Friday, February 12, 2016

Shrovetide and Lent....youth and age...

...began for me with young relatives in the West of England. A delicious breakfast, and a small great-niece about  to be introduced to the seasonal traditions with a Pancake Race planned for the village later in the day.  There was much discussion about the weather, because with the river in flood it looked as though the bridge might have to be closed and the traditional race re-routed or abandoned...somehow time merges into history when  a new generatiion is told about an old custom, and a new cycle of seasons rolls on...

I had to return to London and the train swooshed past flooded fields ...and so home in mild sunshine...and a minor flood in the house, where an ageing radiator had sprung a leak. Much mopping of carpets and telephoning for a plumber and so on...

Then Ash Wednesday, and  ashes at the nursing home where a beloved elderly relative  lives. A quietly beautiful ceremony, the traditional cross of ashes places on our foreheads by a kindly visiting  Bishop I first knew as a teenager...again a sense of time and history merging...

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

...There is something about getting older...

...that gives you a longer perspective, a telescope to see much further. You can look further back, and it gives you insights into the way things work and the way time rolls on. 

Some day, probably in about 20 or 25 years from now, there will be people taking out lawsuits because they were given as children to enthusiastic homosexual campaigners as part of a massive drive to boost what is today called "gay adoption". They will want to know who they really are, and what unknown uncles and aunts and cousins they may have. They will want to know why they were obliged to be brought up in a lifestyle that they were never allowed to criticise and why anyone who expressed sympathy for them or challenged the absolute correctness of the "gay adoption" schemes were threatened with punishments.

Some day, probably in about ten years or so from now, some of the people who were born as a result of various forms of artificial insemination will be angry and want to know who they really are, whether they have brothers and sisters, whether any brothers and sisters were destroyed as embryos, and why.

Some day, probably a little further ahead, social commentators and historians will be asking why children were made to parrot nonsense about "gender fluidity" at school, and troubled children were given powerful hormone drugs while awaiting mutilation to "change their gender". There will be lawsuits there, too...

Today, we are appalled to view the advertisments for slaves, once commonly displayed in newspapers and at markets, listing for sale men and women, boys and girls, deemed to be just what might be needed for brutally hard work and no pay. We are disgusted to know that you could buy a postcard depicting a runaway slave being hanged. It all seemed politically correct at the time.

Back in the 1970s a group promoting paedophilia was affiliated to the National Council for Civil Liberties, Somehow, in those days, having sexual activity with children was seen as connected with freedom. Today, there is revulsion about it and the people who were then leadimg figures with the NCCL say they "regret" that  the paedophile lobby group was affiliated to their organisation. It's a start.

There will be a great need for mercy in future years: Christian love and mercy as people repent of things that they will say they honestly didn't fully understand at the time. The Year of Mercy is important, teaching us ways to admit wrongdoing and repent. It's going to be a message that a desperately unstable, angry, divided and broken nation will need. We must hope that we are allowed to grasp it: the strangehold of today's nasty ideas is supported by the legal structures of the sort that once upheld slavery, and by attitudes and official regulations banning  criticism of things deemed politically correct even if inhumane.

Kyrie eleison...






Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Through storm Imogen.....

...to Bristol to the University  Cathsoc on Sunday evening. A packed Mass, lines of young people receiving Communion w. great reverence. A  warm welcome, a delicious curry supper, and then a talk on  our Christian feasts and seasons...

During the night, staying in the warm and  comfortable chaplaincy - a fine old house 19th century, I think formerly the local rectory - rain and wind lashed Bristol, and getting to the station in the morning meant a drenching...trains were delayed, but everyone was pleasant and helpful. What a blessing it is to be able to get a decent cup of coffee...back in my younger days the food at railway stations was revolting!


Thursday, February 04, 2016

MERCY - THE WAY OF THE FATHER...

...a day of devotion sponsored by the Guild of Our Lady and St Joseph.

St Joseph's Church Hall, Montem Road,  New Malden KT3 3QW

To book: guildofourladyandstjoseph@gmail.com
Cost £20.

SATURDAY FEBRUARY 13th  
10.30 am (Mass 10am in the church)

Talks: 
THE DOOR OF MERCY

DIVINE MERCY: MORE THAN A DEVOTION

MERCY AND HEALING

Opportunities for confession and adoration...

The day finishes with Vespers at 3.30pm







)

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

On beauty and renewal in the liturgy...

... the timeless Mass,...the importance of the sacred...read here...

Candlemas....

marks the final end of the Christmas season.

Christmas is 40 days long...like Lent, like Easter...

Numbers are very important in Scripture, and in the life of the Church and our lives.

A child spends 40 weeks in the womb before he is ready to be born. The Istraelites spent 40 years in the desert...Christ spent forty days in prayer and fasting before beginning his public ministry.

Even in folklore we find this number is important: we speak of having "forty winks" when we have a short necessary rest in the daytime.

Auntie Joanna's book gives more information on the Calendar and how it all works...

The Chevalier Wogan...

...was the man who, in the 18th century, succeeded, after various adventures, in securing the hand of Maria Clementina Sobielska, of the Polish royal family, in marriage to James Francis  Edward Stuart, of the British royal family.

The child of that marriage is known to history as Bonnie Prince Charlie.

And the Wogan family cherish their heritage and are proud of their ancestor's adventures and chivalric exploits.

I learned of this from Terry Wogan, with whom I had a fascinating conversation in a BBC radio studio, after an interview on his morning radio show.  I knew about the Chevalier story - my husband is a keen member of the Royal Stuart Society - and asked him about it, wondering if there was a family link...and of course he was keen to talk about it all...

A delightful, genuine, and throroughly nice man: he knew the Jacobite stories and the conversation was fun.  A rare, rare thing among modern broadcasters: a genuine sense of humour, plenty of self-mockery,a good general knowledge and a sense of history. And a Catholic, who attended Mass with his wife even though he claimed to have all sorts of doubts about his faith and was cynical about many aspects of Church life. A good man.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Glorious music, a baptism...

...Sunday Mass today was a joy. A packed church - there are not enough pews at the back, some having removed, in lunatic fashion,  a few years ago, on the grounds that they would not be needed because...er...people don't go to church much any more, do they?  

The Sunday School is large and growing, and won't fit into the only space available. 

A lively lunch with a group including the parish's new young music director. Plans for a children's choir are going well.  This may take some pressure off the Sunday School. Much talk about music, traditions, liturgy, history, education, and more...

A walk along the Thames, in good spirits. A visit to a beloved elderly relative, with gentle talk of family things.

But all this is happening against a sensation of a darkening future. Horrible new regulations have been suggested  for "mandatory national transphobic hate-crime training for police officers and the promotion of third-party reporting". Translated into English that means that if you think that it is not actually possible to turn a boy into a girl, and you voice that opinion, you might be arrested. More on all this here. There's a horrible feeling that ordinary freedom to speak openly of ordinary things may be crushed.

In the 197Os, I  joined in do-you-think-we-may-all-be-persecuted-one-day? discussions with other young Catholics...and we often announced solemnly to one another that, yes, it could happen...look at the Soviet Union, look at history...and we saw (and fought as vigorously as we could against) trends that were ominous as public funds went to groups promoting abortion and so on...

And now.,..