention to the setting of the evening’s lecture that the beauty that is St Paul’s Cathedral invited those of us present to gaze upwards and place our hopes and fears in the context of the Eternal. It also perhaps afforded us recognition of our frailty, our need of one another and our shared destiny. In closing, Archbishop Vincent left us with his impression that humanity had a most extraordinary capacity for good and that he deeply believed that there are many  untapped ways by which we could organise the world of work in service of the common good.

There then followed a discussion with the panel consisting of Baroness Helena Kennedy, Tracey McDermott of the FSA, Peter Selby who is the director of St Paul’s Institute. Proceedings were under the chair and direction of Stephanie Flanders, the economics editor of the BBC. Questions were put to Archbishop Vincent from both the panel and audience. Archbishop Vincent’s responses in the video are well worth noting.

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Please click above image for the video

Pictures courtesy of Marcin Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk

Sunday April 7

…..….. was Divine Mercy Sunday, a solemnity of the Roman Catholic Church celebrated on the Sunday after Easter. The choice of this particular Sunday is not by coincidence considering the first mass during which the image of the Divine Mercy was first displayed was indeed on the occasion of the first Sunday after Easter. Instead it was through a vision received by Sister Maria Faustina Kowalska to whom the image first appeared that Christ Jesus Himself it was, who required the image of the Divine Mercy to be blessed on the Sunday after Easter.

Divine Mercy Image

Early Life and Calling 

Born on August 25 1905 into a family of ten and named Helenka Kowalska, Faustina was the third child of Stanislaus, a carpenter and Marianna Kowalska. While attending an Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at the age of 7, she wrote that she felt a calling to religious life and wanted to enter the convent after finishing school. Unable to obtain parental permission to follow her calling, she went to work as a housekeeper in Lodz to support herself and her parents. A year passed and despite asking her parents again and on two occasions, she received firm refusals to enter a convent.

At aged 19, Faustina whie attending a dance in a park in Lodz with her sister, Faustina stated that during the course of a dance she had a vision of a suffering Jesus. Rushing away to a church, she reported that she was told by Jesus to leave for Warsaw immediately and join a convent. So she packed a small bag that night  and without telling her parents nor knowing anyone in Warsaw, took a train bound for the city the following morning.

Convent, illness and the first vision

While at Warsaw she was referred by a priest at St James’s church in  Grójecka Street to some accommodation whilst making her approaches to several convents. Faustina was finally accepted by the convent of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy on the provision that she would pay for her habit. In 1925 she worked for a year as a housemaid, making deposits from her savings until she finally received her habit in 1926 when she took the name ‘ Maria Faustina ’ of the Blessed Sacrament. Faustina was Polish for ‘ fortunate or blessed ’. Two years later in April 1928, Maria Faustina took her first vows as a nun at a ceremony attended by her parents.

Faustina was sent to a convent in  Vilnius initially for a year as a cook before being transferred to a convent in Plock in Poland. It was at Plock that Faustina first showed signs of an illness, believed to be tuberculosis which would lead to her demise nearly a decade later. It was also at Plock that Faustina first saw the image of Christ that would lead to her writings on the Divine Mercy.

In 1931, one night while in her room in Plock, dressed in a white garment with rays of white and red light emanating from near his heart, Jesus appeared to Faustina as the ‘ King of Divine Mercy ’. In her diary ( Notebook 1, items 47 and 48 ), Faustina wriote that Jesus told her to paint an image in accordance with the vision before her with the signature ‘ Jesus, I trust in You ’. Jesus also told Faustina how He desired the image to be venerated.

Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: ‘Jesus, I trust in You ‘. I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and then throughout the world. I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish

Faustina also noted in her diary that Jesus had also told her that he wanted the image of the Divine Mercy to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter and that Sunday should be called the Feast of Mercy. Unable to paint nor finding assistance in doing so, it was not until three years later that the first artistic rendering of the image would be made under Faustina’s direction.

Further visions, writings and historical notes

Late in May of 1933, Faustina would again be transferred to Vilnius as a gardener. It was here that she met Father Michael Sopocko, who after making his own investigations, would support her in advising her to maintain a record of all her conversations with and messages from Jesus. It was Fr Sopocko too who introduced Faustina to the artist who would, under her direction, produce the first image of the Divine Mercy, the only painting of the image Faustina herself ever saw. It in 1934 that Faustina recorded a prediction that her message of the Divine Mercy would be suppressed for some time and appear to be ‘ utterly undone ’ before it would gain acceptance again. Item 378 in Faustina’s Notebook 1 bore this interesting inscription

There will come a time when this work, which God is demanding so very much, will be as though utterly undone. And then God will act with great power, which will give evidence of its authenticity. It will be a new splendour for the Church, although it has been dormant in it from long ago.

In September 1935, the year of the first mass of the Divine Mercy, Faustina wrote of a vision about the Chaplet of Divine Mercy in her diary. In the chaplet which was about a third of the length of the Rosary, Faustina wrote that the purpose for the prayers of mercy contained in the chaplet was threefold – to obtain mercy, to trust in Christ’s mercy and to show mercy to others.

By November of that same year, Faustina had written the rules for a new contemplative congregation devoted to Divine Mercy and a month later visited a house in Vilnius which she had seen in  a vision as the first convent for the congregation. However she was reminded by Archbishop Jalbrzykowski that she was perpetually vowed to her current order

Faustina’s long time supporter Fr Sopocko wrote the first brochure on the Divine Mercy devotion in the summer of 1936. It carried the image of the Divine Mercy on the cover and Faustina was in receipt of this as her illness took hold. She was moved to Pradnik in Krakow where she would spend most of the final two years of her life in prayer while writing her diaries.  In March of the following year, Faustina wrote of a vision that the feast of Divine Mercy would be celebrated in her local chapel in the presence of large crowds and that the same celebration would be held in Rome before the Pope. In July, the first holy cards with the Divine Mercy image were produced and Faustina began at the suggestion of Fr Sopocko to write the instructions for the novena of Divine Mercy which she had reported as a message from Jesus on Good Friday. Throughout the year, much progress was made in promoting the messages of Divine Mercy and a pamphlet with the image of Divine Mercy  was published with the title Christ, King of Mercy. In it were the chaplet. Novena and the litany of Divine Mercy.

The passing, beatification and canonisation of Sister Faustina 

In April 1938, Faustina’s illness had worsened and she was sent to a sanatorium in Pradnik. However by June she was no longer able to write and Fr Sopocko who visited her wrote of her condition but noted her ecstasy when in prayer. Later in September, Faustina was taken back home to Krakow where she would remain until passing away in October after making her final confession, 13 years after entering the convent. She was buried on October 7 and now rests at the Basilica of Divine Mercy in Krakow.

Before her death, Sr Faustina predicted a terrible war and asked for prayers for Poland. When her prediction of war came true, Archbishop Jalbrzykowski allowed public access to the Divine Mercy image and the size of the crowds attending lef to the Divine Mercy devotion which was a strength and inspiration for many especially during the difficult times of the war. By 1941 the devotion had spread to America where millions of copies of Divine Mercy prayer cards were distributed there and wordwide. Whilst in hiding during the war  Fr Sopocko wrote the constitution for the congregation and assisted with the formation of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Divine Mercy. Within 13 years for Faustina’s passing, 150 Divine Mercy centers had already been established in Poland alone. However in 1959 Faustina’s writings were placed on the Index of Forbidden Books and remained there until the index was abolished in 1966 by Pope Paul VI. It had been reported that the initial ban stemmed from theological issues so in 1965 Karol Wojtyla, then Archbishop of Krakow launched a new investigation while submitting a number of documents about Faustina to the Vatican, requesting that the process of her beatification should begin.

In 1977, over a year before being elected as John Paul II, Archbishop Wojtyla asked the Vatican to review and lift the ban on the Divine Mercy devotion to successful effect the following year. Thus in April 1978  the Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of the Doctrine of faith declared that the notification ban was no longer binding, and stated that misunderstandings were created by a faulty Italian translation of Faustina’s Diary which were compounded by difficulties in communication during World War II and the subsequent Communist era.

The formal beatification of Faustina involved the case of Maureen Digan, a visitor from the United States to the tomb of Sister Faustina. While praying at the tomb Miss Digan a sufferer from  Lymphedema (a disease which causes significant swelling due to fluid retention) for decades and who had undergone 10 operations including a leg amputation without success reported that while praying at Faustina’s tomb, she heard a voice saying ‘ Ask for my help and I will help you ’ This she did and her constant pain stopped. 2 days later Maureen Digan reported that her shoe became too large for her because her body stopped undue liquid retention. Her recovery was investigated by numerous physicians who stated that she was healed but were unable to provide any explanation for the occurrence. The case was declared miraculous by the Vatican in 1992 based on the additional testimony of over twenty witnesses about her prior condition.

Sister Maria Faustina was beatified on April 18, 1993 and canonized on April 30, 2000 as the first saint in the 21st century. That her Vatican biography directly quotes some of her conversations with Jesus distinguishes Saint Faustina from the many other reported visions. At a  modest estimate made in 2010, the following of the Divine Mercy devotion was believed to be over one hundred million Catholics.

It would not have escaped our notice that Saint Faustina’s writings about the need to obtain, trust and dispense mercy mirrors very closely the words our Saviour gave us in that as we ask for mercy ourselves so  should we show it to others. Thus it is very appropriate therefore that as Christ Jesus Himself intended, this special feast should follow the passion and celebrations of Holy Week when we recall the sacrifice of our Lord and rejoice in His resurrection and saving grace, when indeed our reflections should encourage us to turn those words into deeds.

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Easter Triduum 2013 – Christ Is Risen

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At the Easter Vigil on the sanctuary at Westminster Cathedral, Father Alexander a priest, comes before the Archbishop and announces 



Most Reverend Father

I bring you a message of great joy

Christ is risen

 

In his reply, Archbishop Vincent Nichols spoke of  this Easter Vigil as a celebration of light and life, a triumph of light over darkness and of life over death. That in celebrating these truths and taking them to heart will every moment of our lives be transformed. 

He then referred to the night’s liturgy which placed the truth into its boldest context and invited us to grasp the deepest meaning of the triumph of our Risen Christ, the triumph over evil.

Reflecting on the beginning of the ceremony when the Paschal candle was lit Archbishop Nichols explained that the Paschal Candle symbolised Christ as the Light of the world, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning of all things and it’s end, The one to Whom all time belongs. He went on to say that nothing was beyond the reach of the victory won for us in the flesh and blood of Christ. That as St Paul had written, that when Christ died, He died once and for all to sin so we may have new life, so we could live free from the slavery of sin. 

Drawing on the recent words of Pope Francis, he focussed our thoughts on the ills of today where the reality of sin manifests itself in the wounds inflicted on humanity, a world riddled with economic conflicts that hit the weakest, where man’s  greed for money which could not be taken from this earth in any event, caused great suffering.  How indeed habits of mind and heart become actions often repeated. Thus the importance of the light of this night, the light of Christ, was a reminder to us that the victory of Christ over sin was always available to us and that  His mercy and healing were to be found in every mass, in every confession. Tonight too therefore, we thank God for the ministry of the church through which this mercy comes to us. 

However there was too another aspect of which we should be aware this Holy Saturday and it was that in Christ reaching out to Adam to bring him out of the deepest pit into the glory of new light and life, we too as a result of this enjoy the grace of the redemption of our past. It was vital too to reflect that this peace was only possible through the work, life and light of Christ. While the world would make different demands on us in seeking full payment for our past, in God’s world, a different economy was at work. One, in which the offer of a redemption of the past and a surety for the future was always available. Even the most deep-seated of all our burdens, that of sin which hung like a  millstone round our neck, Archbishop Vincent reassured the congregation,  will be struck and shattered by Christ. 

Thus as it was written all who are thirsty would come to him and listen and our souls will live.  It was not though without taking on a special task, that of witnessing for Christ and taking the lead again from  Pope Francis that we should be looking to the youth of today to  bring us joy of faith which itself must be lived with a young heart. Then having extended his Easter wishes to the congregation along with his  blessing, the Archbishop had his customary meeting with his flock at the steps of the Cathedral.

 

Easter Triduum 2013 : Good Friday – A ransom paid

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Antiphon : God did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all

Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness.

In your compassion blot out my offence.

O wash me more and more from my guilt

and cleanse me from my sin

Consider the extreme cruelty suffered by Christ Jesus at the hands of his executioners. 

His inner garments adhered to his torn flesh. Yet they dragged them off him so violently that the skin came off with them. Those who sought His life used violence against him. And when extending his hands and feet upon the cross, they then proceeded to nail them to the wood so Jesus would die in anguish.  Each blow of the hammer was taken for each and every one of us and each minute of the three hours that Christ was held upright on the cross when under the weight of His body, those very wounds would bring further agony to our Lord, was every minute of additional suffering endured for us.

Consider then that it would not be for nothing if we turned our sorrows into something good. As Pope Francis himself said the cross was the way by which God had made his reply. In response to evil God’s answer was Christ on the Cross. Thus the ‘ Cross of Christ ‘ which is  about love, mercy and forgiveness should encourage in us that the response to evil is to do good, the more than equal opposite of evil. The beautiful prayers, lamentations and meditations on this Good Friday should be a help to us to focus on how we respond to the sacrifice made which is an example to us. Christ died for us on Good Friday so the Good in this day is that love which the Father has shown to us through His Son. We can continue this good if we take up the Cross of Christ and do good ourselves. There is much that needs our attention not only in the world but in our own communities. Sad but it is still evident in the twenty first century that children are impoverished and going hungry, lacking opportunities which would give them a way forward in their lives while the homeless live on our streets.  

Christ came to die for us and once and for all, do away with sin by replacing evil with good. If Christ on the cross means something to us then we could turn the sadness into something good in doing something good and positive. The ransom has been paid.

Picture – The congregation at Westminster Cathedral join a queue to venerate the cross on Good Friday. With the numbers attending The Celebration of The Passion of the Lord, it would be nearly two hours before the next phase of the day’s events, that of the Stations of the Cross would begin.

 

Easter Triduum 2013 at Westminster Cathedral : Holy Thursday

A picture a day  –   A thought for each day

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Said Christ to his apostles ( per Benedictus Antiphon ) 


– I have longed to eat this Passover with you before I suffer



The story then taken up by St Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians 11:23-26

This is what I received from the Lord and in turn passed on to you : that on the same night that he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread, and thanked God for it and broke it, and he said, 


‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in as a memorial of me.’


In the same way he took the cup after supper, and said, 

‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me.’

Until the Lord comes, therefore, every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming his death.


The meal thus ended and having spoken one last time with his disciples, our Lord Jesus is taken away, willingly and without protest to fulfil his mission. as evening approaches then, the Blessed Sacrament Chapel lies empty, the altar stripped. Jesus is taken from our midst since to take us to our salvation, He would have to be taken this way. As great as the love of the Father is for the Son, great too is the love of the Father and of the Son for us. Great too is the price that has been paid for this love.