• Prayer,  Rosary,  Scripture,  Spiritual Devotions

    A Scriptural Rosary

    Writing to the entire Church at the close of the Jubilee Year in 2000, Pope John Paul II took some time to remind us of the call of the Second Vatican Council that all of us are called to holiness – he wrote that it was necessary to rediscover the full practical significance of this call. He said the Council Fathers wanted “to make the call to holiness an intrinsic and essential aspect of their teaching on the Church” (‘Novo Millennio Ineunte‘, para.30). He added that “The ways of holiness are many, according to the vocation of each individual.” Going on to speak specifically about prayer, the Holy Father noted…

  • Faith and Life,  Mother of God,  Spiritual Devotions

    Reign Of A Queen

    In the last post, I had mentioned the little altar and the crowned statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I noted that although I had thought the altar to be complete, there was actually something crucial missing. At the time, I didn’t know this, of course, though I would soon discover that missing element. In essence, a Queen requires a subject over whom she can reign and to whom she can give direction. As on other occasions, it was all because of my Aunt Margaret. In the summer of 1981, she had shown me an old, small book she had – about four inches by three. It had a hard-boarded…

  • Faith and Life,  Mother of God,  Spiritual Devotions

    Upon Her Head

    In an earlier post, I had mentioned that the little altar here in the study has a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which bears a crown. While many Catholics will have some familiarity with such a thing and so will not be at all surprised to read this, there may well be others who wonder about this seemingly odd thing to do. And so, I though it might be useful to write a little more about this, how the statue came to be there and to be crowned in the first place. For anyone who reads anything of what I write, you may not be surprised to learn that…

  • Prayer,  Rosary,  Spiritual Devotions

    The Child and the Rosary

    I remember, as a very little child, watching my mother praying her Rosary. I was fascinated by the beads – what were they and what were they for? How did you pray the Rosary? I wanted beads of my own and, as best I can remember, I was finally given my first Rosary around the time I made my First Holy Communion – a little set of pale blue beads, now long gone. For a long time, I didn’t really understand the Rosary – I knew what to do with the beads, what prayers to say, but I don’t expect I did it particularly well to begin with. A slightly…

  • Faith and Life,  Spiritual Devotions

    Ecclesia Domestica

    When I was teenager, my Aunt Margaret showed me a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes which she had in her cupboard – she had brought it back with her from a visit to Lourdes in 1958. After some pleading, and as she wasn’t using it, she gave me the statue. Taking it home, I set up a little personal altar in my bedroom, adorning it with candles and flowers and even – later on – making a little crown out of old jewellery, with which I solemnly crowned the statue. Some forty-five years after that time, I sill have a little altar at home. It is just to the…