None Equals Thee

OLMC Statue landscape 2Sometimes people of other faith traditions think that we worship Mary.  While they can clearly see that Mary holds a special place in our faith, all our worship is directed toward God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The Collect Prayer for our celebration of the Solemnity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel reminds us of this:

All gracious God,
may the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
Mother and Queen of Carmel, protect us,
and bring us to your holy Mountain, Christ our Lord…

(Carmelite Lectionary)

Mary is certainly the most blessed of all women, and a person without equal.  As our mother and sister in faith, she intercedes for us, and leads us to the divine mystery in which we believe.  This echoes through a number of the prayer texts we use on our feast day today.

While we certainly honour Mary at different times throughout the liturgical year, the liturgy is still focused on giving thanks to God for the Paschal Mystery – the life, death and resurrection of Christ in which Mary played a crucial role.  It is why, for example, that prayers to Mary (such as the Hail Mary) don’t form part of the proper texts for Mass.  It is also why Marian devotions, such as the rosary, or private prayers at the Marian Shrine, have their own time and place.

So as we give thanks for Mary’s patronage and protection, let us remember her first and foremost as a woman with deep faith who embraced the will of God.  Let us pray that by her prayers and example, our faith and love will become like hers.

1/4/12 – Easter Sunday Evening Prayer

The Easter Triduum begins on Holy Thursday evening with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper.  The liturgical celebration of the Triduum continues with the Celebration of the Passion of the Lord on Good Friday and reaches its high point with the Easter Vigil on Saturday evening.

The liturgical celebration of the Easter Triduum then continues with the Easter Sunday Masses and reaches its formal conclusion with the celebration of Evening Prayer on Sunday.  For the first time this year, we invite everyone to celebrate Evening Prayer as a parish on Easter Sunday.

Evening Prayer (or Vespers) is part of the Liturgy of the Hours or Divine Office as it’s also known.  Its key aspects include the praying of psalms, listening to the proclamation of a passage of scripture, and interceding for the needs of the Church and the world.  Once something that was rarely prayed outside of religious communities and clergy, this traditional way of prayerfully marking the passage of time is something the whole Church is called to rediscover.

We encourage you all to come along on Easter Sunday at 6:00 pm and pray with us to conclude what is a great day of celebration for all of us who hold firm in the hope in the resurrection.

18/11/07 – Approaching Advent

We are now only two weeks away from the Season of Advent.  This is the time when we particularly focus on preparing for the celebration of Christ’s coming among us at Christmas, as well as preparing for his promised return at the end of time.  I’d like to take a moment now to let you know of two things happening this Advent season.

The first is our Friday Evening Prayer in the spirit of Taizé.  Many of you may already know of the unique music of the Taizé community that will infuse our evening prayer.  Through Fr. Paul’s initiative we celebrated evening prayer this way last Advent, and many came and found it a nourishing spiritual experience.  Evening Prayer will be held on Fridays 7, 14 and 21 December, 7:30 – 8:30 p.m.

The second applies specifically to our Ministers of the Word.  During the Lent and Easter seasons we held a weekly readers’ preparation for those people rostered as readers for the following Sunday’s Masses.  Those who came found this a beneficial exercise, and the participation of ministers was evident in excellent proclamation at Mass.  Being another important season in our Church calendar, these preparation sessions will occur again for the Advent season on Wednesdays from 7:30 – 8:30 p.m.  From next weekend we will publish a reminder in Carmel for those rostered to read the next weekend, and therefore need to join us for the preparation session.

Finally, my sincere thanks again to those who gathered and shared their ideas at our parish meeting on Wednesday.  It was a very worthwhile gathering.  I’ll say more about this next week.

3/6/07 – The Sign of the Cross

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

It’s the simplest and most common prayer of the Christian Church.  It is usually accompanied by an action – the sign of the cross.

Yet the implications of this prayer are quite profound.  Think about it – we pray that everything we do is done in the name of the triune God; God who is Father, Son and Spirit.

So the Sign of the Cross is not a prayer to be hurried.  Stop and think sometimes as you make the Sign of the Cross.  This prayer and its action is a symbol at the core of our faith.  It was the sign with which our newest catechumen, Shelley, was marked with last Sunday as she was accepted into preparation for baptism, confirmation and eucharist.  When a baby is brought into the Church, they are named and then welcomed by the Church with the Sign of the Cross.  So the first thing we as a community do ritually to those joining us is mark them with the Sign of the Cross.  Everything we ever do from that point forward is done in the name of the trinity.

11/2/07 – Lenten Evening Prayer

“What Jesus himself did, he also commands us to do. He often said, ‘Pray’, ‘Ask’, ‘Seek’,‘in my name’. He gave us the Lord’s Prayer to teach us how to pray. He instructed us on the necessity of prayer,and told us to be humble, watchful, persevering and confident in the goodness of the Father, pure in intention and worthy of God.” (General Instruction on the Liturgy of the Hours, article 5)

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