Virgin of Vladimir (+ image by the hand of Stephen Allison 2008)

Sunday, 27 January 2013


Notes of meeting on 22 January 2013

Group coming before the baby Jesus and worshipping him offering our lives and all our talents in his service.

Jesus standing before us enveloping us in his light. His very life through the action of the Holy Spirit entering our hearts magnifying our gifts and talents for the use of the Kingdom. This is a preparation and though much would be asked of us he Jesus would equip us with authority in his name.
"You will be like lambs among wolves yet none shall hurt you" (Luke 10 v3)

2 Thessalonians 3 v 1-5
1 Finally, brothers, pray for us that the Lord's message may spread quickly, and be received with honour as it was among you;
2 and pray that we may be preserved from bigoted and evil people, for not everyone has faith.
3 You can rely on the Lord, who will give you strength and guard you from the evil One,
4 and we, in the Lord, have every confidence in you, that you are doing and will go on doing all that we tell you.
5 May the Lord turn your hearts towards the love of God and the perseverance of Christ.

Amos 8 v 4 -  and 9 v 8- 15
4 Listen to this, you who crush the needy and reduce the oppressed to nothing,
5 you who say, 'When will New Moon be over so that we can sell our corn, and Sabbath, so that we can market our wheat? Then, we can make the bushel-measure smaller and the shekel-weight bigger, by fraudulently tampering with the scales.
6 We can buy up the weak for silver and the poor for a pair of sandals, and even get a price for the sweepings of the wheat.'
7 Yahweh has sworn by the pride of Jacob, 'Never will I forget anything they have done.'
9 'On that Day- declares the Lord Yahweh- I shall make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight.
10 I shall turn your festivals into mourning and all your singing into lamentation; I shall make you all wear sacking round your waists and have all your heads shaved. I shall make it like the mourning for an only child, and it will end like the bitterest of days.
11 'The days are coming- declares the Lord Yahweh- when I shall send a famine on the country, not hunger for food, not thirst for water, but famine for hearing Yahweh's word.
12 People will stagger from sea to sea, will wander from the north to the east, searching for Yahweh's word, but will not find it.
13 'That Day, fine girls and stalwart youths will faint from thirst.
14 The people who swear by the Sin of Samaria, who say, "Long live your god, Dan!" and "Hurrah for the pilgrimage to Beersheba!" will all fall, never to rise again.'

8 Look, Lord Yahweh's eyes are on the sinful kingdom, I shall wipe it off the face of the earth, although I shall not destroy the House of Jacob completely -declares Yahweh.
9 For look, I shall give the command and shall shake out the House of Israel among all nations as a sieve is shaken out without one grain falling on the ground.
10 All the sinners of my people will perish by the sword, who say, 'Disaster will never approach or overtake us.'
11 On that Day, I shall rebuild the tottering hut of David, make good the gaps in it, restore its ruins and rebuild it as it was in the days of old,
12 for them to be master of what is left of Edom and of all the nations once called mine -Yahweh declares, and he will perform it.
13 The days are coming- declares Yahweh- when the ploughman will tread on the heels of the reaper, and the treader of grapes on the heels of the sower of seed, and the mountains will run with new wine and the hills all flow with it.
14 I shall restore the fortunes of my people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them, they will plant vineyards and drink their wine, they will lay out gardens and eat their produce.
15 And I shall plant them in their own soil and they will never be uprooted again from the country which I have given them, declares Yahweh, your God.

2 Peter 1 v 2 -11
2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of our Lord.
3 By his divine power, he has lavished on us all the things we need for life and for true devotion, through the knowledge of him who has called us by his own glory and goodness.
4 Through these, the greatest and priceless promises have been lavished on us, that through them you should share the divine nature and escape the corruption rife in the world through disordered passion.
5 With this in view, do your utmost to support your faith with goodness, goodness with understanding,
6 understanding with self-control, self-control with perseverance, perseverance with devotion,
7 devotion with kindness to the brothers, and kindness to the brothers with love.
8 The possession and growth of these qualities will prevent your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ from being ineffectual or unproductive.
9 But without them, a person is blind or short-sighted, forgetting how the sins of the past were washed away.
10 Instead of this, brothers, never allow your choice or calling to waver; then there will be no danger of your stumbling,
11 for in this way you will be given the generous gift of entry to the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

We are here to praise You

Notes of Meeting 15 January 2013

Thank you Lord for taking us just as we are and accepting of our praise and worship.

Ephesians 1 v 3-23
3 Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all the spiritual blessings of heaven in Christ.
4 Thus he chose us in Christ before the world was made to be holy and faultless before him in love,
5 marking us out for himself beforehand, to be adopted sons, through Jesus Christ. Such was his purpose and good pleasure,
6 to the praise of the glory of his grace, his free gift to us in the Beloved,
7 in whom, through his blood, we gain our freedom, the forgiveness of our sins. Such is the richness of the grace
8 which he has showered on us in all wisdom and insight.
9 He has let us know the mystery of his purpose, according to his good pleasure which he determined beforehand in Christ,
10 for him to act upon when the times had run their course: that he would bring everything together under Christ, as head, everything in the heavens and everything on earth.
11 And it is in him that we have received our heritage, marked out beforehand as we were, under the plan of the One who guides all things as he decides by his own will,
12 chosen to be, for the praise of his glory, the people who would put their hopes in Christ before he came.
13 Now you too, in him, have heard the message of the truth and the gospel of your salvation, and having put your trust in it you have been stamped with the seal of the Holy Spirit of the Promise,
14 who is the pledge of our inheritance, for the freedom of the people whom God has taken for his own, for the praise of his glory.
15 That is why I, having once heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus, and your love for all God's holy people,
16 have never failed to thank God for you and to remember you in my prayers.
17 May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a spirit of wisdom and perception of what is revealed, to bring you to full knowledge of him.
18 May he enlighten the eyes of your mind so that you can see what hope his call holds for you, how rich is the glory of the heritage he offers among his holy people,
19 and how extraordinarily great is the power that he has exercised for us believers; this accords with the strength of his power
20 at work in Christ, the power which he exercised in raising him from the dead and enthroning him at his right hand, in heaven,
21 far above every principality, ruling force, power or sovereignty, or any other name that can be named, not only in this age but also in the age to come.
22 He has put all things under his feet, and made him, as he is above all things, the head of the Church;
23 which is his Body, the fullness of him who is filled, all in all.

Acts 5 v 27 - 42
27 When they had brought them in to face the Sanhedrin, the high priest demanded an explanation.
28 'We gave you a strong warning', he said, 'not to preach in this name, and what have you done? You have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and seem determined to fix the guilt for this man's death on us.'
29 In reply Peter and the apostles said, 'Obedience to God comes before obedience to men;
30 it was the God of our ancestors who raised up Jesus, whom you executed by hanging on a tree.
31 By his own right hand God has now raised him up to be leader and Saviour, to give repentance and forgiveness of sins through him to Israel.
32 We are witnesses to this, we and the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.'
33 This so infuriated them that they wanted to put them to death.
34 One member of the Sanhedrin, however, a Pharisee called Gamaliel, who was a teacher of the Law respected by the whole people, stood up and asked to have the men taken outside for a time.
35 Then he addressed the Sanhedrin, 'Men of Israel, be careful how you deal with these people.
36 Some time ago there arose Theudas. He claimed to be someone important, and collected about four hundred followers; but when he was killed, all his followers scattered and that was the end of them.
37 And then there was Judas the Galilean, at the time of the census, who attracted crowds of supporters; but he was killed too, and all his followers dispersed.
38 What I suggest, therefore, is that you leave these men alone and let them go. If this enterprise, this movement of theirs, is of human origin it will break up of its own accord;
39 but if it does in fact come from God you will be unable to destroy them. Take care not to find yourselves fighting against God.' His advice was accepted;
40 and they had the apostles called in, gave orders for them to be flogged, warned them not to speak in the name of Jesus and released them.
41 And so they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, glad to have had the honour of suffering humiliation for the sake of the name.
42 Every day they went on ceaselessly teaching and proclaiming the good news of Christ Jesus, both in the temple and in private houses.

Luke 10 v 17-24
17 The seventy-two came back rejoicing. 'Lord,' they said, 'even the devils submit to us when we use your name.'
18 He said to them, 'I watched Satan fall like lightning from heaven.
19 Look, I have given you power to tread down serpents and scorpions and the whole strength of the enemy; nothing shall ever hurt you.
20 Yet do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you; rejoice instead that your names are written in heaven.'
21 Just at this time, filled with joy by the Holy Spirit, he said, 'I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to little children. Yes, Father, for that is what it has pleased you to do.
22 Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.'
23 Then turning to his disciples he spoke to them by themselves, 'Blessed are the eyes that see what you see,
24 for I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see, and never saw it; to hear what you hear, and never heard it.'

Prayer for the gift of Faith

Let us not lose sight of Jesus, who leads us in our FAITH and brings it to perfection (Heb 12 v 2)

Lord Jesus, have mercy on me a sinner. Open my heart to your gift of faith. Give me light that I may have eyes to see You, ears to hear You, and a heart to understand love and obey You.
Remove any obstacles in me to your saving grace, and enable me to surrender completely with joy and gratitude to You as my Lord and my God. I repent of any rebellion, whether known or unknown.
Mother Mary, model of faith and Spouse of the Holy Spirit, help me now with your prayers, and lead me to your Son Jesus. Amen

Year of Faith 2012 - 2013 Post No 4

Prayer for the gift of Faith

Let us not lose sight of Jesus, who leads us in our FAITH and brings it to perfection (Heb 12 v 2)

Lord Jesus, have mercy on me a sinner. Open my heart to your gift of faith. Give me light that I may have eyes to see You, ears to hear You, and a heart to understand love and obey You.
Remove any obstacles in me to your saving grace, and enable me to surrender completely with joy and gratitude to You as my Lord and my God. I repent of any rebellion, whether known or unknown.
Mother Mary, model of faith and Spouse of the Holy Spirit, help me now with your prayers, and lead me to your Son Jesus. Amen


We want this Year to arouse in every believer the aspiration to profess the faith in fullness and with renewed conviction, with confidence and hope. It will also be a good opportunity to intensify the celebration of the faith in the liturgy, especially in the Eucharist, which is “the summit towards which the activity of the Church is directed; ... and also the source from which all its power flows.” At the same time, we make it our prayer that believers’ witness of life may grow in credibility. To rediscover the content of the faith that is professed, celebrated, lived and prayed, and to reflect on the act of faith, is a task that every believer must make his own, especially in the course of this Year.

By faith, the disciples formed the first community, gathered around the teaching of the Apostles, in prayer, in
celebration of the Eucharist, holding their possessions in common so as to meet the needs of the brethren (cf.
Acts 2:42-47).


Come and join us for a Year of Faith Mass on Tuesday 26 February 2013 at St Mary's Presbytery, 2 Major Street, Stockton on Tees TS18 2DD. Start 8pm (Rosary 7.30). All Welcome.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Theotokos - Mother of God

I just wanted to share this from Fr Robert Barron's book 'Catholicism'.
It explains the reason why Mary is called 'Theotokos'  meaning 'God bearer' or 'the one who bore God' and as we more commonly say 'Mother of God'.


As he was dying on the cross, Jesus looked to his mother and to the disciple whom he loved, and he said to Mary, “Woman, behold, your son,” and then to John, “Behold, your mother” (Jn 19:26–27). We are told that “from that hour the disciple took her into his own home” (Jn 19:27). This text supports an ancient tradition that the apostle John took Mary with him when he traveled to Ephesus in Asia Minor and that both ended their days in that city. Indeed, on the top of a high hill overlooking the Aegean Sea, just outside Ephesus, there is a modest dwelling that tradition holds to be the house of Mary. In the year 431 a great council of the church met in the cathedral of Ephesus in order to adjudicate a bitter dispute about the identity of Jesus, but the debate became focused on a technical question in regard to Mary, namely, whether she could legitimately be called Theotokos, or Mother of God. The council fathers were trying to understand Jesus more accurately, precisely by teasing out the implications of the conversation that took place between the girl of Nazareth and the angel of the Annunciation.
The background for this council meeting at Ephesus is fascinating. We have to begin by returning, once more, to that conversation at Caesarea-Philippi, when Jesus asked the disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” That question, especially in light of the resurrection, haunted the minds of the members of the ancient church, and the best intellects of the time strove to answer it accurately. Important steps were taken at the Council of Nicaea in 325, when Jesus was declared to be homoousios (one in being) with the Father, and at the Council of Constantinople in 381, when that teaching was reiterated. But in the 420s a controversy arose over the teaching of Nestorius, who was the patriarch of Constantinople and a much-revered theological figure. Influenced by the school of Antioch, which placed a great stress on the humanity of Jesus, Nestorius said that in Christ two distinct persons—one divine and one human—come together in a kind of moral union. This meant that Mary, who was responsible only for the human element in Jesus, could be called Christotokos (mother of Christ) but not Theotokos (mother of God). In fact, Nestorius argued, the use of that latter title would be the height of blasphemy, since it would imply that a mere human being had a sort of primacy over God. Cyril, the bishop of Alexandria, and another theological heavyweight, was so outraged by Nestorius’s position that he called the bishop of Constantinople a heretic. The ecumenical council of Ephesus was summoned in order to resolve this controversy. After much deliberation during the summer of 431, the council fathers taught that Jesus ought not to be understood as a human person with a particularly intense relationship to the person of God, for that would make him a kind of supreme saint but not the incarnate Son of God. And if he were not himself divine, he would require a saviour as much as anyone else. Rather it was decided that in the unity of his person both divinity and humanity come together. And this meant, they concluded, that Nestorius was wrong to deny Mary the title Theotokos, for if Jesus was divine and Mary was the mother of Jesus, then Mary could and should be called the Mother of God. To Nestorius’s point about the blasphemous nature of this description, the council fathers said that Mary is not the mother of Jesus’s divinity, but the mother of Jesus, who is, in fact, divine.
The declaration of Mary as Mother of God is an instance of the general principle that whatever is said about Mary is meant not so much to draw attention to her as to throw light on Christ. To say that Mary is the Mother of God is to insist on the density of the claim that God truly became human, one of us, bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. As Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen commented, “Mary is like the moon, for her light is always the reflection of a higher light.”

Barron, Robert (2011-11-01). Catholicism (Enhanced Edition) (Kindle Locations 1445-1448). Image. Kindle Edition.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Notes from Praise and Intercession Meeting of 18 December 2012

The Holy Family, Jesus in the Crib the angels in the heavens with the sun moon planets and the stars..the earth and all the universe placed at the feet of the Christ child.

Hebrews 2 v 5-10
5 It was not under angels that he put the world to come, about which we are speaking.
6 Someone witnesses to this somewhere with the words: What are human beings that you spare a thought for them, a child of Adam that you care for him?
7 For a short while you have made him less than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honour,
8 put all things under his feet. For in putting all things under him he made no exceptions. At present, it is true, we are not able to see that all things are under him,
9 but we do see Jesus, who was for a short while made less than the angels, now crowned with glory and honour because he submitted to death; so that by God's grace his experience of death should benefit all humanity.
10 It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should, in bringing many sons to glory, make perfect through suffering the leader of their salvation.

In the fullness of time.
In the fullness of time Jesus was born;
In the fullness of time Jesus walked among us;
In the fullness of time Jesus died on the cross;
In the fullness of time Jesus rose from the dead;
In the fullness of time Jesus ascended to his Father and Our Father;
In the fullness of time Jesus with the Father sent the Holy Spirit upon us;
In the fullness of time we will be with Jesus in our heavenly home.

Picture of a tree in the desert, and then of a table (altar) of giving.