Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Yesterday in St Peter's Square the Pope performed the Act of Consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary before the statue of Our Lady of Fatima, which had been brought specially from Portugal on this day, the 96th anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun.

The Pope incenses the statue of Our Lady of Fatima yesterday


Here is the text of the Pope's prayer of consecration:

Holy Mary Virgin of Fatima,
with renewed gratitude for your maternal presence
we join our voice to that of all the generations
who call you blessed.
We celebrate in you the works of God,
who never tires of looking down with mercy
upon humanity, afflicted with the wound of sin,
to heal it and save it.
Accept with the benevolence of a Mother
the act of consecration that we perform today with confidence,
before this image of you that is so dear to us.
We are certain that each of us is precious in your eyes
and that nothing of all that lives in our hearts is unknown to you.
We let ourselves be touched by your most sweet regard
and we welcome the consoling caress of your smile.
Hold our life in your arms:
bless and strengthen every desire for good;
revive and nourish faith;
sustain and enlighten hope;
awaken and animate charity;
guide all of us along the path of holiness.
Teach us your own preferential love
for the little and the poor,
for the excluded and the suffering,
for sinners and the downhearted:
bring everyone under your protection
and entrust everyone to your beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus.

Translation by Joseph Trabbic on Zenit

I saw some of the morning liturgy thanks to EWTN on a friend's portable device yesterday evening. Mgr Marini was very much in evidence as Papal MC and in the style of the liturgy- the Benedictine influence appeared also to be very much in evidence in what was happening, in the arrangement of the altar and it all combined to give the occasion the dignity appropriate to such a significant event.

My own devotion to the concept, and indedd, reality of the Immaculate Heart is something which I realise has developed since I became a Catholic. From being something that appeared a rather rarified development I have come through things like the story of the Miraculous Medal and reflection not only on the story of Fatima, but also reading books such those of St Louis de Montfort to see it as part of the rich tapestry of the Faith.

The oft repeated request for consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart by those concerned to fulfill the reported words of Our Lady in 1917 has now, hopefully, been carried out. That should ease the concerns of some. On the other hand, as a friend said to me yesterday, what will some progressive voices make of the Pope for such an action, which they may well see as harking back to a folk piety of the past? Like his predecessor Pope Francis is a Pope of Surprises.


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