10th September 2023

On Friday the Universal Church celebrated the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. During the coming week Holy Mother Church celebrates the Most Holy Name of Mary. Both of these feasts have overtones of feasts ascribed to Our Blessed Lord: His Nativity and The Most Holy Name of Jesus. This is in no way meant to put Our Lady on a par with her Son, but rather is meant to accentuate her supremely important role in the great Theo-drama of salvation. It is also a salutary reminder to the People of God that devotion to the Blessed Mother is not an optional extra in the life of a faithful Catholic. It is integral, and without it our spiritual lives are somewhat… oh, what’s the word?…hopeless!!

To avoid a life that is without hope, there are a multitude of ways in which a faithful Catholic can engage with Our Lady; the rosary is but one of them. The Church doesn’t proscribe any particular way for us, nor does She insist that all Catholics must ‘believe’ in Lourdes or Fatima or Knock etc. We are told, after due investigation, that there is nothing attached to these apparition sites or devotions which is injurious to the soul of the faithful. It is up to us to find our ‘level’ (we may do this – wisely – with the help of A.N.Other), and I would say it is crucially important to do so. Jesus saw fit to give His Blessed Mother to us (and us to her) as He hung upon the Cross. It takes some brass-neck on our part to suggest to the Crucified Saviour, “No thanks. I’ll manage without her.” Our Lord could have managed without her but He chose not to. Let us take Him as our example and embrace (in whatever manner we choose) the one who is both Mother of God and our Mother too. It is a great blessing for us that part of the dedication of our parish belongs to Our Lady of Unfailing Help. Be honest, is there ever a time when we are not in need of the help of heaven?

Fr Simon

LAST LAUGH: I spent three weeks pushing a pan scrubber in the baby’s face. I want him to get used to kissing his grandmother. Les Dawson

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