Thursday, 2 April 2020

Confessions

For locals in Adelaide, I can hear Confessions by appointment.

Send me an email first

dthorgood@hotmail.com 

and we can go from there.

May God sustain us all and give us the abundant graces we need.

Passion Sunday 29 Mar 2020 Sermon


Passion Sunday 29.3.20 Disposition

Our Lord had great difficulty convincing the Jewish leaders of His identity as Messiah – even more so as to His divinity.

The people (especially the leaders) were very resistant to His message. They just did not want to know Him, whether He was right or wrong.

Their passions aroused, they were no longer capable of reason. Hatred took hold of them  – led by the devil himself, and followed by many others in every generation.

For the sake of those who would still listen, Our Lord revealed Himself gradually and carefully.

First he points out the absurdity of those who objected to His healing on the sabbath. The Jews would circumcise on the sabbath, for the benefit of the one circumcised. Our Lord would heal the whole man. Is that so bad?

Our Lord reveals Himself to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear (Mt 13,9-16). If we have the right disposition we will see as much as we need to; otherwise we will stay in our blindness (Jn 9,41).

We could say that those who want to believe will believe, and those who do not want will not believe.

This is not to say that belief is merely subjective. The objective truth will not change, but to receive that objective truth we need to have the right disposition.

If we are prepared to take Our Lord at His word (bolstered by countless miracles) we will believe.

If we are going to argue every point and let spite take over from reason, then we will join all the others who have rejected Him over 2000 years.

Faith can be blocked, and it often is. Our Lord still tries to get through to such people but it is hard, even for Him, when pure goodness is rejected simply out of hatred or indifference.

This is where we come in. We pray constantly for conversion of sinners - enough prayer to compensate for all the blasphemies and sacrileges committed since Our Lord appeared.

Prayer is needed. We do not have to pray that people go to the football, or eat plenty of food, or anything else that appeals to them; but we do have to pray they go to church!

What is the difference? Inclination.

People are inclined to do what they want, and basic appetites are strong – the pleasures of the flesh: be it food or drink, or sexual indulgence, or idleness. These things come easily; but people are not so inclined to obey God, or to worship Him.

This is where we come in again. We have got as far as believing in God, and understanding His immense importance.

So we express and increase our confidence in Him, on every matter large or small.

We maintain always a respectful disposition. We are disposed by His grace to trust His ways.

We do not dispute every point or demand that God act in a certain way. That is what the unbelievers do; it is not for us.

Our belief, tested over time, eventually becomes complete certainty, never again to give way to doubt.

We cannot convert others by our own efforts, not even if we were perfect in all things.

Only the grace of God can do that, cutting more finely than any double-edged sword (Heb 4,12); penetrating the defences of those who are resisting faith, for whatever reason.

We can help in the conversion process, however, by holding to the truths that we have received; maintaining the humility essential to be able to see and hear the ways of God

Our constant prayer, penance, almsgiving, and good works will help to shift the balance in the right direction.

There are always some people converting. We see some miracles; we can make a lot more happen.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

4th Sunday of Lent 29 Mar 2020 Sermon


4th Sunday of Lent 22.3.20 Yearning for God 

There was enough food to feed the five thousand, but also a lot left over. God is abundant in His blessings, and also in the scope of those blessings.

The multiplication of the loaves symbolises God’s power to satisfy a deeper hunger.

There is food that satisfies the spirit. This is not easy to do because our spirits have a yearning for the infinite.

Whenever we find something that inspires us we want that thing in greater quantities. For example, if we see the ocean, or a sunset, or a mountain, we are moved by their beauty. We want more of that beauty; and more frequently if possible.

Ultimately it is God that we seek. St Augustine put it: our hearts are made for Thee, O Lord, and they cannot rest unless in Thee.

That is the truth, and it holds for everyone, though many will deny it, some vehemently.

People might not realize what they are yearning for.  If we live for this life only we think we need only worldly things – food, drink, sex… then do it all again tomorrow.  Happiness or misery consists in having these things or not.

As to what it all means – who knows?

Just denying that one needs God does not remove the need. We may not seek Him; we still need to find Him.

There is some happiness in the worldly way, but it fails to satisfy. There is that restless yearning that St Augustine described.

This is what Our Lord was saying through the miracle: if you are impressed with this, wait till you realize what I am really bringing you.

Look higher, or deeper, and you will find great mysteries unfolding.

It is a yearning but a pleasant one. Like always being hungry, and always being able to satisfy that hunger as well.

We draw on God enough to satisfy, but never all there is. The more we taste the more hungry we are to know God better. Taste and see that the Lord is good (Ps 33 (34), 8).

It takes a certain amount of patience and perseverance. One has to wait sometimes. God will not always perform a miracle at the first moment.

He is wanting to raise expectations and teach people to go deeper, such as looking at the way they live.

God will not be bound by our expectations, but will constantly challenge and surprise us.
Even if we don’t know how God will act, we know that He knows what to do - so we have perfect trust.

We are looking for something without quite knowing what it is. We can imagine a better life than we have had, and a better world than we have ever seen. But here we are looking for something not just a little bit better but a whole different dimension.

God wants to share Himself with us. He wants, more than we do, that we do discover Him.

Offering Himself as food is a statement of what He can do, and how far He will go to make it right for us.

He will encourage anyone who does seek Him. No matter where we have roamed we can return.

He will seek out the lost, even the evil, for the sake of giving them a better way forward.

He offers Himself as the Bread of Life. Let us not refuse the best offer we will ever get.


Thursday, 19 March 2020

3rd Sunday of Lent 15 Mar 2020 Sermon


3rd Sunday of Lent 15.3.20 Purification
We have in our day no prince, prophet, or leader, no burnt offering, sacrifice, oblation, or incense, no place to offer first fruits, to find favour with you. But with contrite heart and humble spirit let us be received; As though it were burnt offerings of rams and bulls, or tens of thousands of fat lambs, Dan 3,38-39)

This summarizes our present depressed state, that we are not able freely to partake in Holy Communion (corona virus).

We can give God other things, however. We bring Him a contrite heart and a humble spirit. And this is what God wants most of all.

He would rather receive this from us than a whole hillside of animals. “If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine. (Ps 49(50), 12).

God is so concerned for our attitude that He sometimes allows His people to go through times of persecution or deprivation, just so they will have a chance to work on that attitude.

He lets His people suffer to purify us of false attachments, or even of justifiable attachments where they might impede our love for Him.

He wants to be Number One. It is not conceit on His part, as it would be on ours. He knows that if we do actually worship Him as first and foremost we will then discover the true value of everyone and everything else.

In the present deprivation of Holy Communion, we have the chance to step back a little and consider what Holy Communion means to us; to reaffirm that we still have God Himself, through faith, hope and charity; that having Him we have all else.

He is purifying us, bringing us to a deeper state of holiness.

When we face a crisis we really start praying. We thought we were praying before, but now we are really doing it.

It is a question of degree. How seriously do we take Almighty God? How much do we really give Him?  We might do all the right things, externally. Mass, Confession, Rosary, other prayers, give to the poor, do penance – all of which is good.

Yet it is still possible to do all these things and be holding back from full commitment to God and His holy will. There can be dark corners where we do not allow the light to go, areas hidden even from ourselves.

When we die and face judgment we will see the dark corners. With a little effort we can see them before we die.

We can see the areas where we are not completely submissive to God’s will, nor trusting in Him; putting self-preservation ahead of trust in God; content with doing less rather than more, in His service.

So we have the sad fact, that Massgoers, religious people, can still commit sins, and big ones too.

It is a struggle for us to bring the whole self to submission.

In today’s Gospel there is a parable of someone who achieves a certain level of holiness, but then collapses into something worse than he was in the first place.

We cast out one demon and get seven more instead. It does not have to be that way, but it can happen if we are not attentive to the whole of our spiritual lives. We can never declare ourselves perfect. We have to maintain vigilance lest the evil creep back in..

So we are in a constant state of repentance, contrition, seeking perfection.

Being at one with God is our greatest joy. We discover that He is no hard taskmaster, but kind and compassionate.
           
He will not tax us beyond our strength. The hand that hurts is the hand that heals (cf Job 5,18).

Let us reaffirm our trust in God, in the present crisis and any others still to come.

No public Masses for time being

The Archdiocese has stopped all public Masses as from today, 19th March 2020.
Unfortunately this means there will be no Latin Masses at St Monica's or Sacred Heart Church until further notice.
Please pray for the resolving of all that contributes to this state of affairs.
I will be offering Mass privately every day for all the usual intentions.

Friday, 13 March 2020

2nd Sunday of Lent 8 Mar 2020 Sermon


2nd Sunday in Lent 8.3.20 Trust

At the Transfiguration, Our Lord was attempting to strengthen the apostles so they would be assured of His glory and goodness; and remember that assurance when they would be confronted with other things such as the Crucifixion, or their own persecution which would follow later.

All God's miracles have this effect – assuring us of His power and desire to do us good.

We need lots of assurance in this earthly life, because we have to endure a lot of bad things before we can enjoy the good things without restraint.

It is easy to become discouraged in the midst of sufferings; and easy also to give up altogether. We need only see how many people have done so to realize that.

Events such as the Transfiguration, and even more so the Resurrection, remind us that our suffering is finite; is limited in time and extent.

We have to suffer only a short time (1 P 5,10); whatever we suffer is more than compensated by the weight of glory (2 Co 4.17).

We find it hard to be cheerful in the midst of suffering, but it does help certainly to know there is great glory coming afterwards.

Why do we have to suffer? Because we are caught up in a war between good and evil; and it is impossible to come through a war without someone getting hurt (and that might include us).

We will be glad to talk of our battles once they are over. Just now they are not over. We are still fighting on many fronts – our own concupiscence; dealing with divisions within the Church; dealing with the wider society, so intent on denying or ignoring the ways of God.

It is as certain as day follows night that good will prevail. The whole of creation is in God's hands; He holds all the cards.

If the power of evil appears unchecked it is only because God permits it.

As we go through the battles we grow in spiritual maturity. Our capacity to love, to endure, to understand – these are all increased; as is our trust in God.

We become strong enough to withstand misfortune, and we are able to trust in God even if the whole sky falls in on us, cf the experiences of Job.

God does not overtax us in practice, knowing that we are still learners in the spiritual life, but  at least on principle we would be able to survive, even if we suffered like Job.

By the grace of God we can overcome anything that comes in our path.

Thus we can negotiate the Cross and not be intimidated by it, knowing that the grace will be available, and that the Resurrection comes straight after.

The mountain-top experience enables us to see the whole of our lives in one scene. We rise above the details of the current crises, and see the whole picture, as God always could see.

We have a long history which has brought us this far. We do not know how much longer before God wraps up the whole proceedings, but it is our privilege to be able to be some part of the story.

We are small players on a big canvas; yet we are important in God's sight.

Assured of a glorious destiny if we hold on to the end, we proceed in confidence.

Life would be a lot easier than it is if more people would trust in God. This lack of trust, as a general state of things, is one part of the Cross we have to endure.

If we trust, we will be helping others to do the same.

It is Cross followed by glory; night followed by day. We will see better times.

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Making a spiritual Communion


MY Jesus, I believe that Thou art present in the Blessed Sacrament. I love Thee above all things and I desire Thee in my soul. Since I cannot now receive Thee sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As though Thou wert already there, I embrace Thee and unite myself wholly to Thee; permit not that I should ever be separated from Thee. Amen.


AT Thy feet, O my Jesus, I prostrate myself and I offer Thee repentance of my contrite heart, which is humbled in its nothingness and in Thy holy presence. I adore Thee in the Sacrament of Thy love, the ineffable Eucharist. I desire to receive Thee into the poor dwelling that my heart offers Thee. While waiting for the happiness of sacramental communion, I wish to possess Thee in spirit. Come to me, O my Jesus, since I, for my part, am coming to Thee! May Thy love embrace my whole being in life and in death. I believe in Thee, I hope in Thee, I love Thee. Amen.