This homily was given last week during the Novena in preparation for Pentecost, but is still appropriate for the Solemnity:
I, Jesus, have sent my angel, to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the root and stock of David, the bright and morning star. And the spirit and the bride say: Come. And he that heareth, let him say: Come. And he that thirsteth, let him come. And he that will, let him take the water of life, freely. . . . Come, Lord Jesus (Rev. 21:16-17, 20).
A postconciliar Mariology that is both traditional and one that addresses the present crisis of modernity is one that sees Mary in relation to both Christ and the Church. In the context of Pentecost, this means that She is both Spouse of the Holy Spirit and Teacher of the Apostles.
Pope Benedict has said that the Marian principle of the Church is even more fundamental than the Petrine, because the Church is not an idea, but a person, and at Pentecost (as on Calvary) Mary is Mother of the Church from the top down. If this is true at every moment of Christian history, it is particularly true in this age of Marian prophecy (Rue de Bac, Lourdes, Fatima, Bl. John Paul II).
The Immaculate-Meditatrix directs human acts and serves as the living model of pastoral prudence and prophetic inspiration, reform and innovation in continuity. This is an integrated and holistic approach to Mariology, and one that is vitally necessary in order to address the disintegration of modernity. It is Spirit-filled: faithful to the deposit of the faith and responsive the souls that need to be saved in real-time.
Most of all in and through Her and Her Spouse, we must continue in hope for a New Pentecost that looks forward toward the East, not one that faces the western darkness of hopelessness or presumption.
But Our Lady respects our will. Consecration to Mary is an act of the will. It is consent in the Marian “yes” of salvation history. That is all that stands between us and our destiny of light or darkness: one little yes.
The Spirit and the Bride say “come”.
O Mary! we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May,
O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May.
“Bring Flowers of the Rarest” is an extra-liturgical May crowning hymn that seems to be a rather sentimental nod to the ambiguity of modern May “devotion,” and perhaps (or perhaps not) an assault upon it. It is a preconciliar hymn that I have often heard characterized as “schmaltzy” and inappropriate for the liturgy, though I have heard it many times used in traditional circles for Holy Mass.
What interests me here is its relation to the pagan or neopagan celebrations associated with May Day, the spring festival. The “Queen of the May” or “May Queen” is a personification of Spring which is ritualized in May Day celebrations by the selection of a young girl dressed in white and crowned with flowers who leads the May Day parade. British folklore has it that of old the ritual ended with the blood sacrifice of the May Queen. Continue reading
Catholic World Report just posted an article by me on the legacy of Pope Benedict:
The new springtime for the Church hoped for by Blessed John Paul II has found its great advocate and defender in Benedict XVI. He has been an indefatigable defender of Tradition and renewal in the light of both the Second Vatican Council and the crisis that has been its aftermath. Perhaps one may call him a transitional pope. However, work that he has done will prove pivotal to future of the Church willed by Christ. Joseph Ratzinger was the guardian of the doctrine of the faith under Blessed John Paul II, and his resignation has given us the extraordinary conclave that elected Pope Francis. But what he did in this transition was to make clear once again to the naysayers that, even in crisis, the Church is the only viable future, just as it was at the beginning when it was small and persecuted.
Sermon at Farm Street Church, London Day with Mary
Sermon for Easter Sunday
This is the great day of mercy in which the reality of daily life finds its true meaning in the commemoration of the event which is at the center of all history. The preoccupation with “reality” as we know is no longer the focus of our attention. The narcissism of relating everything to ourselves cannot endure the gaze of the Crucified. It is though we must now focus a camera on the background instead of the subject. The unfortunate reality is that we are too often focused on ourselves, even in religious matters. Religious experience and not the service of God and his people is too often the object of our quest.
The oxymoron of “reality tv” is a profanation of the humane. The self-indulgent staging of life must stop in the face of today’s reality. It is the reality of what our sins do to God. It is the reality of what the Love of God does for us poor sinners. The “big reveal” is symbolized by the unveiling of the Crucifix:
Behold the wood of the Cross, on which hung the Savior of the World.
Come let us adore. Continue reading
Day with Mary Sts. Michael and Martin in Hounslow