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Elizabeth Barton

We have finished our “mini-retreat” a bit early today.  My special thanks to Bernard Riley and David Wheeler for the wonderful Lenten repast-a savory, fresh tomato and corn soup. We meditated on the theme of humility, particularly the humility of the Cross.  As well, our prayers were directed to seeking to the grace to bear our own crosses in the imitation of Christ and anticipating the Passion narratives of Holy Week.

Present with us today were the holy relics of Ss. Thomas of Canterbury, Columbae, Bede the Venerable, Cuthbert and Edmund.  We blessed the new icons of English Saints Augustine of Canterbury, Ethelbert and  Thomas, as well as that of Blessed Elizabeth Barton.  These reached us here in the States good offices of the Royal Mail and Bp. Damien Mead of the Anglican Catholic Church in the U.K.  Many thanks, your grace!

The lessons for our retreat were made manifest in the life of Blessed Elizabeth Barton.  For those of you who don’t know her. Known as “The Nun of Kent”, “The Holy Maid of London”, or “The Holy Maid of Kent”, she was an English Catholic Benedictine nun executed as a result of her prophecies against the marriage of King Henry VIII of England to Anne Boleyn.  She urged devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and for people to undertake pilgrimages. Thousands believed in her prophecies and both Archbishop William Warham and Bishop John Fisher attested to her pious life.

When Henry sought his first annulment and began siezing the properties of the Church, Sister Elizabeth opposed him.  She was condemned by a bill of attainder (25 Henry VIII, c. 12); an Act of Parliament authorising punishment without trial.  She was hanged and beheaded for treason at Tyburn along with five of her chief supporters, and buried at Greyfriars Church in Newgate.  Her head was put on a spike on London Bridge, the only woman in history accorded that humiliation.

For Palm Sunday


Almighty and everlasting God, who of thy tender love towards mankind, hast sent thy Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, to take upon him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility; Mercifully grant, that we may both follow the example of his patience, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

-Collect for Palm Sunday, 1928 Book of Common Prayer

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palm sundayTomorrow we shall be commemorating our Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It was the one hour of anything resembling triumph in His earthly life. Yet, His eyes were dimmed with tears, even though shouts of a joyous and apparently believing welcome were sounding around Him. He comes as the Savior, meek and lowly, desiring to be received for our sake rather than His own. He is weeping because of His rejection, not merely because of that rejection, but because those who reject Him know not the things which belong unto their peace.

When He entered Jerusalem He went first to the temple, and looked round on all things. He marked the prayers and thanksgivings which devout souls were offering, and the Hosannas of the children who were singing there His praises.

He marked also the traffic and noise which rose in one of its courts, which had been set apart as a place of prayer for the Gentiles, as though it did not matter if their prayers were disturbed provided the convenience of the people of Israel was carefully provided for. When He saw it all He could not but feel indignation.

He will thus come to look round on all things in the temple of our hearts; and, if we will have it so, to cast out all that is wrong, all that is ruinous ourselves, and therefore displeasing to Him.

If He finds there a lack of charity for others; if He finds there irreverence for anything that pertains to God, His Name, or His house; if He finds that the business and traffic of this world so possesses us as to disturb our prayers and to indispose us for His holy worship; if He finds that anything like greed and covetousness is growing within us also, then, again, as of old, He will be grieved.

Shall we not implore Him to drive it all out? He may need to use a scourge. It may be that only through some suffering these can be driven out, but better so than that they should not be driven out at all.


Yea, O Lord Jesu Christ, cleanse, I pray Thee, the temple of my heart and soul, that I may be a dwelling-place for Thee for evermore. Amen.

From Lent for Busy People © 2017 Fr. Charles H. Nalls

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What is life? No one can tell entirely, though all know something of what it is to live. Again, what is death? No one knows what it is to die. We only know that death consists in the separation of the soul from the body. The latter is buried in peace, but the soul liveth for evermore, passing at the moment of death into the place of departed spirits. There it waits until soul and body shall be again united, and those who were dead shall arise from the dead and live forever.

The Gospel for the week teaches us that those who keep the word of the Lord Jesus shall never see death. Yes, for by His death, He destroyed death, and by His rising to life again He restored to us everlasting life. He died that we might not die eternally. He rose again that in Him we might have eternal life.

We all die, indeed, for we have all sinned. The sting of death is sin, and in the case of those whose sins are all forgiven for His sake, that sting has been taken away. They depart with the sure and certain hope of rising again through Him, and at His bidding, to an everlasting life of blessedness and glory. This life, however, must be begun now.

In Baptism I was born again in Christ of water and the Holy Ghost. I was made a member of Christ. If I feel that this is really the case I shall hardly need to be entreated to keep myself pure in heart and thought, in word and act. I should be willing to live as He lived in all obedience to the will of God. I should love all men in obedience to His commandments. For if I live in union with Christ, I must of course in some degree live the life of Christ.

In my childhood I shall endeavor to live the life of His boyhood. At that time of His life, He was brave and submissive, thoroughly in earnest in all that He did, anxious to be doing His work, devout, open, sincere, gentle, and obedient. Such a life will last on into eternity, and will be increasingly blessed.


Grant me, O God, the help of Thy Holy Spirit, I humbly beseech Thee, and lead me in the path of obedience to the, example of Thy Blessed Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ, for His sake. Amen.

From Lent for Busy People © 2017 Fr. Charles H. Nalls

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Communion Cup


We beseech thee, Almighty God, look upon the hearty desires of thy humble servants, and stretch forth the right hand of thy Majesty, to be our defence against all our enemies; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Blessings on this Feast of Saint Chad, also called Ceadda, (died March 2, 672, Lichfield, Mercia, England).  He was a monastic founder, abbot, and first bishop of Lichfield, who is credited with the Christianization of the ancient English kingdom of Mercia.
With his brother St. Cedd, he was educated at the great abbey of Lindisfarne on Holy Island (off the coast of Northumbria) under its founder, Abbot St. Aidan, and later apparently studied with St. Egbert, a monk at the Irish monastery of Rathmelsigi. Cedd recalled Chad to England to assist in establishing the monastery of Laestingaeu (now Lastingham, North Yorkshire). Upon Cedd’s death in 664, Chad succeeded him to become the second abbot of Laestingaeu, and, probably late in the same year, at the request of King Oswiu (Oswy) of Northumbria, he was consecrated bishop of the Northumbrians (with his see at York).

An ecclesiastical dispute arose because St. Wilfrid had already been chosen bishop of York and had gone to Gaul for his consecration, a mix-up recorded in Venerable Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People (considered to be the best source for Chad’s life). The issue remains confusing. When in 669 the new archbishop, St. Theodore of Canterbury, arrived in England, he charged Chad with improper ordination. On Wilfrid’s return in the same year, Chad resigned York and retired to Laestingaeu. Theodore, however, was so impressed with Chad’s humility that when the bishop of Mercia died he asked King Oswiu to appoint Chad as the bishop’s successor. The king approved, and Chad, having been reconsecrated by Theodore in 669, chose Lichfield, where he built a church and monastery, as the new seat of his diocese.

During the last three years of his life, Chad founded a monastery in Lindsey, on land given him by King Wulfhere of Mercia. In the same area Chad supposedly founded another monastery, at Barrow-upon-Humber. He is noted as having conducted his apostolate zealously, traveling much on foot. He died of plague, and numerous miracles were reported as having taken place at his tomb. His relics, originally in the Cathedral of Lichfield, were saved by faithful Roman Catholics during the destruction wrought by the Reformation and transferred to St. Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham.

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What’s in a symbol?  The little one means something is copyrighted.  Just like the contents of this blog.

I don’t like to post a warning.  I also don’t mind people sharing.  However, wholesale republishing under someone else’s name is not just dishonest, it is a crime.  It is easily found out (as I did today), and the results of discovery might be painful.

The Lenten meditations and prayers I post are from my book manuscript.  It, too, is copyrighted.

I will keep on sharing the daily reflections.  However, please don’t let it come to my attention that you are copying.  As teacher in a happier and more disciplined time was wont to say, “Keep your eyes on your own paper.  Don’t make me use the ruler.”

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robin hood

Robin Hood and the Bishop (1847)


Today, we have the sharpest admonition yet from St. Gregory the Great’s treatise entitled Pastoral Care. Through the eyes of St. Paul the Apostle, the saint warns against those who seek the office for power and position. We clearly have gone a long way in the West from those times when consecration as a bishop was nigh on to a guarantee of martyrdom. (Book I, Chapter 8)

Of those who covet pre-eminence, and seize on the language of the Apostle to serve the purpose of their own cupidity.

For the most part, those who covet pre-eminence seize on the language of the Apostle to serve the purpose of their own cupidity, where St. Paul says, “If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desires a good work.” (I Timothy 3:1) However, while praising the desire, the Apostle immediately turns what he has praised to fear when at once he adds, but a bishop must be blameless. (I Timothy 3:2)

When St. Paul subsequently enumerates the necessary virtues, he makes manifest what this blamelessness consists in. So, with regard to their desire, he approves them, but by his precept he alarms them. It is as if he is saying plainly, “I praise what you seek; but first learn what it is you seek.” If you neglect to measure yourselves, your blamefulness will appear all the fouler for its haste to be seen by all in the highest place of honour. The great master in the art of ruling impels by approval and checks by alarms; so that, by describing the height of blamelessness, he may restrain his hearers from pride, and, by praising the office which is sought, dispose them to the life required.

Nevertheless, it is to be noted that this was said at a time when whosoever was set over people was usually the first to be led to the torments of martyrdom. At that time, therefore, it was laudable to seek the office of a bishop, since through it there was no doubt that a man would come in the end to heavier pains. So it was that even the office of a bishop itself came to be defined as a good work, when it is said, “If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desires a good work. (I Timothy 3:1) Wherefore he that seeks, not this ministry of a good work, but the glory of distinction, is himself a witness against himself that he does not desire the office of a bishop. Inasmuch as that man not only does not love at all the sacred office, but even knows not what it is, who, panting after supreme rule, is fed by the subjection of others in the hidden meditation of his thought, rejoices in his own praises, lifts up his heart to honour, exults in abundant affluence. In this way, worldly gain is sought under color of that honour by which worldly gains should have been destroyed. When the mind thinks to seize on the highest post of humility for its own elation, it inwardly changes what it outwardly desires.

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