Weekly Novena

St. Peter's Church - Cardiff


NOVENA TOWARDS THE FEAST OF BLESSED ANTONIO ROSMINI ON JULY  1st

 

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Saturday 27th June

Welcome to all, let us begin with prayer:

O God come to our aid O Lord, make haste to help us

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,

As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

 

A further thought on the Maxims

Perhaps the finest passage describing this relationship in the Old Testament is found in the song of songs, and in Hosea. God is described as a suitor, a lover, who seeks the exclusive devotion of the beloved. Such a relationship generates strong and lasting loyalties.


Jesus himself saw justice this way. Be perfect, as your heavenly father is perfect. (Matthew 5:46) the word be perfect creates  difficulties for us. What the gospel means by being perfect and what the church for a long time misunderstood it to mean.

How can Jesus talk to us about being perfect when all we know is that we are sinners. Indeed wasn’t it the perfect people, the Pharisees, whom Jesus was most critical of ?  And the imperfect, the sinful ordinary folk that he seemed to have the most time for In the parable it it is the publican who is commended by God, not the pharisee.  But Jesus did not attack the Pharisees because they kept the law of Moses. He criticize them for manipulating it to their advantage. He criticize them for their hypocrisy. So in the sermon on the mount, Jesus challenges us to a more demanding standard of behavior. He’s not watering down the law. The law of love must be stretched to cover forgiving my enemy as well as giving to my neighbor. In other words Jesus is always extending our horizons. Beyond the external action to the internal motivation..


Blessed Antonio Rosmini meditated for so many years on the Gospels and read the bible as a young man. His meditations led him to write many books but his spiritual writing he summed up in the Maxims of Christian Perfection.  In the second maxim he says We are to delight in Jesus Christ and in his Church.'


That phrase, to delight in, is a call not just to be joyful about but to generously give all one’s energies.  This indicates a level of dedication that we would find unusual. It is precisely the level of dedication that we find in Convents of Sisters and religious life or priests. But not only that, there are many who are lay people whose dedication is totally for Jesus. (We hear more of this in ‘The Church in the World of Today’ of Vatican II)  In Rosmini's thought, the Church is the place where we are made part of that army of disciples that Jesus first called to be with him, at the lake of Galilee.  We are alongside Peter and Andrew in the fishing boat, We are called by Jesus, like the disciples, to be fishers of men.  We are in the company of Mary at the marriage feast of Cana, We hear her say "Do whatever he tells you." Blessed Antonio Rosmini lives the dynamism of the Gospels and invites us to do the same.

 

Let us think a little of those ideas – wanting to be holy, because this is God’s plan for us. 

We shall share our time of prayer.

And conclude with the Our Father and a blessing.

 

 

Sunday 28th June - Feast of St Peter and St Paul

Welcome to all, let us begin with prayer:

O God come to our aid O Lord, make haste to help us

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,

As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

 

Rosmini's Third Maxim is 'The Christian will not worry about the Church as it is in the hands of the Lord.'  (To be at peace in ourselves about everything that God wills for the Church, while working for it in obedience to his will)


There were times when the apostles did not understand what Jesus was doing or forming in calling them.  They were talking among themselves about who would be the greatest. So he called them to himself and set a child before them. "But Jesus, aware of their inner thoughts, took a little child and put it by his side, and said to them, “Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me; for the least among all of you is the greatest. (Lk 9:47)


Whether the disciples saw Jesus' group as themselves as the future leaders of the Kingdom of God or were just a group of men bragging, we don't know. Certainly they had not understood the meaning of service in the community. As the way of putting the love of God into practice. Who wants to be the least, humanly speaking? 


We have a great blessing in these years of a Pope who wishes to model himself on his namesake, St Francis.  In his choice of living quarters, his simplicity in approaching people, his daring to go outside the rule book in washing the feet of a Muslim girl on Holy Thursday, he is living out a Changing Church. What is more, in his book the Joy of the Gospel he is urging us, priests, consecrated religious, and people of the church to live more authentic lives and to live the joy of the gospel.


"THE JOY OF THE GOSPEL fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew. In this Exhortation, he says,  I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by this joy, while pointing out new paths for the Church’s journey in years to come." (P1)

 

Let us think a little of those ideas – Finding our delight in Jesus and his life in the people of the church.

We shall share our time of prayer.

And conclude with the Our Father and a blessing.

 

 

Monday 29th June

Welcome to all, let us begin with prayer:

O God come to our aid O Lord, make haste to help us

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,

As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

 

To give myself wholly to God’s Providence, is Rosmini's Fourth Maxim.

This 4th Maxim is the key to our peace of mind and heart because it implies perfect trust in God alone and detachment from human possessions.


Jesus says to us. Do not be anxious what you shall eat. Think more of the ravens. They neither so nor reap yet God feeds  them. How much more you Luke 12:22


God who is love cares for every atom of his creation. His loving hands fashioned us. He’s anxious care sustains our every moment. So we can have trust in this God who cherishes each one of his children.

Rosmini s teaching here confronts the spirit of the age we live in. People these days delight in complaining about the human condition. the world seems to be in a perpetual mess.  The enormous progress made by communications by medicine and technology has not brought about a human utopia. Quite the contrary. Our civilization appears in many respects to be growing steadily worse. Wars and famine become more widespread violence affects our city streets. New diseases threaten us: we are living this extraordinary time of Covid 19  in Africa they have still got the dangerous Ebola. Some seemingly brought about by our own greed or promiscuity.


Poverty is the lot of a vast proportion of the human race. The very air we breathe is polluted. It seems that we are poisoning ourselves with our own affluence. Poets and dreamers search constantly for the way out.  Civilization is rejected because of its obvious evils in favor of simpler more natural styles of living.


Sadly, unemployment and hopelessness has led to a rash of youth suicide.


Even the wealthy and seemingly secure find true happiness just as elusive as those who are the victims or outcasts of society. Commonly enough they seek forgetfulness in drugs or alcohol.


Think of the ravens, God feeds them.  Jesus addresses us as his friends without condition. He says not If you are good but Whether you are sinners or not, we can enjoy God’s love.

 

Let us think a little of those ideas – Finding our trust in the Providence of God.

We shall share our time of prayer.

And conclude with the Our Father and a blessing.

 

Tuesday 30th June

Welcome to all, let us begin with prayer:

O God come to our aid O Lord, make haste to help us

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,

As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

 

Today we consider Blessed Antonio’s 5th Maxim which speaks to us of our nothingness, our littleness before God.  In our genuine humility we are open the good things that the Lord wants to give us. ‘The Christian considers her own littleness and looks towards God’s greatness in her life. So we consider our own littleness, not to dismiss ourselves but instead to open ourselves to be filled by God. We can almost be certain where Blessed Antonio found this concept in the Gospels.  We remember the Beatitudes in St Matthews gospel, chapter 5. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven".  

Jesus blesses not so much the poor, but the poor in spirit, and it is so similar to our littleness that we have been considering. The poor in spirit are found in the bible under the name of the "anawim" in Hebrew, the little ones of God. These are the prophets and saints such as Joseph and Our Lady who by their every word are seen to depend utterly on God. Those words of reply that Mary gave to the Archangel Gabriel at the annunciation of God's request that she be the mother of the messiah. Mary replies, "Let it be done to me according to your word."  We see that she looks for nothing more in her life than to fulfil the word of God. What is greatest in her life, even though she does not know the consequences, is to follow the Will of God. In her littleness before God is found her greatness.


Blessed Antonio sees that the same invitation as Mary had is an invitation for every Christian, that is to be open to God's will in our lives. When we do what God wills we will find our fulfilment and our greatest happiness. For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 

Let us think a little of those ideas –  Compared with God’s glory we are truly very little.

We shall share our time of prayer.     And conclude with the Our Father and a blessing.

 

 

Wednesday 1st July   Blessed Antonio Rosmini Feast Day

Welcome to all, let us begin with prayer:

O God come to our aid O Lord, make haste to help us

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,

As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

 

Blessed Antonio’s Sixth Maxim. (Or sixth teaching from the Gospel) tells us. ‘The Christian is guided in all things  by the Spirit of Wisdom’. Jesus calls us to give everything we are able to fulfil our vows of baptism. We are led by the Spirit  of Jesus who guides our giftedness.


It reminds us that St Paul clearly told his community of new converts that All Christians are led by the Holy Spirit in a whole variety of Spiritual Gifts.


1 Corinthians 12:4-11 - There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.


The work of the spirit is hidden within the human heart yet its effects are evident in providing the dynamism which binds Christians  together in love. Jesus speaks to us of the mission of the Holy Spirit in the Gospel of St. John chapters 13 to 17

It is very visual.   In the parable of the vine the Christian community is like a vine. The father is the vine dresser. We read about this in the old testament also referring to the people of Israel.


But in the gospel it acquires a richer Eucharistic meaning. The parable of the vine was given on the very occasions when Jesus first gave his disciples the wine of his blood.


Jesus himself is the vine, and we are the branches. His life sustains us. The pruning we receive is to enable us to achieve a more abundant growth. But the purpose of our indwelling in him is that we bear fruit. The fruit is visible in our mutual love. So this parable is an ideal introduction to the new commandment. The love, the Agape, which binds us to Jesus, also binds us to one another. We receive love, so that we can give love. And this Agape is not a Mere feeling. It is a presence, nothing less than the Spirit of God dwelling in us.


In one of his key writings Blessed Antonio Rosmini speaks of grace in similar style. The sacraments are given to us by Christ to fortify the whole human person. The person’s will to right action, as well as the mind seeking truth,.

Grace is a feeling for God which is communicated to the Christian through his mind, by which he receives life, and which bears fruit in action.


Let us think a little of those ideas – That the Holy Spirit leads us to live in the presence of God.

We shall share our time of prayer.

And conclude with the Our Father and a blessing.