Thursday, 15 September 2011

Patron Saint

St Alban Psalter, University of Aberdeen

We are putting Juventutem London under the patronage of St Mary Magdalene. At some point in the future, this may be done formally.

Our reason for doing this is that we feel that St Mary epitomises everything that we are trying to do with Juventutem London. This passage from the Holy Gospel of St John may illustrate this:

Mary therefore took a pound of ointment of right spikenard, of great price, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. Then one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, he that was about to betray him, said: Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence and given to the poor? Now he said this not because he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, having the purse, carried the things that were put therein. Jesus therefore said: Let her alone, that she may keep it against the day of my burial. For the poor you have always with you: but me you have not always. 
John 12.3-8
Juventutem London, however inadequately, attempts to emulate the service of love and adoration this great woman rendered to Our Lord. Of course, the intrinsic value of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, however it is offered, is infinite. We can do nothing to augment that. The Holy Mass is none other than an un-bloody re-presentation of the sacrifice of Calvary - through his human instrument, the same divine Priest offers the same divine Victim.

Nonetheless, the extrinsic value of the Holy Mass is something finite and contingent. United to his once-and-for-all sacrifice, Our Lord deigns to give value to our meagre sacrifices, our latest struggles, and our feeble attempts to raise the beauty of the finite 'Accidents' of the Holy Mass to that of its infinite 'Substance'. Like the poor of the past - sneered at now by modern men for building beautiful churches at great cost - we too are pursuing something beautiful, to be shared by all.

Under the patronage of St Mary, may we be drawn into that 'one thing necessary', that 'better part' chosen by St Mary, in the contemplation of Almighty God in the Mass. May we ensure that, like St Mary's extravagant gesture in the passage above, we give Our Lord the best and most magnificent service we can.

In the eyes of the World, the silent contemplation of the faithful at the Traditional Latin Mass is foolish. In the eyes of the World, the use of beauty and fine things in the Liturgy is scandalously wasteful.

But though our poor efforts to love our Lord may never reach the dizzying heights of our holy patroness, we can give it a go.

If you would like to help with this: