17 Nov 2018

18th November 2018 - Bright Friday - Making space for a healthy economy

On this weeks programme John and Shane are joined by Martina Lehane Sheehan to discuss "Bright Friday" a day of calm and reflection in opposition to the increasing dominance of so-called ‘Black Friday’, the annual shopping frenzy which sees customers queuing and shoving to get bargain deals. We have our regular reflection on the Sunday gospel as well as liturgical odds and ends and other notices.

You can listen to the podcast of this weeks full programme HERE.

"Bright Friday"

On this weeks programme Martina Lehane Sheehan talks to John and Shane about the proposal to hold a day of calm and reflection in opposition to the increasing dominance of so-called ‘Black Friday’, the annual shopping frenzy which sees customers queuing and shoving to get bargain deals. ‘Bright Friday’ which is on November 23rd will have periods of reflective music, mindfulness, meditations and poetry readings. People wanting an antidote to the consumerism of the day are being encouraged to drop by to areas where it is being hosted.

Martina Lehane Sheehan, discusses on the programme how modern research in psychology shows that “our externals can only contribute to our happiness by 10% (what we buy, what we own etc). Yet we chase it – especially on Black Friday!” She says that approximately 50% of our happiness levels are determined by genetic inheritance and 40% is in our own control when it comes to things like attitudes beliefs, etc.” She describes this as the 40 % solution.

In the United States, ‘Black Friday’ is traditionally the day after the Thanksgiving holiday when many retailers offer incentives to shoppers. Despite the fact that Thanksgiving is not celebrated in Ireland, ‘Black Friday’ is now a ubiquitous day on the Irish shopping calendar.

As a balancing to the madness of Black Friday the Bright Friday holds out a space for people to seek another kind of happiness during the day.

You can listen to the interview with Martina excerpted from the main programme podcast HERE.

Martina's website is available HERE.

Gospel - Mark 13:24-32

Jesus said to his disciples:"In those days after that tribulationthe sun will be darkened,and the moon will not give its light,and the stars will be falling from the sky,and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
"And then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in the clouds'with great power and glory,and then he will send out the angelsand gather his elect from the four winds,from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.
"Learn a lesson from the fig tree.When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves,you know that summer is near.In the same way, when you see these things happening,know that he is near, at the gates. Amen, I say to you,this generation will not pass awayuntil all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away,but my words will not pass away.
"But of that day or hour, no one knows,neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."
Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire
Centre for Liturgy
English Dominicans
Sunday Reflections

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter week 1

Saints of the Week

November 19th - St Pontian
November 20th - St Cyprian of Calainizzi
November 21st - Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary 
November 22nd - St Cecilia
November 23rd - St Columbanus
November 24th - St Andrew Dung-Tac & Companions

14 Nov 2018

Upcoming Programmes on SacredSpace102fm November - December 2018

As we draw to the end of the liturgical year and head into the season Advent, clarity is emerging for the SS102fm team on what we will be talking about over the next few weeks :D. Bearing in mind that things can change without notice, please find below an outline of the upcoming programmes:

  • November 18th - Bright Friday with Martina Leehane-Sheehan
  • November 25th - Advent at the Abbey with Fr Luke McNamara OSB
  • December 2nd - Synod of Bishops on Youth with Bishop Donal McKeowan
  • December 9th - Reflecting on Lectio Divina with the Newcastle West Lectio Divina Group
  • December 16th - Year in Review in the Diocese of Limerick with Bishop Brendan Leahy
  • December 23rd - Advent: A forgotten season
  • December 25th - SacredSpace102fm Christmas Day Special Programme on WL102fm
  • December 30th - Reflection on Pope Francis message for World Day of Peace 2019

Looking forward to having you with us,

SS102fm Team.

'The greatest hypocrisy' - Father Frank Daly's controversial Remembrance address 2018


"I ask you, how many of you standing here in front of me today have actually met a refugee face to face and listened to their story?"
"At the 11 hour on the 11 day of the 11 month, exactly one hundred years ago today, at this precise moment, the guns fell silent. And in that silence the hope was born that this so-called ‘war to end all wars’ would never happen again, that the hubris, pride and arrogance that caused it would never resurface and that the 20 million lives lost would not be for nothing.

"This act of remembrance which we gather for every year has of course a special poignancy today – it is something we must do, wear our poppies, gather in silence – and for many of us the reasons are personal, as we commemorate members of our own families who are among those countless dead. And so the guns fell silent – only they didn’t, and they haven’t and they aren’t. 

"That same cynicism of cigar-smoking, brandy swilling generals that sent thousands of men over the top like cannon fodder to instant and painful death without any thought of who they were, their families and where they came from is still alive and well today.

"My sister in the ministry, Rev. Angela, wrote in the Hinckley Times this week that in remembrance today we not only remember their sacrifice but all the times we got it wrong. We must remember our own mistakes if we are to move forward.

"Those mistakes are still being made, that pride and hubris still exists, internationally, nationally and personally. Our country which prides itself on its sense of honour and justice has in many ways shamed their memory.

"Much of our economy is enhanced by the arms industry which makes over 7 billion pounds every year from the sale of weapons to countries often of dubious integrity. Trillions of pounds are spent on the creation of a weapons system that could destroy the whole planet in a week. How can we lament the effects of war if we are profiting from the sale of the means of promoting it? How can we pray for peace when we are producing the very means of destroying it?

"This is the greatest hypocrisy. We have also created a so-called ‘hostile environment’ to actively prevent those who are feeling the effects of war today, the butchering of their families, the destruction of their homes, fleeing for their very lives, from finding safety and asylum here, because we feel they are just ‘migrants’ and a drain on our economy.

"I ask you, how many of you standing here in front of me today have actually met a refugee face to face and listened to their story? How can we make judgments about them when we have never met them? How can we turn them away when they have escaped the very thing we are commemorating today?

"The words read to us by the Rev. Dimitri were chosen specially for today from the very earliest days of the Christian Church: “where do these wars and battles between you begin?”, asks the apostle James.

“Isn’t it precisely in the desires fighting within you? You want something and you can’t have it so you are prepared to kill to get it” We have developed what we might call a ‘culture of entitlement’ which tells us that we can and must have anything we want whenever we want it, even if it is at the expense of others. Every angry word, every selfish thought or action has shamed the memory of these men who sought no more than to serve, a thought becoming increasingly alien to our thinking. 

"Every complaint, every outrage or outburst, every time we blind ourselves to the sufferings of others with an over concern for our own profit and welfare, we dishonour those who gave so much so that we could be free from all of this. We can only honour their dying by our living, and we do so by rooting out every drop of self-interest within us so that we can open our hearts and minds to others and live peacefully and justly with them.

"The Christian faith which frames the lives of so many of us, tells us that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way to the world’s salvation – the gospel of peace, reconciliation and forgiveness, the gospel of putting others before ourselves even at great cost, as did he who gave away his whole life so that the world could be saved from itself.

"This is the message of truth for all times - you find your life only when you have lost it for others – a message that is more appropriate and necessary today than it ever has been. No amount of flag waving, poppy-wearing, wreath laying, or all too brief moments of silence can ever truly honour their memory, when deep down our own needs and interests remain of paramount importance.

"It is only in the way we shape our lives today, allow our thinking to be changed, our hearts to be touched and our attitudes to be transformed, that we can create any lasting memorial to them. We can only honour their dying in our living, which surely will be our pledge to them today and for ever."

Reflection by Michael D. Higgins, Uachtarán na hÉireann Tofa, on Armistice Day 2018

Glasnevin Cemetery, Sunday, 11 November 2018 

A cháirde,

Bailithe mar atáimid chun ómós a thabhairt dóibh siúd a maraíodh, a gortaíodh, agus a d'fhulaing sa Chéad Chogadh Domhanda, maraon lena gclanna, tugaimis ómós dóibh siúd ar fad.

One hundred years ago the guns finally fell silent on the Western Front, signalling the conclusion of one thousand five hundred and sixty-four days of continuous warfare, waged from the fields of Flanders to the mountains of Italy, and from the hills and ravines of Greece to the banks of the Tigris and the Euphrates, the first of two wars that would disfigure a century.

We assemble, on this most solemn day, to remember the fourteen million souls who lost their lives in that terrible conflagration. Ours is not a celebration of militarism, nor a valorisation of martial spirit, but a simple recognition of our common humanity, as we recall the destruction of the promise and potential of a generation in the First World War, the lasting damage inflicted on the millions wounded and maimed, and the countless others who would go on to suffer mental anguish as a result of the horrors of their war experience. Is mór an méid a d'fhulaing siad.

We remember, in particular, the two hundred thousand men from across the island of Ireland, North and South, East and West, who served in that war, and we call to mind in a special way the tens of thousands who never returned home who remain forever in the soil of Belgium, France, Greece and Turkey.

Not driven by a single political aspiration, nor by a single animating motivation, some fought for the rights of small nations, some in defence of the United Kingdom and the Union, some for adventure, while others were compelled by economic necessity in a country still feeling the aftershocks of the Lockout of 1913. We must respect their ideas as they knew and felt them.  Yet, despite all the differences of religion, class and political aspiration, they were united by what would be a shared experience of war, the humanity expressed towards each other, with its comradeship, friendship and shared hardship whether it was on the Western Front, at Gallipoli, or in the Middle East.

There, they joined soldiers, drawn not only from the continent of Europe – Germans, French, British, Belgians, Austrians, Hungarians, Poles, Russians, Slovenes, Turks, Czechs, Finns, Bulgarians, Ukrainians, Romanians, Moldavians, Byelorussians, Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians, Croatians and Slovaks – nor from nations across the oceans – the United States, China, Australia, New Zealand and Canada – but also many who came from lands ruled by the empires of Europe – from Western and Central Africa, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Madagascar, the Middle East, Somalia and India, for the war represented a collision of empires. 

Some of those who were thrown into the maelstrom of the war demonstrated remarkable courage and bravery in the most trying and difficult of circumstances. They were witnesses to the barbarism and brutality of a war made all the more terrifying by the perverse use of a new science and technology and industrial power in the pursuit of total war and mutual destruction. 

Writing upon hearing of the death of his friend the great Irish poet and public servant, Thomas MacGreevy, reflected the disorientation of millions of soldiers who found themselves in the blasted landscape of the Front:
I labour in a barren place,
Alone, self-conscious, frightened, blundering;
Far away, stars wheeling in space,
About my feet, earth voices whispering.
When the soldiers of the First World War returned to their homes they found countries and empires transformed. It was a return that varied in accordance with new circumstances. From the old dynastic empires to the East arose new nations seeking self-determination, pursuing a renewed and hard-won liberty. Here, in our country, some of those who came from the front threw themselves into our own battle for national independence, while others would experience a lack of sorrow, compassion, understanding of either their service or their wounds and would struggle to find their place in a rapidly changing Ireland. 

For many years, there was an uncertainty, even a reticence, to recognise the human cost and reality of the First World War, and those who fought and died in it. In our public history, the reticence was reflected by a form of official amnesia that left a blank space in our public memory. 

That has now changed, as citizens across our island have begun to discover a greater – and perhaps too long-delayed – insight into the experience of their grandparents, great-grandparents and neighbours. With this excavation of the past we have a far greater understanding of the motivation of those who enlisted in the war effort, and a better appreciation of the experience of the war, not only for those in uniform, but for civilians. 

As we assemble this morning to remember our dead, we are joining peoples from across the world. We do so in a spirit of solidarity and compassion, and we do so in a world still sadly subject to war and the rumours of war, a world that still seems – if I may borrow from the words of Martin Luther King from another time and another place –  ‘a [world] gone mad on war’, a world in which, more than at any other time, so many people are subject to atrocities, to famine, to starvation and to displacement and exile. 

Even as we, in these first decades of the twenty-first century, have the material capacity to abolish all forms of human poverty, to alleviate all unnecessary suffering, we are still devoting so much of our creativity, not to the preservation or achievement of peace, but to the prosecution of and preparation for war. 

Amidst great human suffering, some nations now seek to embark upon a new arms race, increasing not only their own stockpiles, but exporting weapons of death and destruction to fuel the fires of war in other lands, in Yemen, in Syria, and in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

On this Armistice Day we are called to remember. We must remember how easily the powers of Europe, with all their centuries of scholarship, philosophy and learning, cast it all aside and fell into enduring and terrible enmity. We must affirm as we remember that solidarity amongst peoples and nations is not only a moral necessity, but that it is fragile and that it must be asserted again and again as our shared aspiration. We must remember that peace will only ever be established, and can only be sustained, when it is based upon the principles of justice, dignity and mutual respect.

Let us then, on this day, re-dedicate ourselves to cause of peace, and the support of those institutions which promote and preserve the peace. 

Let us recall the great spirit that animated Europe in the days and months and years after Armistice Day, the spirit that gave birth to the League of Nations. 

Let us re-capture that rare spirit of mutual solidarity, that recognition of our common humanity, and let us once again resolve to build, together, a more just and equal world, free from the terrors of war.  

Síochán síoraí d'anamacha na marbh. Guímis beannachtaí ar a gclanna.

11 Nov 2018

11th November 2018 - A Global News Round-up

On this weeks programme John and Shane take a spin around the world looking at various stories which have been in the news over the least few weeks with a religious context/context. We have our regular reflection on this weeks Sunday gospel as well as a quick run through the saints of the week and other liturgical odds and ends. 

You can listen to the podcast of this weeks full podcast HERE.

News Round-up

We have a short news round up of various items on this weeks programme looking at some news items which may not necessarily have been covered on the main stream media:

Podcast of the news round-up excerpted from the main programme HERE.

Gospel - Mark 12:38-44

In the course of his teaching Jesus said to the crowds,
"Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes
and accept greetings in the marketplaces,
seats of honor in synagogues,
and places of honor at banquets.
They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext
recite lengthy prayers.
They will receive a very severe condemnation."
He sat down opposite the treasury
and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury.
Many rich people put in large sums.
A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.
Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them,
"Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more
than all the other contributors to the treasury.
For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had,
her whole livelihood."
Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire
Centre for Liturgy
English Dominicans
Sunday Reflections

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter week 4

Saints of the Week

November 12th - St Josaphat Kuncevyc
November 13th - Bl David Sutton
November 14th - St Lawrence O'Toole
November 15th - St Albert the Great
November 16th - St Margaret of Scotland also St Gertrude 

November 17th - St Elizabeth of Hungary

11th November 2018 - Remembrance: The Difficult Task of Legacy

The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.........and with it the conflagration that consumed a generation of Europe, collapsed three empires and redrew the map of the world as we knew it came to an end.

Popular opinion has, ever since its ending, remembered the First World War as a time of horrendous and futile misery and slaughter, as epitomising political and military leaders’ incompetence and callous disregard for human life. That popular judgement, which has helped turn common opinion against war in general, was correct, and we must not let the war mongers dismiss this instance of the wisdom of ordinary people.

Remembrance of the past does not dilute our responsibilities of today. A commentator on Irish radio made the observation that despite the 1918 Armistice, we are still fighting the battles of World War I just not on the battle fields of western Europe. And he was right - Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo, Greece v Macedonia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Western Sahara, Libya, Sudan, South Sudan............ The wars of the present moment are the inheritance of that global conflagration. Lines drawn on maps the keys to further conflicts.

But now more than ever we need political leaders who can remind us of the need for peace. In Europe we need to remind ourselves of the uniqueness of the European project, to try to inspire young people and keep in front of us the fact that the greatest benefit has been 70 years of peace. Forget the federalist dream; forget the political machinations; we so desperately need to consolidate what we have and work to finally ending the battles of World War I.

iBenedictines - Remembering and Praying

Armistice Day: remembering the fallen to understand their sacrifice
The end of the Great War should have meant the end of all war
Dangerous Remembrance 
Jesus, remember me
‘Take, Lord, and receive’: Nostalgia, truthful memory and the Great War
Ten lies we’re told to justify the slaughter of 20 million in the First World War

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead: Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved: and now we lie
In Flanders fields!
Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you, from failing hands, we throw
The torch: be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

To my daughter Betty
Thomas Kettle

IN wiser days, my darling rosebud, blown  
To beauty proud as was your mother's prime,  
In that desired, delayed, incredible time,  
You'll ask why I abandoned you, my own,  
And the dear heart that was your baby throne,          
To dice with death. And oh! they'll give you rhyme  
And reason: some will call the thing sublime,  
And some decry it in a knowing tone.  
So here, while the mad guns curse overhead,  
And tired men sigh with mud for couch and floor,   
Know that we fools, now with the foolish dead,  
Died not for flag, nor King, nor Emperor,—  
But for a dream, born in a herdsman's shed,  
And for the secret Scripture of the poor.

8 Nov 2018

The passing of a musical genius - Mícheál Ó'Súilleabháin (RIP)

It is with enormous sadness that the family of Professor Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin have announced his death after a prolonged illness. Mícheál (b December 1950, Clonmel County Tipperary) was one of Ireland's best-known musicians, composers and academics, born in Clonmel County Tipperary. Emeritus Professor of Music at the University of Limerick and founder/Director at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance which he created in 1994, Micheál Ó Súilleabháin also recorded a series of pioneering solo albums which re-positioned his chosen instrument, the piano, at the heart of Irish traditional music – while also revealing the intersections where classical and traditional music could co-exist.. His richly evocative collaborations with Mel Mercier, who succeeded him as CHAIR at UL, were a celebration of Ó Suilleabháin’s flinty sense of humour and love of musical exploration.

Ó Súilleabháin left a rich legacy through his own music, as well as the Academy he founded which attracted students from over 50 countries who enrolled on undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Music Therapy, Contemporary Dance Performance, Irish Traditional Dance Performance, Community Music, Festive Arts, Irish Traditional Music Performance, Classical String Performance, Ethnomusicology and others.He was hugely instrumental in the relocation of the Irish Chamber Orchestra from Dublin to its current home at the University of Limerick.   Awards included Honorary Doctorates of Music from University College Cork, (2005)  and The Royal conservatoire of Scotland (2017), Ollamh na hÉigse (Inaugural award by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann in 2006); Honorary Alumnus Award (Boston College) and the O’Donnell Chair of Irish Studies from the University of Notre Dame (2012). He studied at University College Cork (B.Mus.1972, MA 1973) with the composers Aloys Fleischmann and Seán Ó Riada, and in Queens University Belfast (PhD 1987) with the ethnomusicologists John Blacking and John Baily.

He produced a series of CD recordings in America, the UK, and Ireland on the traditional music of the Shetland Islands, Donegal, Cape Breton Island and on Irish traditional musicians in the USA and in England. 

He is survived by his wife Professor Helen Phelan and their son Luke; sons Eoin and Mícheál (Moley), and their mother Dr Nóirín Ní Riain, and by his brother John.

Pope's Prayer Intentions November 2018

Peace. These are five letters that some people use as if it were the most normal thing in the world, while others haven't experienced peace in years. There are many places in the world where peace doesn't exist: for thousands of people who suffer its absence, it’s only a dream. Rather than think about those five letters, let's think about what they mean. Let us pray and work to obtain true peace.
"We all want peace. It is desired above all by those who suffer its absence.Let us remember that Jesus also lived in times of violence. He taught us that true peace is in the human heart.We can speak with splendid words, but if there is no peace in our heart, there will be no peace in the world.Let us practice this peace in small things, letting dialogue guide our personal and social relationships.With zero violence and 100 percent tenderness, let us build the evangelical peace that excludes no one, but rather includes everyone, especially young people and children.Let us pray together that the language of love and dialogue may always prevail over the language of conflict."

3 Nov 2018

November 4th 2018 - Death, Dying and Grief - November the month to remember our dead and reflect on our deaths

On this weeks programme, we reflect on death, grief and the reality of the final journey that awaits us all. We have our regular reflection on this weeks Sunday gospel as well as the saints of the weeks and other odds and ends. 

You can listen to the podcast of the programme HERE.

Death, Dying and Grief - Remembering our dead and reflecting on our deaths

We praise You, Lord, for Sister Death,
from whom no-one living can escape….
Blessed are those that she finds doing Your Will.
No second death can do them harm.
 - St. Francis of Assisi,
“Canticle of the Sun”

In paradisum deducant te Angeli; in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres, et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Ierusalem.  Chorus angelorum te suscipiat, et cum Lazaro quondam paupere æternam habeas requiem.  

May angels lead you into paradise; upon your arrival, may the martyrs receive you and lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem.  May the ranks of angels receive you, and with Lazarus, the poor man, may you have eternal rest.

In the Roman Catholic tradition November is the month of the Holy Soul's where we pray for those who have left this mortal world but may not enjoy full the vision of God. November can be a hard month for many people as we recall the memory of our beloved dead - for the dead can drive you hard. But with the darkening of days and the drawing in of nights it seems to be an appropriate time to reflect and pray for our dead as the year and seasons move towards the death of winter. It is the time of year when we can reflect on our encounters with Sister Death and ultimately an encounter which we will all have.

Sister Death is the shadow at our elbow, the constant friend at our door, our faithful companion throughout the journey of life who may at any time say come, your time is complete. Irish folklore has many comments and reminders about it with sayings like "there are no pockets in a shroud" to "there is no trailer after a hearse", or "it doesn't matter how much land you have, you will still end up in a plot 6 X 3".

St Francis of Assisi reminds us that “Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that have received--only what you have given.

But coping with death and grief is difficult and the gift of rememberance can ease the pain although for some it can also renew that pain like reopening an old wound.  It is fair to say that grief never leaves us - we only get better at carrying it with us, for the dead remain dead. When you have lost someone, when it feels like a person has been ripped away from you, when you very heart bleeds at the loss, no matter how long has passed the heart can still pain - a smell, a noise, a memory, a favourite song or something of theirs which you happen across can be the trigger to that moment of renewed  pain. Especially for families where this November will be their first with that missing person we need to be gentle with them and with ourselves and remind ourselves that there was a logic to the Victorian tradition of observing a period of mourning; to allow people to become accustomed to carrying that pain in their lives.

But death is not the end, for "death where is thy victory! where is thy sting!" We celebrate and remember because as Christians we say life has changed not ended, in Christ's victory we have our hope! 

As we pray this November, let the words of In paradisum be our heart prayer for our dead, balm to the soul for those who have gone before us .
May angels lead you into paradise; upon your arrival, may the martyrs receive you and lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem.  May the ranks of angels receive you, and with Lazarus, the poor man, may you have eternal rest.
Over at iBenedictines, Digitalnun wrote a wonderful reflection for All Souls in 2012:
Catholicism can be an uncomfortable religion to live by, but it is a wonderful religion in which to die. As death draws closer we are surrounded by prayer, our bodies are anointed and we receive the Viaticum to help us on our way. At the moment of death a singularly beautiful prayer is prayed, and after death our bodies are accorded the simple rituals I described in an earlier post. But that is not the end of of the matter. The Church goes on praying for us, perseveringly. November, in particular, is a month when we pray for the dead with special earnestness. Today, on the feast of All Souls, everyone will join in praying for all the faithful departed — not just the people known to us, but those unknown, those who have no-one else to pray for them. The feast of All Souls thus unites the living and the dead. 
Last year I summed it up by saying 
"Instead of pushing the dead out of sight or surrounding them with euphemisms, we state the facts baldly and pray for the dead as we pray for ourselves, asking God to remove every trace of sin from those not yet ready for the blessedness of heaven. We believe that our prayers can help those who have died and are undergoing the final purification of purgatory, when the soul is prepared for the vision of God. To pray for the dead is thus a work of charity, a way of helping those who cannot help themselves."

"The souls of the just are in the hand of God and no torment shall touch them. They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction. But they are in peace. 
For if before men, indeed, they be punished, yet is their hope full of immortality; chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself. As gold in the furnace, he proved them, and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself. In the time of their visitation they shall shine, and shall dart about as sparks through stubble; they shall judge nations and rule over peoples, and the Lord shall be their King forever.
Those who trust in him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with him in love: because grace and mercy are with his holy ones, and his care is with his elect."
-- From the Book of Wisdom

And death shall have no dominion

Dead man naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon; 
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot; 
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again; 
Though lovers be lost love shall not; 
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily; 
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break; 
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through; 
Split all ends up they shan't crack; 
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores; 
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain; 
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies; 
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion. 

- Dylan Thomas

The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed
Pope Francis at All Souls’ Mass: Today is a day of hope
Pope: Don’t forget the souls in Purgatory!
All Souls Day and the Shock of Death
What is All Souls’ Day and how is it celebrated around the world?
Pray St. Gertrude the Great’s powerful prayer for the Holy Souls in Purgatory
5 Prayers for the dead (that you can take to the cemetery)

Memento Mori

Focusing on your death may seem morbid, unhealthy, disturbing, and perhaps even diabolical. And in some cases it can become so. Death in itself is an evil. Saint Augustine wrote that death is “the very violence with which body and soul are wrenched asunder.” But Jesus has changed the nature of death for those who believe. Before becoming pope, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger once wrote: “The sting of death is extinguished in Christ.”

A long-standing Christian tradition recognizes the powerful spiritual value in remembering one’s death in order to live well. The Rule of Saint Benedict, written in the 6th century, includes the imperative to “keep death daily before one’s eyes.” As the Catechism points out, both Scripture and the teachings of the Church remind us of “the responsibility incumbent upon man to make use of his freedom in view of his eternal destiny” (1036, emphasis mine).

The practice of remembering that you will die helps you to keep in mind that your life will end, and that it has a goal: heaven.

Visual reminders — often called memento mori, the Latin phrase for “Remember that you will die” — are one way we can keep our impending death in mind. Saints Jerome, Aloysius, and Mary Magdalene, among others, are often depicted in classic paintings with skulls. Saint Francis of Assisi once signed a blessing to Brother Leo with the tau cross and a small drawing of a skull. Pope Alexander VII commissioned Italian artist Bernini to make a coffin that he kept in his bedroom along with a marble skull for his desk to remind him of the brevity of life. Blessed James Alberione, the founder of the Daughters of Saint Paul, also kept a skull on his desk.

Atlas Obscura - Memento Mori
Memento mori - How religious orders remember death
Young Nun, Former Atheist Says: “Remember Your Death”

You can listen to the reflection in part 2 excerpted from the main programme podcast HERE.

Gospel - Mark 12:28-34

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,"Which is the first of all the commandments?" Jesus replied, "The first is this:Hear, O Israel!The Lord our God is Lord alone!You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,with all your soul, with all your mind,and with all your strength.The second is this:You shall love your neighbor as yourself.There is no other commandment greater than these." The scribe said to him, "Well said, teacher.You are right in saying,'He is One and there is no other than he.'And 'to love him with all your heart,with all your understanding,with all your strength,and to love your neighbor as yourself'is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,he said to him,"You are not far from the kingdom of God." 
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Reflections on this weeks gospel:

English Dominicans
Sunday Reflections
Centre for Liturgy

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter week 3

Saints of the Week
November 5th - St Martin de Porres
November 6th - All the Saints of Ireland
November 7th - St Willibrord
November 8th - Bl John Duns Scotus
November 9th - Dedication of St John on the Lateran
November 10th - St Leo the Great

31 Oct 2018

November 1st - All Saints of God - Pray for us!

"The glorious company of the apostles praises you, the noble fellowship of the prophets praises you, the white robed army of martyrs praises you, all the saints together sing your glory, O Holy Trinity, One God"  
- Magnificat Antiphon I Vespers

On November 1st the Church celebrates all the saints: canonized or beatified, and the multitude of those who are in heaven enjoying the beatific vision that are only known to God. During the early centuries the Saints venerated by the Church were all martyrs. Later on the Popes set November 1 as the day for commemorating all the Saints. We all have this "universal call to holiness." What must we to do in order to join the company of the saints in heaven? We "must follow in His footsteps and conform [our]selves to His image seeking the will of the Father in all things. [We] must devote [our]selves with all [our] being to the glory of God and the service of [our] neighbor. In this way, the holiness of the People of God will grow into an abundant harvest of good, as is admirably shown by the life of so many saints in Church history" (Lumen Gentium, 40).

Mass readings for today HERE.

Pope Benedict XVI reflecting on the feast day (01 Nov 2011):

"The Solemnity of All Saints is a good occasion to raise our eyes from temporal matters, which are marked by time, to the dimension of God, the dimension of eternity and sanctity",...... "Today's liturgy reminds us that sanctity is the primary vocation of all the baptised. In fact Christ, Who with the Father and the Holy Spirit is alone holy, loved the Church as His bride and gave Himself for her so as to sanctify her. For this reason, all members of the People of God are called to become saints. ... We are, then, invited to look to the Church not only in her temporal and human guise, which is tainted by fragility, but as Christ wished her to be: a 'communion of saints'. ... Today we venerate this innumerable community of All Saints who, by their different lives, show us the different ways to sanctity, sharing the single common denominator of following Christ and conforming themselves to Him, which is the final goal of our human existence".

H/t Blue Eyed Ennis for image

All Saints’ Day is a time to rejoice in all who through the ages have faithfully served the Lord. The day reminds us that we are part of one continuing, living communion of saints. It is a time to claim our kinship with the “glorious company of apostles … the noble fellowship of prophets … the white-robed army of martyrs” (Te Deum). It is a time to express our gratitude for all who in ages of darkness kept the faith, for those who have take the gospel to the ends of the earth, for prophetic voices who have called the church to be faithful in life and service, for all who have witnessed to God’s justice and peace in every nation. 

To rejoice with all the faithful of every generation expands our awareness of a great company of witnesses above and around us like a cloud (Hebrews 12:1). It lifts us out of a preoccupation with our own immediate situation and the discouragements of the present. In the knowledge that others have persevered, we are encouraged to endure against all odds (Hebrews 12:1-2). Reminded that God was with the faithful of the past, we are reassured that God is with us today, moving us and all creation toward God’s end in time. 
- Presbyterian Companion to the Book of Common Worship

A Sonnet for All Saints Day

Though Satan breaks our dark glass into shards
Each shard still shines with Christ’s reflected light,
It glances from the eyes, kindles the words
Of all his unknown saints. The dark is bright
With quiet lives and steady lights undimmed,
The witness of the ones we shunned and shamed.
Plain in our sight and far beyond our seeing
He weaves them with us in the web of being
They stand beside us even as we grieve,
The lone and left behind whom no one claimed,
Unnumbered multitudes, he lifts above
The shadow of the gibbet and the grave,
To triumph where all saints are known and named;
The gathered glories of His wounded love.