Holy Spirit memory

Pope Francis writes about a particular role of the Holy Spirit – to remind us…

“The Holy Spirit reminds us; he reminds us of all that Jesus said. He is the living memory of the Church, and when he reminds us, he helps us understand the words of the Lord.

This remembrance in the Spirit and by virtue of the Spirit . . . is an essential aspect of Christ’s presence within us and within his Church. The Spirit of truth and charity reminds us of all that Christ said and helps us enter ever more fully into the meaning of his words. We all have this experience: one moment, in any situation, there is an idea and then another connects with a passage from Scripture. . . . It is the Spirit who leads us to take this path: the path of the living memory of the Church. And he asks us for a response: the more generous our response, the more Jesus’ words become life within us, becoming attitudes, choices, actions, testimony. In essence the Spirit reminds us of the commandment of love and calls us to live it.

A Christian without memory is not a true Christian but only halfway there: a man or woman, a prisoner of the moment, who doesn’t know how to treasure his or her history, doesn’t know how to read it and live it as salvation history. With the help of the Holy Spirit, however, we are able to interpret interior inspirations and life events in light of Jesus’ words. And thus within us grows the knowledge of memory, knowledge of the heart, which is a gift of the Spirit. May the Holy Spirit rekindle the Christian memory within all of us! And there, that day with the apostles, was Our Lady of Memory, who from the beginning meditated on all those things in her heart. Mary, our Mother, was there. May she help us on this path of memory.”

from Walking with Jesus: A Way Forward for the Church by Pope Francis


The Angel of the Lord

The Angelus is a devotion that focuses our attention on the Incarnation. Its name comes from its opening word in Latin. It is prayed by reciting three Biblical verses narrating the mystery, alternating with the prayer “Hail Mary”. It is an ancient devotion, already well established 700 years ago. It probably originated with the 11th-century monastic custom of reciting three Hail Marys during the evening bells. The first written documentation stems from the 1260s. The devotion has traditionally been recited in churches, convents, and monasteries three times daily: 6:00am, noon, and 6:00pm, and some churches still follow the devotion, while many people pray it at home. The Angelus is often accompanied by the ringing of the Angelus bell. The manner of ringing the Angelus – the triple stroke repeated three times, followed by a longer peal – is also long established, and was described in the 15th-century constitutions of Syon monastery.

The Angel of the LORD declared unto Mary, 
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary...

Behold the handmaid of the LORD.
Be it done unto me according to thy word.
 Hail Mary...

And the Word was made flesh. 
And dwelt among us.
Hail Mary...

Pray for us, O' Holy Mother of God.
That we might be made worthy of the promises of Christ. 
Let us pray,

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O LORD, Thy grace into our hearts; that, we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same Christ our Lord.


Back to Thursday

The Holydays of Obligation of the Epiphany and the Ascension have returned to their traditional places on the twelfth day of Christmas (except if that is a Saturday or Monday – which it was this year!) and Thursday after the 6th Sunday of Easter.

Here is Malcolm Guite’s sonnet on the Ascension. He captures the double meaning very well – this feast tells us that we are now part of heaven’s story, while heaven shows us a human face. The words are well worth our reflection.

We saw his light break through the cloud of glory
 Whilst we were rooted still in time and place
As earth became a part of Heaven’s story
And heaven opened to his human face.

We saw him go and yet we were not parted 
He took us with him to the heart of things
The heart that broke for all the broken-hearted 
Is whole and Heaven-centred now, and sings

Sings in the strength that rises out of weakness, 
Sings through the clouds that veil him from our sight, 
Whilst we ourselves become his clouds of witness 
And sing the waning darkness into light

His light in us, and ours in him concealed,
 Which all creation waits to see revealed.

Fr Matthew