Contemplata aliis Tradere

A meagre contribution to the mission and work of the Order of Preachers: my reflections, thoughts, ideas and the occasional rant on matters mainly theological, philosophical and ecclesiastical, drawn primarily from my reading and experience of life and the world. Striving to be always Catholic, firmly Christian and essentially Dominican, flavoured with dashes of Von Balthasar.

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Location: Oxford, United Kingdom

A son of the English Province of the Order of Friars Preachers (Dominicans); born in Malaysia but have lived in the USA, Singapore, the UK & the Philippines for varying durations. A pilgrim and way-farer, a searcher for Truth on the journey of Life... "Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine, There’s always laughter and good red wine. At least I’ve always found it so. Benedicamus Domino!" - Hilaire Belloc

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Sede vacante

As the world now knows, thanks to the excellent coverage on CNN, the Bishop of Rome is now deceased and lies in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican City. John Paul II, a great man, an exemplary spiritual leader, the world only brave moral voice and a Shepherd after the heart Christ and the footprints of Saints Peter and Paul. For 26 years, this pastor and Vicar of Christ shepherded, governed and pastored the flock of God from all kinds of attacks and dangers, he built bridges which had previously been scuppered and fostered reconciliation and peace. He set a clear path for the Church in the Third Millennium after the vision and authentic spirit of Vatican II and he was a faithful custodian of the Faith and Tradition of Christ's Holy Church.

With his demise, the Church and indeed the world enters a new era. John Paul II, you have been a tireless steward of the Lord's household. Now you have departed in peace. May you have eternal rest.

And so, we now enter that rare period called the Interregnum or Sede Vacante. The See of Peter is now vacant and awaits the outcome of the Cardinals' vote, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. For more on what this Sede Vacante period entails, check out this site... Incidentally, the arms shown above are used during an Interregnum.

This morning at 4.24am, my mobile phone rang - it was Fr Terry OP calling me (from downstairs) and he said quite simply: "The Pope is dead." I thanked him for informing me, said a prayer for the repose of the Holy Father's soul and lay in bed thinking. Another two SMSes would reach me with the same news before I decided to get out of bed. A part of me, as I was going to bed last night, though St Faustina would effect a miracle for the Pope and he would recover somewhat from his illness. But instead, the Divine Mercy enveloped him in an ocean of mercy and called Karol Wojtyla home. How fitting this Pope should die on the eve of a Feast instituted by him through the urgings of a Polish nun he canonized...

Even in death, the Pope aids the Church. The CNN's coverage as well as the BBC's has allowed the work, mission and message of the Church - the Gospel of Jesus Christ - to be broadcast almost 24 hours a day to the world. Never before have I seen such an onslaught of religious commentary and appreciation for the work of the Church and her ministers. How wonderful.

Apart from watchinng these events unfold, we Catholics and other men and women of good will can also pray.

As the Holy Father wrote in 1996 in his document regulating the election of a new Pontiff:
"In all cities and other places, at least the more important ones, as soon as news is received of the vacancy of the Apostolic See and, in particular, of the death of the Pope, and following the celebration of his solemn funeral rites, humble and persevering prayers are to be offered to
the Lord (cf Matthew 21:22; Mark 11:24), that he may enlighten the electors and make them so likeminded in their task that a speedy, harmonious and fruitful election may take place, as the salvation of souls and the good of the whole People of God demand."

Let us unite ourselves in prayer during this time and recall the inscription beneath the Divine Mercy image: "Jesus, I trust in you."

O God,
from whom the just receive an unfailing reward,
grant that your servant John Paul, our Pope,
whom you made vicar of Peter and shepherd of your Church,
may rejoice for ever in the vision of your glory,
for he was a faithful steward here on earth
of the mysteries of your forgiveness and grace.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.


Reportedly, 'Amen' was the Holy Father's last words. A fitting end indeed for his life's work is consummated. Amen. So may it be!


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