Sunday, February 3, 2008

Successful Novena

All prayers are answered - but the answer given may not be that solicited!

As St Ambrose warns us, "God often grants in His wrath what He withholds in His mercy"... For after all, has not God determined from all eternity what shall come to pass, by His secret and unsearchable decrees of Divine Providence and Predestination? What then of free will? - well, God is so great as to be able to create beings with free will, but of course He knows what decisions each and all shall freely make. What then of prayer? - as St Gregory observes, "God hath determined from all eternity that certain favours shall only be granted at the intercession of His saints" (whether on earth below or in heaven above, united as all are in the communio sanctorum). It is a marvellous property of God that He prefers to work through secondary causes, as in giving new creatures life, not by creating them ex nihilo, but by the agency of procreation; similarly, by prayer we assist in the ongoing work of creation, indeed of redemption, of recreation. We do not pray, Aquinas writes, so much as to change God's Will, as to change our will, that it may be conformed to the Divine Will: "Thy Will be done". We ask favours, then, confident that our Good God shall grant much more than we ask for or even imagine.

By the example of Our Lady and the Apostles, foregathered in the Cenacle at Our Lord's command, ere He ascended, to pray for and await in hope the coming of the Holy Ghost the Paraclete, we learn that a nine days' prayer is approved by the inspired Word as suitable for the beseeching great favours. For this reason, the Church commends the making of Novenas, not by any pretended efficacy of nine redoublings of prayer, but in holy imitation of the confident petition of the first believers, which was sealed and proven by the descent of the Divine Spirit at Pentecost.

Led by Fr Rowe, the Latin Mass parish has made a novena - to St Brigid, whose feast occurred recently - and today, the Novena having concluded, we learnt what success it has achieved: while not all details are yet settled, in principle St Brigid's, West Perth, will become the new home for the Latin Mass apostolate in the Archdiocese of Perth. St Brigid's is a handsome, well-equipped, and *much larger* church than the Pro., which has become too small for the burgeoning congregation hearing Mass therein. Deo gratias!

We thank St Brigid, ever enjoying the Beatific Vision, for having aided her clients with her powerful prayers, that the little ones of Christ here on earth, howsoever stricken and sin-stained, yet humble members of the suffering Body of Christ, the Church Militant, have been helped by one of the strong limbs of the Body of Christ in the Church Triumphant, to attain a favour - a great favour, conducing we trust to the achievement of their eternal salvation by reason of their greater and more convenient access to the Sacraments and Offices of Holy Mother Church.

1 comment:

Joshua said...

Alas! The Archbishop giveth, the Archbishop taketh away - blessed be His Grace the Archbishop.

Some time after I posted this, the proposed transfer to St Brigid's Church was rescinded; and later still we were allotted St Anne's, Belmont, instead.