On the Feast of the Martyrs of England, Deacon Vincent offer us this reflection.

On this Monday we celebrate the Martyrs of England who suffered under the Penal Laws against Catholics of the 16th & 17th Centuries.

They combine the forty-two canonised martyrs as well as the 242 declared blessed martyrs, but there were untold hundreds of people, men and women, married, single, religious and lay people who languished in prisons, fined into penury, and died or were killed for their Faith. We remember them and ask their help during this time of our own trial when we cannot celebrate Mass in our beloved churches and receive the sacraments.
They suddenly found that Mass and the Sacraments, as they had always been able to receive were denied them. They prayed quietly and privately as they had been taught and kept the faith alive in the Spirit. Some were lucky to have a visiting priest secretly saying the Mass in various very secret places for fear of discovery, but most had to carry on deprived of the Faith they had always known and loved.
It was very significant that the Mary Rose, one of Henry VIII’s war ships, when it was recovered, they found numerous Rosary beads which were forbidden by law, yet some sailors obviously carried on.
Here lies a wonderful example for us all. Some of us who are lucky enough to have access to the internet can find Mass anywhere that it is being streamed for our benefit, but there are some who do not have access to this medium. For them the Rosary is a constant reminder of the Gospel stories, which can lead the person to explore those mysteries in their bibles, if they do not have bibles, maybe they have a Sunday Missal, which will contain readings from the Gospels and the Old Testament. These will enable people to explore and ponder their faith.
The people of England struggled to keep the faith burning in their hearts by praying privately or in the family. If we can emulate them, then our faith will become a wonderful shining beacon, when we can once again celebrate the Eucharist together and receive the Sacraments again. Just to be together again will be amazing and our celebrations vibrant with love and mutual respect. Ths can be a great cleansing of our spiritual life and the life of the Church itself. We had become a people who demanded to be fed and expected to be fed, but now we have had to learn that it is a privilege to be able to attend the Eucharist and a privilege to go to Confession and pray the Rosary before the Blessed Sacrament, and even just pop into Church to say Hello to the Lord.
He never leaves us and we are learning that deeper spirituality of joining with God in the Spirit. This is the great gift of Jesus after returning to the Father after the Ascension the great burst of love when the Father embraced his beloved Son rained down upon us all for ever. The spirit of Love of the Father and Son that soaks into our very being upon Baptism and becomes a desire to be with them constantly. This enables us to call God our Father, and lift up our minds and hearts to pray to him.
We all have our bad days during this time of trial, but we can just at the end of every day sit quietly with the Lord and examine how things have gone through the day, the good as well as the bad times and testing times. Then just say sorry to the Lord for our failings and do not forget to thank him for the good things that he has done for us during that day as well and that will put us at one with Him. He is always waiting for us to approach Him, He loves and desires us to approach Him in our hearts.
Take heart, and know that God loves and cares for us and wants us to be with Him for ever. Jesus I trust in You and Mary I entrust myself to You. Let Mary take us by the hand and lead us to Him.
God Bless you All and may we be able to meet soon at a really Special celebration of the Eucharist, with songs and psalms and a really genuine joy at Praising God together again.
All my Love and Prayers
Deacon Vincent

#ChurchAtHome      Apart, yet together

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