Article 23 – Marriage! Virginity a higher calling
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God provides the Grace.

The 2014 Synod on the Family was a very exciting event which has an important bearing on marriage as seen through the eyes of the Church’s magisterium. Several people whom I was in contact with during the synod were very worried about the possible outcomes of the synod, given that, certain seemingly heretical positions were in the ascendency and seemed to have the backing of a large number of bishops and even cardinals. My general response to these people was, that God always provides us with sufficient grace to become holy, that is, to become saints. If we do not become saints by the time our earthly course is run, we most certainly cannot blame God, we cannot blame the Pope, we cannot blame bad bishops, bad parents or bad governments.Read the rest

Be not troubled. Be firm in your faith.
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In these troubled times for the Catholic Church, when many are confused and there is contradiction amongst cardinals, bishops, priests, religious and laity, we do well to listen to those great Doctors of the Church who have gone before us.  I have mentioned my practice of following the liturgical cycle with Dom Propser Gueranger’s ‘The Liturgical Year’.  Yesterday was the feast of St John Chrysostom and Dom Gueranger gives the address that St John Chrusostom gave to the faithful under his care just before his final exile and death. He tells them not to be troubled at what is happening and then he asks of them a favour. … Read the rest

Article 22 – Marriage! Nothing new under the Sun
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There is nothing new under the Sun.

A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever.

The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises.

The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns.

All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again.

All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.Read the rest

Article 21 – Marriage! The Discarding of Beauty
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Beauty Discarded.

Imagine, if you will, that you are walking by your nearest town hall. You notice a skip outside the town hall and a wooden frame protruding from the skip. On closer inspection, you find that a masterpiece painted by the artist Rembrandt, which used to hang in the main reception area of the town hall, has been thrown out. In disbelief you enter the town hall to find that the masterpiece has been replaced by a modern art painting of some obscure and unknown artist (if you are a cynic you will imagine that the artist is related to the lord mayor).Read the rest

Article 20 – Marriage and Holiness
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True Devotions.

This series of articles began with a look at the Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage and its basis in Sacred Scripture. For the past month or so, in conjunction with a new Apostolate called ‘True Devotions’, we have been looking at the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and also at the life of St Thérèse and of her family. I would like to talk a little more about family life and prayer before returning to Catholic teaching on marriage this time looking at it from the perspective of the Church’s magisterium.

The Soul of the Apostolate

Let me begin by recommending another good Catholic book, which is amongst the classics, and applying some of the lessons therein to family life and prayer.Read the rest

Article 19 – Marriage! The Martin Family
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The Martin Family.

In the last article I introduced my newly found devotion to St Thérèse of Lisieux, and one comment I received was that whilst it was a good article, it did not say much about family life and prayer. I responded that, patience is a virtue, and that the article was going to be written in two parts the second of which would look at the family life of the Martins. Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin had nine children, seven girls and two boys. The two boys, Joseph Louis and Joseph Jean Baptiste died within their first year of life.Read the rest

Article – 18 Marriage! – St Thérèse
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Falling in Love with St Thérèse.

Today I have a confession to make. In July I made my annual five day silent Ignatian retreat with the monks of St Joseph’s Abbey from Flavigny in France. The retreat was held in the Ards Friary retreat centre in north Donegal and, as I told my wife on my return, I met a beautiful woman there and I fell in love with her. No it wasn’t Our Lady! It was St Thérèse of the child Jesus and the Holy Face.

Many years ago I had begun to read St Thérèse’s autobiography ‘Story of a Soul’ but I didn’t get past the first two chapters as the book didn’t ‘do’ anything for me.Read the rest

Come away and rest awhile!
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Last week, I had the great grace of making a private retreat in St Joseph de Claival Abbey in France where my spiritual director, a benedictine monk, resides.  I had the good fortune to attend Latin Mass every day and to sit in the choir loft for many of the daily Divine offices of the Community which are sung in Latin in the Traditional Gregorian chant.

St Joseph Abbey

I arrived home to a family ravaged by a severe bout of winter flu my great advantage being that , because I was away, I have so far managed to escape this dreaded dose.  Anyway the family are recovering well thank God, and I am now trying to catch up with posting the Marriage Articles that I write for the Catholic Voice on the site.… Read the rest

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