Friday, 8 January 2010

A Wondrous Epiphany........ "The second four joys"

I'm always grateful that Epiphanytide lasts a whole week, an octave if you count its Vigil. It gives time for reflection on what we have seen and heard, and a fresh absorption of what we have learned. And this year as I have availed myself of those opportunities, it has given me time to spread these Epiphany posts over several days.

Aside from the central importance of the Mass itself, two things have been paramount, namely the Holy Father's preaching and the daily Office of Readings. I've been much occupied with the concepts of giving, receiving and travelling spiritually in search of our Infant King. All my joys this Epiphany spring from these things.

My fifth joy: Unexpected gifts from my spiritual sisters in Birmingham UK

The minute the Holy Father's Mass was over, the postman arrived bearing an armful of treasures, although he did not know it.

From the 'sister' who was instrumental in beginning the Spiritual Mothers group at St. John Fisher parish came the following:
a letter in which she tells me that she has committed her three spiritual sisters to the love of the Infant Jesus and that through Advent she had found herself continually referring to the second Office reading for the first Friday of Advent. This is from Chapter 1 of St Anselm's Proslogion -'A Rousing of the Mind to the Contemplation of God'. (I too recommend the reading as being well worth tracking down if you do not own a modern Breviary.);
a card of white and gold embossed with the figures of the shepherds and the Magi with the star above them;
a set of prayer booklets published by THE PRAYER TRUST. These were entitled: 'An Advent Calendar of Prayers'; 'A Prayer for You this Christmas'; 'The Twelve Days of Christmas'; 'Prayer for All Seasons'; 'Thinking of You'; 'A Gift for You'; and 'Thank You' . These titles are examples of many other prayer resources produced by the Trust. They are beautifully produced in colour with each page of prayers adorned by appropriate photographs. All resources can be obtained via the Trust's website here The Trust was founded by Fr Pat Swayles, a beloved priest friend of my Birmingham sisters and functions from the Church of Our Lady and St. Benedict, Wootton Wawen, Henley-in-Arden B95 6BQ PLEASE PRAY FOR FATHER PAT. Some time ago he suffered a terrible CAR CRASH and his recovery although steady is taking a long time. Please pray for his work too;

As if all this were not enough, my sister also sent me a single decade Rosary from Assisi, an ideal overnight Rosary to have wrapped round my fingers with its cross enfolded in my palm. If I wake at night a prayer is the first thing in my heart and on my lips. Some time ago, the Rosary I used to use for this purpost broke during a nightmare. Now I have the perfect replacement.

And from my other 'sister'? She is the one without the computer but is gifted with the talent of making indescribably exquisite greetings cards. Even if she buys a card, she will embellish if in some way, especially for its recipient. She never sends the same card twice and is in any case incapable of making the same card again, the reason being that she allows herself to be guided by the Holy Spirit in these acts of creation, and afterwards can never remember how they came to be. And so just before Epiphany noon I opened her card. She had beautified it still further by adding misnight blue and gold edged ribbon to the side of the card. On the front on a background of midnight blue were the illuminatd gold words:

From throne
to manger...
From God
to man...
From heaven
to our hearts.

Inside she had written out a special poem for me and had dedicated the card to my house chapel in memory of our Lord's visit there at the beginning of Advent. There was an accompanying letter in which she described how she had come to send me golden rose petals for Christmas. (More about these later.)
In a second packet lovingly protected with cotton wool were two sprigs of natural 'gold' in the shape of two pressed blooms of winter jasmine. For us this represents St. John the Evangelist because I chose it for him in my first book. Her choice meant a great deal to me, particularly since we missed him this year as his feast fell on a Sunday. It also reminded me that I had promised to post about why I chose the jasmine for him. I must do that soon.

Pope Benedict's Epiphany Angelus: My sixth joy.
Please see here for full text.

The Rosary from Lourdes on kto tv: My seventh joy.
The area round the Grotto was packed even though the weather was horrid. I've added this daily afternoon Rosary to my usual evening one in response to a prayer request from a dear priest friend of mine. Its intention is therefore for all priests who are sick or in distress or pain of any kind.
At the fifth Glorious mystery Mary was invoked under ten of her titles in the Litany. This determined me to post again asking for your support in a letter I propose to write to the Holy Father. Please see my post of January 4. I am praying for a good response before I post the letter and will appeal to you again in another post over the weekend.

International Retreat for Priests in Ars, Repeat video on kto: My eighth joy
After the Rosary, I noticed a ten minute video on the kto schedules for the Epiphany.. You can reach it by going to kto 'Programmes' via Google. Scroll to the programme entitled 'Reportage: Retraite Sacerdotale Internationale' and then click the left hand arrow buttonn in the right hand margin of the programmes list. Even if you do not understand French, this video will warm your heart and fill it with hope.

St Jean Vianney, pray for priests.
Our Lady, Mother and Queen of Clergy, pray for them and cast your protecting mantle over them.

Thanks be to God for His wonderful gift of Epiphany this year, and every year.

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