Dear Rev Father,
Fraternal greetings, and may we wish you a happy Shrove Tuesday and a grace-filled Lent.
May we bring to your attention the following conferences, i.e. eight meditations recorded live during our latest clergy retreat at Douai Abbey, Berkshire (22-26 January 2018).
The theme was: Mary, Mother of Priests and Protectress of our Frailty.
We were 15 in total, mostly diocesan, from all over England and Scotland. We are grateful to the Benedictine Community of Douai for their warm welcome, and to the Marian Franciscans of Gosport who kindly make these talks available on their website. Lastly, we thank the various bishops who included this retreat in their Ad Clerum, as in previous years.
Below is a description of each conference.
Marian Clergy Retreat 01 Douai 2018 – She’s More Than Worth It
Spending five days in a monastery is arduous – but worth it, as an investment in our spiritual life. Life is about packing what we will need for an eternal ‘holy day’. So many great things have been written already about Our Lady and the Sacred Priesthood. But we need to make such truths ours, hence the time we take meditating on them. With knowledge comes responsibility. Our Lady will help us become saints, as our priesthood calls us to. The interior life of Our Lady is where it all begun. On her Annunciation, Our Lady knew all that She needed to know about the mission of the Messiah her Son, and about us, her spiritual posterity.
Marian Clergy Retreat 02 Douai 2018 – The Triple Eclipse
The Incarnation of the Logos in Our Lady’s virginal womb is explained as a triple eclipse. A mineral and cosmic eclipse of the sun by the moon. An organic and microcosmic eclipse of Our Lady’s eye (symbolising her soul) by the ovum. In between, a spiritual eclipse (or superimposition) of God’s loving will by Our Lady’s created will, humbly and joyfully responsive.
Marian Clergy Retreat 03 Douai 2018 – God’s First Child Is A Priest
Our Lady is the Mother of God, because her Son is divine as a Person. The human nature He assumed from Her belongs immediately to Him as Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity. Until Jesus, no child was ever conceived by a sinless mother; and that first Child of grace is a priest. Our Lady loves priests as formally sharing in the distinctive feature of her Son, His priesthood.
Marian Clergy Retreat 04 Douai 2018 – Her Son’s Fingers and Lips
Our Lady wishes to be a mother to all humans, in fulfilment of the Redemption wrought by her Son. Those marked with the sacramental characters of Holy Baptism and Confirmation bear a particular resemblance to her Son Jesus. But in priests only does She find embedded a permanent capacity for imparting divine life, even after some of them may have lost God’s grace. Our Lady watches all the more lovingly over them, until they reach heaven.
Marian Clergy Retreat 05 Douai 2018 – Cord Of Grace Or Bonds Of Death
The Visitation prolongs the Annunciation. Our Lady acts as heavenly midwife to St John the Baptist, the Precursor of the Sovereign High Priest. She forwards to him the Holy Ghost to graft him into the mystical Body of her Son, while carrying Jesus as the Head of the same Body. The devotion to ‘Mary Undoer of Knots’ illustrates this truth. All further members must be connected to their Head through Mary. Despising her spiritual motherhood binds one to the Father of Lies instead, as no middle path is offered.
Marian Clergy Retreat 06 Douai 2018 – Mary As The Potter’s Field
Judas is the type of the fallen priest. Our Lady invites him to come back to the divine Father. Any fallen priest must hope in her intercession, even when engrossed in ungodly business. She can reshape in him the priestly features of her Son even when distorted through betrayal. Filiation to Mary secures life, but filiation to the devil leads to death.
Marian Clergy Retreat 07 Douai 2018 – Espoused to Christ’s Church
As the New Eve, Our Lady is also the Virginal Bride of Christ, the New Adam. She appears at Cana and on Golgotha as ‘The Woman’. With and through Her, the divine Bridegroom fosters a spiritual progeny. Guided by St Joseph, priests may prudently enter into this sponsal companionship. Priestly celibacy is a treasure for the world, as a striking sign of the power of divine grace working through ordinary men. Priests sacrifice to God the great good of biological fatherhood. This makes them even more apt to protect unborn children, images of the Saviour in the earliest stage of His redemptive Incarnation.
Marian Clergy Retreat 08 Douai 2018 – Him Whom My Soul Loveth
As the Word became flesh, Christ was ordained a priest. Marked indelibly with the priestly character of her Son, priests are ontologically entitled to Our Lady’s assistance. Hence, priests have a greater duty to bear fruit of grace. Non-priests can be more holy though, if they love more. Mary was granted priestly powers once, but priests have them at their constant disposal. Mary will seek her Son’s priests, not resting until She sees them secure in grace, forever in heaven. Priests respond to her zeal by becoming her sons.
We ask for your prayers for 23 of our seminarians who were ordained to the minor orders and subdiaconate last Saturday, including Gwilym, from Wales.
See all the pictures here.
We would be delighted if any of you were available to attend the priestly ordination (in the Extraordinary Form) of Deacon Seth Phipps, FSSP, here at St Mary’s Warrington, on Saturday 9 June 2018, 11am, by our local Ordinary, Archbishop Malcom McMahon OP.
See pictures of last year’s ordination here.
Daily (EF) Mass with homily on our FSSP channel: http://www.livemass.org/.
Thank you for your interest.
(If your inbox is already full of similar information, feel very welcome to unsubscribe from this circular emailing list. Alternatively, you may like to take a look at our new revamped website for the UK & Ireland, with interactive options: http://fssp.co.uk/.)
Fr Armand de Malleray, FSSP (Rector of St Mary’s Shrine, Warrington, Liverpool Archdiocese)