Episode 10 – Rachel Fulton Brown on How A True, Medieval-Style Devotion to Mary Will Save the Faith and the Culture

Episode 10 – Rachel Fulton Brown on How A True, Medieval-Style Devotion to Mary Will Save the Faith and the Culture

The traditional interpretation of scripture and reading of the cosmos - the Book of Nature - sees Mary in almost every detail, who then, in turn, shows us her Son. Until we rediscover that art of seeing the interrelatedness of all things around us, and that so much that is good is in some way a sign that points to God, through Mary, we cannot create a culture that reflects cosmic, and hence Divine beauty.

Episode 8 – The Story of the Red Telephone Box... What's That Got to Do With Liturgy?

Episode 8 – The Story of the Red Telephone Box... What's That Got to Do With Liturgy?

David Clayton talks to Charlie Deist about this iconic peice of street furniture, how it’s design is influenced by high architecture and the liturgy and why this is an inspirition for all designers today who want to elevate souls as well as make more money!

Episode 6 – How the Liturgy Informs and Transforms the Culture

This week David talks to Charlie about how the liturgy and not socio-economic factors is the most powerful influence on the culture. And how it is the beauty of an authentic liturgical culture that is the driving force. 

We quote John Paul II from his encyclical Centesimus Annus

[...I]t is not possible to understand man on the basis of economics alone, nor to define him simply on the basis of class membership. Man is understood in a more complete way when he is situated within the sphere of culture through his language, history, and the position he takes towards the fundamental events of life, such as birth, love, work, and death. At the heart of every culture lies the attitude man takes to the greatest mystery: the mystery of God. Different cultures are basically different ways of facing the question of the meaning of personal existence. When this question is eliminated, the culture and moral life of nations are corrupted.

, and Pope Pius XII who wrote the encyclical Mediator Dei on the liturgy, and included reference to sacred art. We refer to the following passage:

"195. What We have said about music, applies to the other fine arts, especially to architecture, sculpture and painting. Recent works of art which lend themselves to the materials of modern composition, should not be universally despised and rejected through prejudice. Modern art should be given free scope in the due and reverent service of the church and the sacred rites, provided that they preserve a correct balance between styles tending neither to extreme realism nor to excessive "symbolism," and that the needs of the Christian community are taken into consideration rather than the particular taste or talent of the individual artist. Thus modern art will be able to join its voice to that wonderful choir of praise to which have contributed, in honor of the Catholic faith, the greatest artists throughout the centuries. Nevertheless, in keeping with the duty of Our office, We cannot help deploring and condemning those works of art, recently introduced by some, which seem to be a distortion and perversion of true art and which at times openly shock Christian taste, modesty and devotion, and shamefully offend the true religious sense. These must be entirely excluded and banished from our churches, like "anything else that is not in keeping with the sanctity of the place."

And consider the following pictures. From the Baroque period of the 17th century:

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St Jerome Reading by Georges De La Tours, French 17th century

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A portrait painted by St Anthony Van Dyck when a teenager and a student of Rubens. Flemish, 17th century.

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Landscape by Corot, French, 19th century

And we consider the following buildings in our discussion of the Victorian Neo-Gothic

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St Mary's Catholic Cathedral, designed by AW Pugin, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, england, 19th century.

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St Mary's Newcastle-upon-Tyne, interior.

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The Anglican Cathedral, Liverpool, England, designed by Sir Giles Gilbert-Scott, begun early 20th century, completed 1978.

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Paddy's Wigwam - the Catholic Cathedral, Liverpool, start and completed in the 1960s.

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The K-2 telephone box, designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, with Queen Elizabeth Tower housing Big Ben, in the background, designed by AW Pugin.

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Street furniture that is derived from and points to the liturgical culture. Icons of the English landscape - the red letter box and the red phone box.

Episode 4 - Contemplative Prayer with Visual Images and Transformation

Here is an in-depth explanation of how to do meditation and contemplation with sacred art, and how it helps to transform us in preparation for the highest prayer - liturgical prayer. 

As you pray, keep in mind two sayings:

'Success in prayer is not measured by how we feel during the prayer, but from the work we put in', and 'in spiritual matters, it is in the trying that we are successful.'

Remember also, the spiritual life is about happiness, but while meditation and contemplation can be very pleasant experiences, they can also be dry and distracted. If we give this our best shot, it will contribute to our general happiness not simply to a feeling during the prayer itself. 

Here we go!

I start by doing a short meditation of gratitude - in which I list 10 or so items from the day that are good and thank God for them; and a review of conscience in which I look at my resentments and fears, acknowledge my sins and ask for forgiveness (see the daily routine in The Vision for You book).

1. Exclamation: Blessed be God. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Three persons and one God. 

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Praise: Psalm 116 (117) O praise the Lord all ye nations, praise him all ye peoples, for his merciful kindness is more and more toward us; and the truth of the Lord endureth forever. 

Penitence: Lord have mercy (3 times) 

Petition: Father, may the Holy Spirit lead me to Jesus, in Jesus Name, Amen. 

Prayer from the heart: Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner (8 repetitions). Repeat this prayer as a way of eliminating distraction. If thoughts occur during let the good ones go through to their resolution and even be ready to write it down if its something worth remembering. If it is a bad thought, refocus on the Jesus prayer.

At the end of these eight meditations, I pray an extended period of contemplation. I set the clock to 15 minutes and repeat the Jesus prayer again (I will mention this at the end also).

2. Exclamation: Blessed be God, in His angels and in His Saints.

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              Psalm 116 (117), Lord have mercy (3 times)

Petition: Oh you saints and angels in heaven, pray for me to Lord our God, that I may have all that I desire most deeply and all that is good for me, but only in accordance with His will. Father, hear our prayers, in Jesus Name, Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner (8 repetitions)

3. Exclamation: Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most holy.

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              Psalm 116 (117), Lord have mercy (3 times)

Petition: Mary, Mother of God, please show me your Son. Pray for me to the Lord our God, that I may have all that I most deeply desire, and all that is good for me, but only in accordance with His will. Father, hear our prayers, in Jesus Name, Amen.

              Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner (8 repetitions)

4. Exclamation: Blessed be Jesus Christ, True God, and True Man. Behold the Lamb of God.

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              Psalm 116 (117), Lord have mercy (3 times)

Petition: Oh God, take away my sins and the fears and resentments that arise from them. Let me die with you spiritually through baptism Amen. In Jesus' name, Amen

              Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner (8 repetitions)

5. Exclamation: Blessed be Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, my Lord and my God.

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              Psalm 116 (117), Lord have mercy (3 times)

Petition: Oh God, let me rise spiritually through confirmation and through the power of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus' name, Amen

              Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner (8 repetitions)

6. Exclamation: Blessed be Jesus Christ, ascended into heaven and seated at the right hand of the Father, and the Holy Spirit the Paraclete descending upon us.

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              An alternative image might be Pentecost

Psalm 116 (117), Lord have mercy (3 times)

Petition: Oh God, let me partake of the divine nature and enter into the mystery of the Trinity through the Eucharist in the sure and certain hope of bodily resurrection after death. In Jesus' name, Amen

              Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner (8 repetitions)

7. Blessed be God, Our Father in Heaven whom I behold through Jesus in the Spirit.

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              Psalm 116 (117), Lord have mercy (3 times)

Petition: Oh Father, grant all that I deeply desire and all that is good for me in accordance with your will. In Jesus' name Amen

              Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner (8 repetitions)

8. Blessed be Jesus Christ and His Mystical Body, the Church, transfigured and shining with uncreated light.

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              Psalm 116 (117), Lord have mercy (3 times)

Oh God, let me shine with the Light of Christ as I go out into the world that I may draw others to you, for their joy and peace and Your greater glory. In Jesus name, Amen

              Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner (8 repetitions)

Extended contemplation: Then the contemplation stage begins. I always repeat Jesus Prayers as described in order to eliminate distraction, while being alert to other thoughts that crop into my mind. I follow the good trains of thought and if necessary write things down so that I can remember them afterwards. If bad thoughts occur I focus more on the repetition of the Jesus Prayer.

Philippians 4:6: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Book: The Wellspring of Worship by Jean Corbon.

Book: The Spirit of the Liturgy by Benedict XVI

Episode 3 - The Domestic Church and the New Evangelization

These are two old ideas that are new to many people today, and surprisingly they are connected. Pope Benedict XVI told us that the driving force for the New Evangelization is the Domestic Church. Prayer in the home focussed on a place set aside for it and marked by sacred images goes back to Roman times; the method of seeking to evangelize the post-Christian West termed the New Evangelization. So while the problem is new - how do we convert people whose parents or grandparents were Christian and think they already know enough about the Faith to know they don't like it? - the answer is the same as it ever was. We must be supernaturally transformed, shining with the love of Christ so people want what we have! And it is prayer in the Domestic Church that plays a crucial part in that personal transformation.

Links and quotes: 

Therefore, it must be emphasized once more that the pastoral intervention of the Church in support of the family is a matter of urgency. Every effort should be made to strengthen and develop pastoral care for the family, which should be treated as a real matter of priority, in the certainty that future evangelization depends largely on the domestic Church.
— Pope Benedict XVI, address to the PLENARY ASSEMBLY OF THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE FAMILY, Clementine Hall, Thursday, 1 December 2011
The family is the first school of prayer where, from their infancy, children learn to perceive God thanks to the teaching and example of their parents. An authentically Christian education cannot neglect the experience of prayer. If we do not learn to pray in the family, it will be difficult to fill this gap later.
— John Paul II, Weekly address, the Vatican, Dec 2011

Weekly address, the Vatican, Dec 2011

Pope Benedict XVI, as Cardinal Ratzinger: on the New Evangelization

Way of Beauty blog article: The New Evangelization and the Domestic Church - Pope Benedict XVI on the connection between the two

Pictures of Roman home altars and dining arrangements, followed by a modern icon corner:

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Episode 1 – The Vision for You: Finding Your Perfect Life

This is the title of my latest book and it describes the story of how I was persuaded nearly 30 years ago, by a man called David Birtwistle, to do a series of spiritual exercises that enabled me to fulfill my dream of being an artist. I started off as a bitter, anti-Christian atheist yet he persuaded me to give it a go. As a result, I not only became an artist, I became a Catholic!