A common mistake in this ignorant and deluded age is to fondly imagine that someone who is out of the state of grace (e.g. living off the proceeds of crime, such as fraud, burglary, embezzlement and the like; living in sin with a girl- or boyfriend or adulterous partner, committing fornication or worse; living as a Neo-Nazi, hating and attacking one's fellow men on spurious and evil pretexts; etc.), if not still daring to receive Holy Communion (which reception would only increase one's damnation, whatever vile liars may claim), could yet piously pray "Lord, I cannot now receive thee sacramentally, yet come at least spiritually into my heart, filling me with thy saving grace" – while remaining unrepentant. Obviously, one would need to repent of one's sins, making an act of perfect contrition (including the resolution to confess sacramentally as soon as possible, and resolving to amend one's life), else such a pretended spiritual communion would in no way help, but rather be an added blasphemy. Of course, persons may vacillate in the spiritual life as in all else; for just as a person may begin to pray in a state of damnation, yet end the prayer in a state of salvation (so says St Alphonsus, evidently alluding to acts of contrition inter alia), so a person having prayed for deliverance may soon enough slip back into evil habits, since vices enslave each unhappy sinner. It is in this sense that the counsel to make a spiritual communion when unable to receive sacramentally must be taken, according to those words "sinking we strive, yet call to thee for aid", hoping that by struggling to hold one's head above water, rescue may come from above, as it were.
Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Wednesday, November 1, 2017
As always, my spiritual batteries are all recharged, having returned from the wonderful experience of walking and participating in the twenty-seventh annual Christus Rex Pilgrimage, adding my own minor oddities to what Fr Caldow called "the who's who of the Traddy Zoo". Many thanks especially to pilgrim friends of mine, David and Lyle, who between them were great supports, and to Fr Rowe, my erstwhile parish priest, whose private Masses I essayed to serve as always.
I had resolved to receive Holy Communion at each of the five High Masses in worship of the Five Sacred Wounds of Our Lord, which I was able to do, and to focus my devotion said the Chaplet of the Holy Wounds also. There is a pleasing symmetry about the gloriously sung and brilliantly executed Masses: the Requiem for deceased pilgrims at 7 pm at the Cathedral in Ballarat on Thursday evening beforehand; the Votive of the Holy Cross at 6 am (a rather early hour!) at the same on Friday morning; the Votive of Our Lady Help of Christians at 11 am in the pine glade at Campbelltown on Saturday; the Pontifical Mass at the faldstool coram episcopo of Christ the King at 3 pm on Sunday in Bendigo Cathedral; and the Votive of the Trinity at 9 am on Monday morning afterward.
I added a very pleasant coda to the pilgrimage, by driving back to Melbourne airport in a hire car, with stops at Malmsbury (whose Botanic Gardens and Viaduct are well worth looking at) and, my favourite, Hanging Rock – which I successfully climbed during a providential break in rain showers, though I didn't find poor Miranda.