Having Justin back for the week has made a definite difference to the quality of our church music.
It was really good to join the guys (including Chris, visiting from Adelaide) for to practise the Gregorian propers before Mass; and - since the ladies were to be singing as well to-day - to sing out with them, backed by the organ, for the Ordinary ("A People's Mass" by Dom Gregory Murray, a straight-forward setting well-known by all at the Pro.) and for the O sanctissima and Panis angelicus, used as the Offertory and Communion motets.
The beauty of the Gregorian propers really struck me to-day: the Introit, the Gradual, the Alleluia with its great jubilus, the Offertory, the Communion - all excellent.
The organ, too, at moments during the Mass, and the hymns before and after, "On this day the first of days" and a favourite, "Come down O Love Divine": all helped add to the worshipful atmosphere of the sacred and heavenly liturgy.
As preparation, I had prayed Lauds beforehand, and made my confession; and afterward, Prime and Terce.
Fr Rowe had much of benefit to say in the sermon, instructing us on the boat in which Our Lord slept as a figure of the Church and of every Christian soul, beset with the waves and tempests of persecutions, attacks and temptations. Down twenty centuries the Church has endured every attack, both from the wicked world and from enemies hidden in her very bosom, all false teachers and false prophets - but mark that indeed she has endured, and shall abide until the end of time, for Her Lord is with her always (St Matt. xxviii, 20). Likewise for each Christian, "all who want to live a pious life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" (II Tim. iii, 12) - yet, "Blessed are the persecuted" (cf. St Matt. v, 10), "Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been tried, he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him" (James i, 12). God's Providence directs all things, yet not for our temporal advantage so much as for our eternal welfare. "Son, when thou comest to the service of God, stand in justice and in fear, and prepare thy soul for temptation" (Ecclus ii, 1): but remember the words of St James (i, 2-4), "Esteem it all joy, my brethren, when you fall into various trials, knowing that the trying of your faith begets patience. And let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing." Our suffering trials and tests has a threefold benefit: it engenders humility, else we would puff ourselves up with imagined strength; it encourages us to work to attain the virtues, else we should grow lazy and slack by reason of lack of manful exercise and hard training; and by every temptation resisted, we store up the merit that will constitute the degree of our glorification in heaven. The Lord, asleep, manifests in this His human nature, exhausted by His apostolic labours, and pictures the happy repose available only to one possessing a good conscience, able to rest even in the midst of exterior trials; but, arising from sleep (this being a figure of His Resurrection from the dead), He manifests His Divine nature and power, by calming the stormy blast. Our refuge in every danger and peril ought be to call upon the Lord, Who alone is mighty to save: Domine, salva nos, perímus. He will arise, and scatter all adversaries, and bring us unto the haven and harbour of eternal salvation.
Once Mass was over, we all eventually made our way across to and had coffee over at the Royal Perth Hospital, before a number of us drove over to St Anne's, Belmont, to see how the works are progressing there.
Bad news: it now appears that it will be Easter 2009 before we move in!
Rosemary shewed us her many photographs from the Christus Rex pilgrimage, including Mass at Bendigo Cathedral with so much incense that the Host appeared as a scarce-visible disc wanly shining through clouds...
We dropped Chris off at the airport so he could catch his flight back to Adelaide (where I'll see him and other S.A. acquaintances at Mannes' ordination come December), and at present we're just digesting lunch.