Monday, 31 March 2008

Bishop Michael Campbell

Here is a photo of the new Coadjutor Bishop of Lancaster, who was ordained earlier today in Lancaster Cathedral. How pleasing to see him wearing the episcopal dalmatic. Good fashion is spreading fast!

The Annunciation

As 25 March was Easter Tuesday, the Solemnity of the Annunciation of Our Lord to the Blessed Virgin Mary has been transferred to today - the first day following the Easter Octave.

The angel Gabriel from heaven came,
His wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame;
'All hail', said he, 'thou lowly maiden Mary,
Most highly favoured lady'.

'For know a blessed mother thou shalt be,
All generations laud and honour thee,
Thy Son shall be Emmanuel, by seers foretold;
Most highly favoured lady.

Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head,
'To me be as it pleaseth God', she said,
'My soul shall laud and magnify his holy name':
Most highly favoured lady.

Of her, Emmanuel the Christ was born
In Bethlehem, all on a Christmas morn,
And Christian folk throughout the world will ever say
'Most highly favoured lady'.

As tomorrow is 1 April, I shall be starting a new mini series entitled 'Welcome Spring'. I shall 'lighten up' the blog a little for a few weeks - though shall continue with a more devotional posting on Sundays.

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Alleluia! Sing to Jesus - 8

Today is Low Sunday - the Octave Day of Easter. Our focus today is on Thomas meeting the Risen Lord.

When Thomas afterwards had heard
That Jesus had fulfilled his word,
He doubted if it were the Lord.

'Thomas, behold my side,' saith he,
'My hands, my feet, my body see;
'And doubt not, but believe in me.'

No longer Thomas then denied;
He saw the feet, the hands, the side;
'Thou art my Lord and God,' he cried.

Blessed are they that have not seen,
And yet whose faith hath constant been,
In life eternal they shall reign.

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

More postings in this mini-series will follow every Sunday up to and including the Solemnity of Corpus Christi on 25 May. Weekday posts will follow various different themes.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Alleluia! Sing to Jesus - 7

Good Christian men, rejoice and sing!
Now is the triumph of our King!
To all the world glad news we bring:
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

The Lord of Life is risen for ay;
Bring flowers of song to strew his way;
Let all the world rejoice and say:
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Praise we in songs of victory
That Love, that Life which cannot die,
And sing with hearts uplifted high:
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Your name we bless, O risen Lord,
And sing today with one accord
The life laid down, the life restored:
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Friday, 28 March 2008

Alleluia! Sing to Jesus - 6

Jesus lives! thy terrors now
Can, O Death, no more appal us;
Jesus lives! by this we know
Thou, O grave, canst not enthral us.

Jesus lives! henceforth is death
But the gate of life immortal;
This shall calm our trembling breath,
When we pass its gloomy portal.

Jesus lives! for us he died;
Then, alone to Jesus living,
Pure in heart may we abide,
Glory to our Saviour giving,

Jesus lives! our hearts know well
Nought from us his love shall sever;
Life, nor death, nor powers of hell
Tear us from his keeping ever.

Jesus lives! to him the throne
Over all the world is given;
May we go where he is gone,
Rest and reign with him in heaven.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Alleluia! Sing to Jesus - 5

Battle is o'er, hells armies flee:
Raise we the cry of victory
With abounding joy resounding,
Alleluia! Alleluia!

Christ who endured the shameful tree,
O'er death triumphant welcome we,
Our adoring praise outpouring,
Alleluia! Alleluia!

On the third morn from death rose he,
Clothed with what light in heav'n shall be,
Our unswerving faith deserving,
Alleluia! Alleluia!

Hell's gloomy gates yield up their key,
Paradise door thrown wide we see;
Never-tiring be our choiring,
Alleluia! Alleluia!

Lord, by the stripes men laid on thee,
Grant us to live from death set free,
This our greeting still repeating,
Alleluia! Alleluia!

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Alleluia! Sing to Jesus - 4

Christ the Lord is risen again!
Christ has broken every chain!
Hark, the angels shout for joy,
Singing evermore on high,

He who gave for us his life,
Who for us endured the strife,
Is our Paschal Lamb today!
We too sing for joy, and say

He who bore all pain and loss
Comfortless upon the cross,
Lives in glory now on high,
Pleads for us, and hears our cry.

He whose path no records tell,
Who descended into hell;
Who the strong man armed hath bound,
Now in highest heaven is crowned.

Now he bids us tell abroad
How the lost may be restored,
How the penitent forgiven,
How we too may enter heaven.

Thou, our Paschal Lamb indeed,
Christ, today thy people feed;
Take our sins and guilt away,
That we all may sing for ay.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Alleluia! Sing to Jesus - 3

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Ye sons and daughters of the King,
Whom heavenly hosts in glory sing,
Today the grave has lost its sting.

On that first morning of the week,
Before the day began to break,
The Marys went their Lord to seek.

An angel bade their sorrow flee,
For thus he spake unto the three:
'Your Lord is gone to Galilee.'

That night the Apostles met in fear,
Amidst them came their Lord most dear,
And said: 'Peace be unto you here!'

On this most holy day of days,
To God, your hearts and voices raise
In laud, and jubilee, and praise.

And we with Holy Church unite,
As evermore is just and right,
In glory to the King of Light.

Monday, 24 March 2008

Alleluia! Sing to Jesus - 2

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

The strife is o'er, the battle done;
Now is the Victor's triumph won;
O let the song of praise be sung:

Death's mightiest powers have done their worst,
And Jesus hath his foes dispersed;
Let shouts of praise and joy outburst:

On the third morn he rose again
Glorious in majesty to reign;
O let us swell the joyful strain:

He brake the age-bound chains of hell:
The bars from heaven's high portals fell;
Let hymns of praise his triumph tell:

Lord, by the stripes which wounded thee
From death's dread sting thy servants free,
That they may live, and sing to thee:

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Alleluia! Sing to Jesus - 1

The days of mourning are over, and today we celebrate the greatest event in history - the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. But Jesus didn't just rise from the dead two thousand years ago - he is alive today and we share in his Risen Life. Once more our liturgy resounds with that great paean of praise - Alleluia!

Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once, upon the cross, Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss. Alleluia!

Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
Unto Christ, our heavenly King, Alleluia!
Who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
Sinners to redeem and save. Alleluia!

But the pains that he endured, Alleluia!
Our salvation have procured; Alleluia!
Now above the sky he's King, Alleluia!
Where the angels ever sing. Alleluia!

Happy Easter!

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Blessing of Easter Food

The Lenten Fast is almost over and the Easter Feast is about to begin - and at 6.00 pm on Holy Saturday a Polish family came to St Thomas Aquinas Ham to have their Easter food baskets blessed.

This is a lovely custom, and I was delighted to preside at our little celebration. Chocolate was very evident in these two baskets - but there was also bread. The children insisted that I had an egg from each of their baskets - how kind, and I look forward to eating the chocolate tomorrow.

It looks as though I am in for quite a feast myself! I am due to sing the Gospel at the Solemn Mass at Westminster Cathedral in the morning, and this afternoon received an invitation to join the clergy for lunch - with the Cardinal as guest of honour. I had better publish my blog for Easter Sunday before lunch!

The tabernacle at Ham is open and empty - but it will soon be home to the Risen Lord whom we long to meet at the First Mass of Easter later tonight.

The Fourteenth Station - Jesus is Laid in the Tomb

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

When Pilate learned from the centurion that Jesus was dead, he granted the body to Joseph. And he bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud, and laid him in a tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid.

While my body here decays,
May my soul your goodness praise,
Safe in paradise with you.

Friday, 21 March 2008

The Thirteenth Station - Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.. The soldiers came to Jesus and when they saw he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. After this Joseph of Arimathea... asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus.

Let me mingle tears with thee
Mourning him who mourned for me,
All the days that I may live.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

The Twelfth Station - Jesus Dies on the Cross

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, 'Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachtani?'... And one ran and, filling a sponge full of vinegar, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink... And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breather his last... And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that he thus breathed his last, he said, 'Truly this man was the Son of God.'

For the sins of his own nation
She saw him hang in desolation
Till his spirit forth he sent.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

The Eleventh Station - Jesus is Nailed to the Cross

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

It was the third hour, when they crucified him. And the inscription of the charge against him read, 'The King of the Jews'. And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left.

Holy Mother, pierce me through;
in my heart each wound renew
Of my Saviour crucified.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

The Tenth Station - Jesus is Stripped of his Garments

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

They divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take.

Make me feel as you have felt,
Make my soul to glow and melt
with the love of Christ my Lord.

Monday, 17 March 2008

The Ninth Station - Jesus Falls for the Third Time

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Come to me, all you who labour, and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

O my Mother, fount of love,
Touch my spirit from above;
Make my heart with yours accord.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

The Eighth Station - Jesus Comforts the Women of Jerusalem

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because be your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

And there followed him a great multitude of the people, and of women who bewailed and lamented him. But Jesus turning to them said, 'Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.'

Let me share with you his pain
who for all my sins was slain
who for me in torment died.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

The Seventh Station - Jesus Falls for the Second Time

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Jesus said to them, 'My soul is very sorrowful, even to death...' And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, this hour might pass from him.

Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled
She beheld her tender Child
All with bloody scourges rent.

Friday, 14 March 2008

The Sixth Station - Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

He had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty to attract us. He was despised and rejected by men as one for whom men hide their faces.

Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain,
In that Mother's pain untold?

Thursday, 13 March 2008

The Fifth Station - Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus Carry his Cross

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

And they compelled a passer-by, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.

Is there any who would not weep,
Whelmed in miseries so deep,
Christ's dear Mother to behold?

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

The Fourth Station - Jesus Meets his Mother

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Simeon said to Mary, "This child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against and a sword will pierce through your own soul also."

Christ above in torment hangs,
She beneath beholds the pangs
of her dying glorious Son.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

The Third Station - Jesus Falls for the First Time

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies it bears much fruit.

Oh, how sad and sore distressed
Was that Mother highly blest
Of the sole-begotten one!

Monday, 10 March 2008

The Second Station - Jesus Takes up his Cross

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Jesus went out, bearing his cross, to the place called 'Place of the Skull', which is called in Hebrew Golgotha.

Through her heart, his sorrow sharing,
All his bitter anguish bearing,
Now at length the word had passed.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

The First Station - Jesus is Condemned to Death

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas; and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

At the cross her station keeping
Stood the mournful Mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Psalter: Week 4 - Saturday

For this final day of the Four Week Psalter we turn to the first part of Psalm 45.

My heart overflows with noble words.
To the king I must speak the song I have made;
my tongue as nimble as the pen of a scribe.

You are the fairest of the children of men
and graciousness is poured upon your lips:
because God has blessed you for evermore.

O mighty one, gird your sword upon your thigh;
in splendour and state, ride on in triumph
for the cause of truth and goodness and right.

Take aim with your bow in your dread right hand.
Your arrows are sharp: peoples fall beneath you.
The foes of the king fall down and lose heart.

Your throne, O God, shall endure for ever.
A sceptre of justice is the sceptre of your kingdom.
Your love is for justice; your hatred for evil.

Therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness above other kings:
your robes are fragrant with aloes and myrrh.

From the ivory palace you are greeted with music.
The daughters of kings are among your loved ones.
On your right stands the queen in gold of Ophir.

Tomorrow sees the start of a new mini-series. For the final two weeks of Lent we shall have Stations of the Cross.

Friday, 7 March 2008

Psalter: Week 4 - Friday

Today we turn to Psalm 132.

How good and how pleasant it is,
when brothers live in unity!

It is like precious oil upon the head
running down upon the beard,
running down upon Aaron's beard
upon the collar of his robes.

It is like the dew of Hermon which falls
on the heights of Sion.
For there the Lord gives his blessing,
life for ever.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Psalter: Week 4 - Thursday

Today is the turn of Psalm 147.

Praise the Lord for he is good;
sing to the Lord for he is loving:
to him our praise is due.

The Lord builds up Jerusalem
and brings back Israel's exiles,
he heals the broken-hearted,
he binds up all their wounds.
He fixes the number of the stars;
he calls each one by its name.

Our Lord is great and almighty;
his wisdom can never be measured.
The Lord raises the lowly;
he humbles the wicked to the dust.
O sing to the Lord, giving thanks;
sing psalms to our God with the harp.

He covers the heavens with clouds;
he prepares the rain for the earth,
making mountains sprout with grass
and with plants to serve man's needs.
He provides the beasts with their food
and young ravens that call upon him.

His delight is not in horses
nor his pleasure in warriors' strength.
The Lord delights in those who revere him,
in those who wait for his love.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Psalter: Week 4 - Wednesday

Today we turn to Psalm 145.

My soul, give praise to the Lord;
I will praise the Lord all my days,
make music to my God while I live.

Put no trust in princes,
in mortal men in whom there is no help.
Take their breath, they return to clay
and their plans that day come to nothing.

He is happy who is helped by Jacob's God,
whose hope is in the Lord his God,
who alone made heaven and earth,
the seas and all they contain.

It is he who keeps faith for ever,
who is just to those who are oppressed.
It is he who gives bread to the hungry,
the Lord, who sets prisoners free,

the Lord who gives sight to the blind,
who raises up those who are bowed down,
the Lord, who protects the stranger
and upholds the widow and orphan.

It is the Lord who loves the just
but thwarts the path of the wicked.
The Lord will reign for ever,
Sion's God, from age to age.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Psalter: Week 4 - Tuesday

Today we turn to Psalm 143.

Blessed be the Lord, my rock
who trains my arms for battle,
who prepares my hands for war.

He is my love, my fortress;
he is my strongold, my saviour,
my shield, my place of refuge.
He brings people under my rule.

Lord, what is man that you care for him,
mortal man, that you keep him in mind;
man, who is merely a breath
whose life fades like a shadow?

Lower your heavens and come down;
touch the mountains; wreathe them in smoke.
Flash your lightenings; rout the foe,
shoot your arrows and put them to flight.

Reach down from heaven and save me;
draw me out from the mighty waters,
from the hands of alien foes
whose mouths are filled with lies,
whose hands are raised in perjury.

To you, O God, will I sing a new song;
I will play on the ten-stringed harp
to you who give kings their victory,
who set David your servant free.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Psalter: Week 4 - Monday

Today we have the first part of Psalm 136.

O give thanks to the Lord for he is good,
for his love endures for ever.
Give thanks to the God of gods,
for his love endures for ever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for his love endures for ever.

Who alone has wrought marvelous works,
for his love endures for ever;
whose wisdom it was made the skies,
for his love endures for ever;
who fixed the earth firmly on the seas,
for his love endures for ever.

It was he who made the great lights,
for his love endures for ever,
the sun to rule in the day,
for his love endures for ever,
the moon and the stars in the night,
for his love endures for ever.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Psalter: Week 4 - Sunday

On this Laetare Sunday, we look forward to Easter with Psalm 118.

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good,
for his love endures for ever.

Let the sons of Israel say:
'His love endures for ever.'
Let the sons of Aaron say:
'His love endures for ever.'
Let those who fear the Lord say:
'His love endures for ever.'

I called to the Lord in my distress;
he answered and freed me.
The Lord is at my side; I do not fear.
What can man do against me?
The Lord is at my side as my helper:
I shall look down on my foes.

It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in men:
it is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in princes.

The nations all encompassed me;
in the Lord's name I crushed them.
they compassed me, compassed me about;
in the Lord's name I crushed them.
They compassed me about like bees;
they blazed like a fire among thorns.
In the Lord's name I crushed them.

I was hard-pressed and was falling
but the Lord came to help me.
The Lord is my strength and my song;
he is my saviour.
There are shouts of joy and victory
in the tents of the just.

The Lord's right hand has triumphed;
his right hand raised me.
The Lord's right hand has triumphed;
I shall not die, I shall live
and recount his deeds.
I was punished, I was punished by the Lord,
but not doomed to die.

Open to me the gates of holiness:
I will enter and give thanks.
This is the Lord's own gate
where the just may enter.
I will thank you for you have answered
and you are my saviour.

The stone which the builders rejected
has become the corner stone.
This is the work of the Lord,
a marvel in our eyes.
This day was made by the Lord;
we rejoice and are glad.

O Lord, grant us salvation;
O Lord, grant success.
Blessed in the name of the Lord
is he who comes.
We bless you from the house of the Lord;
the Lord God is our light.

Go forward in procession with branches
even to the altar.
You are my God, I thank you.
My God, I praise you.

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good;
for his love endures for ever.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Psalter: Week 3 - Saturday

Today we have part of Psalm 34.

I will bless the Lord at all times,
his praise always on my lips;
in the Lord my soul shall make its boast.
the humble shall hear and be glad.

Glorify the Lord with me.
Together let us praise his name.
I sought the Lord and he answered me;
from all my terrors he set me free.

Look towards him and be radiant;
let your faces not be abashed.
This poor man called; the Lord hear him
and rescued him from all his distress.

The angel of the Lord is encamped
around those who revere him, to rescue them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
He is happy who seeks refuge in him.

Revere the Lord, you his saints.
They lack nothing, those who revere him.
Strong lions suffer want and go hungry
but those who seek the Lord lack no blessing.