Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Friday, 13 December 2013


Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Holy Guardian Angels

"For he hath given his angels charge over thee; to keep thee in all thy ways.” - Psalm 90: 11

"No evil shall befall you, nor shall affliction come near your tent, for to His Angels God has given command about you, that they guard you in all your ways. Upon their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone" - Psalm 91: 10-12

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “From infancy to death human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession”(No. 336). St Basil asserted: “Beside each believer stands an angel protector and shepherd leading him to life. ”

The truth that each and every human soul has a Guardian Angel who protects us from spiritual and physical evil has also been shown throughout the Old Testament, and is made very clear in the New Testament.

It is written that the Lord Jesus is strengthened by an angel in the Garden of Gethsemane and that an angel delivered St Peter from prison in the Acts of the Apostles.

But Jesus makes the existence and function of guardian angels explicit when He says: "See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 18: 10).

In saying this, Jesus points out that all people, even little children, have a guardian angel and that the angels are in Heaven, always looking at the face of God throughout their mission on earth, which is to guide us and protect us throughout our pilgrimage to the house of our Father. As St Paul says: "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent to minister for them, who shall receive the inheritance of salvation?"(Hebrews 1: 14)

However, they guide us to Heaven only if we desire it. St Thomas Aquinas wrote that angels cannot act directly upon our will or intellect, although they can do so on our senses and imaginations – thus encouraging us to make the right decisions. In Heaven our guardian angels, though no longer needing to guide us to salvation, will continue to enlighten us.

It is important to pray to your guardian angel and become friends with your angel. Ask for your guardian angel's help when you're stuck in traffic, when you need a parking place, and when you need help with your computer or the Internet. Call upon them in times of temptation or weakness and they will assist, enlighten, and protect you.

The prayer to the guardian angels has been present in the Church since at least the beginning of the 12th century.

Guardian Angel Prayer:

Angel of God, my Guardian dear, to whom God's love commits me here, ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.

Guardian Angel Quotes:

"The servants of Christ are protected by invisible, rather than visible, beings. But if these guard you, they do so because they have been summoned by your prayer. "

~ St Ambrose

“Let us affectionately love His angels as counselors and defenders appointed by the Father and placed over us. They are faithful; they are prudent; they are powerful; Let us only follow them, let us remain close to them, and in the protection of the God of heaven let us abide.”

~ St Bernard of Clairvaux

"God's universal providence works through secondary causes . . . The world of pure spirits stretches between the Divine Nature and the world of human beings; because Divine Wisdom has ordained that the higher should look after the lower, Angels execute the Divine plan for human salvation: they are our Guardians, who free us when hindered and help to bring us home."

~ St Thomas Aquinas

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

St Thérèse of the Child Jesus

St Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face was buried in the Lisieux municipal cemetery on 4 October 1897. She was the first to be buried in the new plot her monastery had purchased in response to the city's new legislative directives prohibiting interment inside the cloister. In view of what took place after St Thérèse's death, it can now be said that the new directives were providential, since they enabled hundreds of thousands of pilgrims to visit her grave over a period of twenty-five years. Had St Thérèse been buried inside the cloister, this would never have been possible. Only in 1923 on the occasion of her beatification were her mortal remains transferred to the Carmelite chapel where they are kept to this day.

When people stand in the presence of the mortal remains of St Thérèse of Lisieux, or have some contact with her relics, as with petals from an unpetalled rose, God, who received through her humanity so many signs of love, is pleased in turn to manifest his love through her bodily remains.

From these poor signs, God's salvific power reveals and unfolds itself. It is enough to read the many volumes recounting favours and cures obtained through contact with St Thérèse's relics, as well as the abundant correspondence that arrives daily in Lisieux. 

We are indeed blessed at the Holy Grail retreat to be able to display numerous first class relics of St Thérèse at a dedicated shrine created for the purpose of veneration. Alongside her holy relics are those of beloved St Francis and St Clare of Assisi.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

St Michael the Archangel


Today is the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel (also the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, Uriel and Raphael, the Feast of the Archangels, or the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels).

Saint Michael is one of the principal angels; his name was the war-cry of the good angels in the battle fought in heaven against the enemy and his followers. Four times his name is recorded in Scripture:

(1) Daniel 10: 13 sqq., Gabriel says to Daniel, when he asks God to permit the Jews to return to Jerusalem: "The Angel [D.V. prince] of the kingdom of the Persians resisted me . . . and, behold Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me . . . and none is my helper in all these things, but Michael your prince."

(2) Daniel 12, the Angel speaking of the end of the world and the Antichrist says: "At that time shall Michael rise up, the great prince, who standeth for the children of thy people."

(3) In the Catholic Epistle of Saint Jude: "When Michael the Archangel, disputing with the devil, contended about the body of Moses", etc. Saint Jude alludes to an ancient Jewish tradition of a dispute between Michael and Satan over the body of Moses, an account of which is also found in the apocryphal book on the assumption of Moses (Origen, De Principiis III.2.2). Saint Michael concealed the tomb of Moses. Satan, however, by disclosing it, tried to seduce the Jewish people to the sin of hero-worship. Saint Michael also guards the body of Eve, according to the "Revelation of Moses" ("Apocryphal Gospels", etc, ed. A. Walker, Edinburgh, p. 647).

(4) Apocalypse 12: 7, "And there was a great battle in heaven, Michael and his angels fought with the dragon." Saint John speaks of the great conflict at the end of time, which reflects also the battle in heaven at the beginning of time. According to the Fathers there is often a question of Saint Michael in Scripture where his name is not mentioned. They say he was the cherub who stood at the gate of paradise, "to keep the way of the tree of life" (Genesis 3: 24), the angel through whom God published the Decalogue to his chosen people, the angel who stood in the way against Balaam (Numbers 22: 22 sqq.), the angel who routed the army of Sennacherib (2 Kings 19: 35).

Following these Scriptural passages, Christian tradition gives to Saint Michael four offices:

To fight against Satan.

To rescue the souls of the faithful from the power of the enemy, especially at the hour of death.

To be the champion of God's people, the Jews in the Old Law, the Christians in the New Testament; therefore he was the patron of the Church, and of the orders of knights during the Middle Ages.

To call away from earth and bring men's souls to judgment ("signifer S. Michael repraesentet eas in lucam sanctam," Offert. Miss Defunct. "Constituit eum principem super animas suscipiendas,"  Antiph. off. Cf. The Shepherd of Hermas, Book III, Similitude 8, Chapter 3).

Sunday, 6 January 2013


The feast of Epiphany falls on January 6th and is the climax of Christmas, marking the end of the twelve days of Christmas and celebrating the visit of the Wise Men to the Messiah. These men are often called Kings or Magi. They brought valuable gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to honour the Divine Infant.

The gift of gold was the gift people usually gave to their King. By giving gold they were recognising Jesus as their King. The second gift, frankincense, is a white gum from a tree called Arbor Thurisfrom. After hardening the gum forms a hard resin which when burnt gives off a fragrant smell. It was burnt as an offering to God during worship, and is often used today as incense for sacerdotal ritual, especially during Mass, over the Easter period and at funerals. It is also used as medicine and as a perfume. The third gift was myrrh, which was also a gum from a thorny tree. Myrrh is a wound healer because it has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and pain relieving qualities. It was used as an embalming material when someone had died.

Epiphany is the day when all Christmas decorations need to be taken down.

The day before Epiphany is the twelfth day of Christmas and is sometimes called Twelfth Night. In the Church calendar the Epiphany season lasts until the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.

To unveil the beginning is to unlock the mystery of the end. For where the beginning is, there the end will be. Happy is he who stands at the beginning he will know the end and will not taste death.