Sunday, 28 September 2008

Smile please .............

Humbly dedicated
to the Pro Papa League

A little light relief for the indefatigable sailors of the Pro Papa League, with thanks to, and courtesy of Paul Nichols of 'catholiccartoonblog.blogspot'.

I guarantee that Paul Nichol's site will bring a smile to the face of all those who 'have an eye to see', even perhaps ,dare I say it, certain members of the Hierarchy!

On a rather worldly note and rather guiltily, I feel obliged to admit that whilst I was thinking about this post, that wonderful, light operetta 'HMS Pinafore' by WS Gilbert and Sir A Sullivan, came to mind. I think it may be an association of ideas, with in one corner, the 'Pro Papa League', with a picture in my mind of the papal Armada, sailing or even steaming, resolutely across turbulent seas in support of our Holy Father; and in the other corner, a memory of Sir Joseph Porter KCB, declaring boldly to all and sundry, in 'The First Lord's Song', his great merit as the First Lord of the Admiralty, although he does admit to certain failings!

I hasten to add that this association of ideas in no way diminishes the respective value of either, in fact in a strange way they could be described as complementary, for both reflect the views and attitudes of the society of the day, and both have a singular purpose of spreading the truth to an unbelieving and ignorant world.

Of course one is a spiritual journey, and the other a worldly one, but there is the nub, for we know that this life is inexorably linked to the next, as man is to God. They cannot be separated.

So there it is, my excuse for this part of my blog. PS I do recommend the works of G & S, especially HMS Pinafore - one of my favourites!

Tomorrow, 30th September, is the feast day of St Michael the Archangel, the guardian angel of the Hebrew nation(Dan 10:13,21), and also the protector of the Catholic Church on earth, the Church militant.

The Book of Revelation states (12:7-9) 'Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels waged war upon the the great dragon was thrown down, that serpent of old..' St Michael vanquishing the devil, is the image of the Christian conflict of good versus evil, Christ versus the Anti-Christ. In religious art St Michael is depicted wearing a coat of mail, armed with a shield, and sword or spear, and like most angels he has wings (which distinguishes him from St George, the other slayer of dragons). St Michael is also represented weighing the souls of the dead to measure their 'just deserts', with Christian art commonly portraying St Michael holding a balance, with a human soul- a diminutive naked human figure- in each pan.

St Alphonsus says this about St Michael:- "In the Mass for the dead, the Church prays, 'May the standard-bearer, St Michael, bring them into the holy light'. The learned explain this prayer by saying that St Michael has the honourable office of presenting to Jesus Christ, the judge, all the souls that depart this life in the grace of God."(29th September)

Finally a concluding extract from 'Thoughts from St Alphonsus' by Rev C McNeiry C.SS.R -
"But tell me, my sweet Infant, why dost thou turn thine eyes on every side? What art thou looking for? Yes, replies Jesus, I turn my eyes around, for I am seeking some soul that desires me." (April 25th)

Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom, pray for us, and protect and guide our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVIth.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Feast of the Most Holy Rosary

Good day 'Pro Papa League', and all who sail therein.

In just over two weeks time (7th October), we celebrate the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary.

This coincides with the feast of Our Lady of Victories, instigated in honour of and gratitude to Our Lady after the naval battle of Lepanto (1571), when the fleet of the Ottoman Empire was defeated in one of the great sea battles of history. Prior to the battle, the Holy League fleet under Don Juan of Austria, had been dedicated to the special protection of Our Blessed Lady, with particular recourse to the prayer of the Holy Rosary.

Pope Pius V (later Saint) immediately instituted a new feast day of Our Lady of Victory to commemorate the victory, which dedication was changed two years later by Pope Gregory XIIIth to Our Lady of the Rosary, in recognition of the powerful efficacy of the Holy Rosary.

St Alphonsus has this to say ------- "There is no devotion so generally practised by the faithful of all classes as that of the Rosary. The immense good that this noble devotion has done to the world is well known. How many, by its means, have been delivered from sin! How many led to a holy life! How many to a good death and heaven!" (October 7th)

Very, very briefly, the Rosary prayer as we know it, dates back to the 13th century, the time of St Dominic, when its powerful spiritual efficacy was utilised and reflected in the destruction of the Albigensian heresy. Prior to that date and going back over many centuries, even to the Desert Fathers in the 4th century, there is evidence of the psalter prayers (Psalms) being recited in a numerical format, rather in the manner of the Rosary, but with stones or other counting devices being utilised. In more recent times the apparitions and words of Our Lady at Fatima, have emphasised not only the immeasurable spiritual value and graces attached to the praying of the Rosary, but also the absolute need for all to spread devotion to the Holy Rosary and the practice of penance, to be offered up in reparation for our sins.

Traditionally, fifteen promises were made by Our Lady to devotees of the Rosary, a tradition promulgated particularly by the Dominicans:-

  • Whoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the rosary shall receive signal graces.

  • I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the rosary.

  • The rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell; it will destroy vice, decrease sin and defeat heresies.

  • It will cause virtue and good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities and will lift them to the desire of eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.

  • The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the rosary shall not perish.

  • Whoever shall recite the rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its sacred mysteries, shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not perish by an unprovided death; if he be just, he shall remain in the grace of God and become worthy of eternal life.

  • Whoever shall have a true devotion for the rosary shall not die without the sacraments of the Church.

  • Those who are faithful to recite the rosary shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plenitude of His graces; at the moment of death, they shall participate in the merits of the saints in paradise.

  • I shall deliver from purgatory those who have been devoted to the rosary.

  • The faithful children of the rosary shall merit a high degree of glory in heaven.

  • You shall obtain all you ask of me by the recitation of the rosary.

  • All those who propagate the holy rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities.

  • I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the rosary shall have for intercessors the entire celestial court during their life and at the hour of death.

  • All who recite the rosary are my sons, and brothers of my only son Jesus Christ.

  • Devotion to my rosary is a great sign of predestination.

N.B. There are several excellent web-sites dealing with Lepanto, Rosary, 15 Promises of Our Lady, St Dominic, etc.. accessible through Google.


Our second extract from 'Thoughts from St Alphonsus', is salutary indeed:-

"Dearly beloved reader, though you should live as many years as you expect, a day will come, and on that day an hour, which will be the last for you. For me, who am now writing, and for you who read this little book, the day and the moment have been decreed when I shall no longer write and you will no longer read" (August 7th)

'Our Lady of the Rosary - pray for us, and protect our Holy Father from all evil'.

Monday, 15 September 2008

More thoughts from St Alphonsus

Dedicated to the 'PRO PAPA LEAGUE'.

Continuing with 'Thoughts from St. Alphonsus', it seems particularly appropriate to quote the thought
for today, 15th September, the Feast day of 'Our Lady's Sorrows'.

"Time, which usually mitigates the sorrows of the afflicted, did not relieve Mary;
nay, it even increased her sorrows; for as Jesus, on the one hand advanced in age,
and always appeared more and more beautiful and amiable; so also, on the other hand,
the time of his death always drew nearer, and grief always increased in the heart of Mary,
at the thought of having to lose him on earth."


Another special day, the Feast day of our Holy Guardian Angels, is celebrated on 2nd October,
and St Alphonsus clearly had great trust in the efficacy of these heavenly guardians.

"We ought to have great confidence in the assistance of our good angels. God's love for us
was not satisfied with giving us his Son Jesus for our Redeemer, and Mary for our advocate.
He has been pleased to give us also his angels to be our guardians, and has commanded them
to assist us during the course of our lives."

Our Lady, Queen of Peace, protect and guide our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVIth.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Thoughts from St Alphonsus

'Whitesmokeahoy' is humbly dedicated to the aims of 'Pro Papa Flagship', which site is strongly recommended. In this 'spiritual armada', it seems fitting to arm ourselves with appropriate 'holy' armour. 'Thoughts from St Alphonsus' is a collection of short writings by the Saint, whose work was particularly recommended to the faithful by Pope Pius IXth and Pope Benedict XVth, compiled by the Rev C McNeiry CSSR, and published by Burns, Oates & Washbourne in 1927. I hope to post two extracts from this book, on an occasional basis. In the book each extract is allocated to a particular day of the year, and most are quite short.

"If our confidence in God is great, great too will be our graces. St Bernard writes that the divine mercy is an inexhaustible fountain, and that he who brings to it the largest vessel of confidence, will take from it the largest measure of gifts." (16th February)

"If we are true servants of Mary, and obtain her protection, we most certainly shall be inscribed in the Book of Life." (30th May)

Our Blessed Lady, Star of the Sea - pray for us, and protect our Holy Father from all evil.