Monday, January 21, 2008

Heralds of the Gospel in Balham

On Sunday 20th January, Br Aldo Leone of the Heralds of the Gospel spoke to Forum Christi. The Heralds of the Gospel are a new community (they are not a religious order since they do not take vows) who gained official approval from Pope John Paul II in 2001. Their mother house is in Brazil, and they now have houses in almost 30 countries. For more information see their website key phrase that Br Aldo used in his talk was "Whatever God gave to the synagogue (in the Old Testament) he gave to the Catholic Church in higher degree". He specifically talked about prophets - we are familiar with the old testament prophets of Moses, Isaiah, etc. but generally don't think about there being prophets after the time of Jesus. However Br Aldo took us through a history of the Church, and showed that wherever there were problems in the world, God sent a new prophet through the founders of the religious orders: St Benedict founded the Benedictines, St Dominic founded the Fransiscans to combat the Albigensens, St Ignatius Loyola founded the Jesuits as a reaction to Protestantism, and in more recent times St Josemaria Escriva founded Opus Dei to show lay people that they too have a call to holiness. The Heralds of the Gospel are involved in evangelisation, particularly using the beauty of music and art as evangelisation tools. In London they have a statue of Our Lady of Fatima which they take into people's houses and this gives them a good opening to begin to talk about the Gospel.Br Aldo described the habit of the Heralds of the Gospel in great detail:

  • boots - a reminder of discipline and the orders of chivalry
  • brown scapula - reminder of the Carmelites
  • St James' cross - the apostle James was always enthusiastic and the cross reminds them that they should be enthusiastic in their work
  • the colours white, gold and red - these represent the purity of Mary, faith, and the blood of sacrifice
  • white tunic - from the work monks do
  • chain (instead of a belt) - they are slaves to Our Lady
  • Rosary beads
  • hood - when up this represents the isolation of prayer as we all need to spend time alone talking to Jesus
  • badge containing the three pillars of their spirituality - keys of St Peter (representing the Pope), Our Lady, and the Blessed Sacrament