Monthly Archives: August 2017
Today is the anniversary of the death of Father Willie Doyle. He was serving as a chaplain in the First World War.
I wonder is there a happier man in France than I am. Just now Jesus is giving me great joy in tribulation, though conditions of living are about as uncomfortable as even St. Teresa could wish — perpetual rain, oceans of mud, damp, cold and a plague of rats. Yet I feel that all this is a preparation for the future and that God is labouring in my soul for ends I do not clearly see as yet. Sometimes I kneel down with outstretched arms and pray God, if it is a part of His divine plan, to rain down fresh privations and sufferings. But I stopped when the mud wall of my little hut fell in upon me — that was too much of a good joke!
The third part of the secret revealed at the Cova da Iria-Fatima, on 13 July 1917.
After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!’…
This year, 2017, is the 100th anniversary year of the apparitions at Fátima, Portugal. As I mentioned in an earlier post it is also the anniversary year of other events of importance to the Catholic Church and thus to the world. On the 21st August there will be an eclipse over North America on the same day as the feast of Our Lady of Knock. The apparition at Knock was unusual because it was silent. Our Lady usually has specific messages that she wishes to convey to the witnesses. The silence of the Knock apparition and its subject matter point to the beginning of Revelation (a.k.a. The Apocalypse Of Saint John) Chapter 8:
And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven, as it were for half an hour. And I saw seven angels standing in the presence of God; and there were given to them seven trumpets.
The altar in the Knock apparition and in this part of Revelation can be related to the open-air Altar of Burnt Offerings of Moses’ tabernacle and the two Temples of Jerusalem. This altar was used for the sacrifices of Yom Kippur – the Jewish Day of Atonement. The difference here is that in the Knock apparition and in Revelation the sacrificed lamb was slain but yet lives (a reference to the resurrected Christ) – “a Lamb standing as it were slain”. This year, Yom Kippur falls on the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel (and also Sts. Gabriel and Raphael in the Novus Ordo calendar). There is a forty day period preceding this feast called St. Michael’s Lent and, as with Lent itself, it is a period of preparation marked by fasting, increased prayer, and so on. St. Michael’s Lent traditionally starts on the Feast of the Assumption (tomorrow) but this gives more than forty days. When does the fortieth day before the Feast of St. Michael actually fall? On the day of the American eclipse and the anniversary of the Knock apparition. By the way, the opening of the sixth seal in Revelation is accompanied by an eclipse:
And I saw, when he had opened the sixth seal, and behold there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair: and the whole moon became as blood: And the stars from heaven fell upon the earth, as the fig tree casteth its green figs when it is shaken by a great wind: And the heaven departed as a book folded up: and every mountain, and the islands were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the princes, and tribunes, and the rich, and the strong, and every bondman, and every freeman, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of mountains:
And they say to the mountains and the rocks: Fall upon us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth upon the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of their wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand?
What does all this add up to? It looks like we, especially those in the U.S., are being called to make a special effort to atone for our sins. Maybe we are being given a last chance before the flaming sword is brought down on us.
After these things, I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that they should not blow upon the earth, nor upon the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the sign of the living God; and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying: Hurt not the earth, nor the sea, nor the trees, till we sign the servants of our God in their foreheads.
This may only be a foreshadowing of the events prophesied in Revelation but does that matter? We are always called to repentance for our sins. Shouldn’t we wake up and make a special effort when the signs are looking ominous like this?
(All bible quotes are from Revelation, Douay-Rheims version.)
My brother has just alerted me to two more digitised image collections. The first is provided by the British Library – see this article for an introduction. The image above is from this collection. I have no idea what it says, I just liked the illumination. The second collection is part of the Polonsky Foundation Digitisation Project which aims to digitise the collections of the Oxford Bodleian Library and the Vatican’s Biblioteca Apostolica. The latter seems to be related to the Digital Vatican Library which I already have in my resource list (see menu above). See this article for information on the Polonsky collection. I will add the appropriate links to the “Other Resources” page on my menu above.
As I said in my previous post, I didn’t take enough photos on my recent trip to the UK. One reason is that it felt like a bit of a pilgrimage. I was looking forward to attending my first Masses in the UK, the land of my forefathers. Now, Wales is a real backwater as far as the Catholic Church goes so I was unsurprised to find my local church in a rather shabby, but not unloved, state. Lancashire, however, is known to be a strongly Catholic county of England and it was surprisingly hard to find the church I was looking for in Preston because everywhere we turned there seemed to be a steeple. My mother and I thought we had found the right one but it was eerily quiet. When we were wandering around it we asked a couple of guys where St. Walburge’s was and they seemed quite amused at our inability to find what is reputedly the third tallest steeple in the UK. When we followed their directions and saw the steeple in the distance my mum claimed that it looked smaller than the one we had just been wandering around. I was reminded of this sketch from Father Ted. Sorry mum. 🙂 I also visited a church in Blackburn dedicated to St. Alban. The interiors of both these churches were lovely, and the Masses (one Novus Ordo, one traditional Latin) were beautiful. Here are some of the few photos I took:
There were many more photos I could have taken. I didn’t get a good shot of the rose window at St. Walburge’s for example. However, I think these kinds of places are best seen in person so that one can absorb the atmosphere and let a little of the sanctity seep into one’s soul.
Here are a few titbits of information that I picked up on my first visit to St. Walburge’s. The hammer beams of the roof creak like the timbers of a ship in high winds. The steeple rests on bales of cotton so that it can move with the wind without cracking. The church was originally going to be dedicated to a different saint but somebody associated with the project was healed by the oil streaming from St. Walburge’s tomb. The choir loft was originally situated so far from the organ loft that it made it very difficult for the choir to sing in time with the organ. The windows behind the main altar were originally set into a flat wall. This wall was subsequently turned into the curved apse you can see in the photos. The windows were put back in the wrong order so that the inscription relating to the donors no longer makes any sense.
I hope I’ve tempted you to take a closer look at the beautiful churches of Lancashire (I’m looking at you Simon! 😉 ).
See here for tours and Mass times at St. Walburge’s.
I just went back to the UK for a week to see my folks. First I visited my dad and his wife in North Wales where I grew up. Then I visited my mum in Lancashire, where she grew up. I didn’t take enough photos but I just had to get my camera out for my dad’s amazing dahlias. There were only a few but one of them was absolutely huge. Dad says they all end up like that. The rest of the flowers in his lovely little gardens had gone over, and the next flush was yet to appear so I timed the visit a little badly from that point of view. So here without further ado are a few photos of my dad’s dahlias: