Thursday, 27 September 2007
The prayer of St Francis Xavier
O Deus, ego amo te,
Nec amo te, ut salves me,
Aut, quia non amantes te
Æterno punis igne.
Tu, tu, mi Jesu, totum me
Amplexus es in cruce;
Tuliste clavos, lanceam,
Sudores, et angores,
Et mortem, et hæc propter me,
Ac pro me peccatore.
Cur igitur non amem te,
O Jesu amantissime,
Non, ut in cœlo salves me,
Aut ne æternum damnes me,
Nec præmii ullius spe;
Sed sicut tu amasti me?
Sic amo et amabo te,
Solum quia Rex meus es,
Et solum, quia Deus es.
The translation is by Gerald Manley Hopkins SJ
0 GOD, I love thee, I love thee-
Not out of hope of heaven for me
Nor fearing not to love and be
In the everlasting burning.
Thou, thou, my Jesus, after me
Didst reach thine arms out dying,
For my sake sufferedst nails, and lance,
Mocked and marred countenance,
Sorrows passing number,
Sweat and care and cumber,
Yea and death, and this for me,
And thou couldst see me sinning:
Then I, why should not I love thee,
Jesu, so much in love with me?
Not for heaven's sake;
not to be out of hell by loving thee;
Not for any gains I see;
But just the way that thou didst me
I do love and I will love thee:
What must I love thee, Lord, for then?
For being my king and God. Amen.
Wednesday, 26 September 2007
Domine, da mihi hanc aquam!: Kids These Days: What they don't want from the Church
Tuesday, 25 September 2007
Monday, 24 September 2007
A fractal image
Having spent the weekend with scientists, and having had a dreadful journey home courtesy of the rail network, I got to thinking about the bizarre world scientists inhabit.
Take your average physicist for instance, basically he (the average would be male)lives in a world made of particles and waves. Particles go into making solid, liquid and gassy things, they bounce off each other when they get too close and they contain stuff. You are constantly being bombarded with air particles moving at the speed of a jumbo jet, they collide with you, with each other and with any object that gets in their way. Waves are things that transmit energy without transmitting matter, they can travel through each other, they can merge with each other, they definitely don't collide and rebound.
However, those fundamental particles we call atoms are mainly made of empty space, there is not a lot of stuff in them. Slow them down enough and they will behave like waves. Those waves of light, when they are emitted from atoms can cause particles to alter their direction just as if they had been scattered by other particles. Thus light has particle like properties, just as the particles have wave like properties.
So much for scientific certainty. Your description of the physical world as a scientist depends on what you are observing. At its most fundamental, a quantum physicist even lives in a world where 1+1 can =0 and 1+1 can =4, only on average does 1+1=2!
Why do so many scientists wish to live in a world where they are certain God doesn't exist? They don't even inhabit a world where their scientific certainties are certain and absolute. Scientific method, when stretched to its limits, produces a gloriously bizarre, anarchic yet beautiful world, and like a fractal pattern, the more you look at the edges, the more new horizons open up.
What of scientists themselves? They seem assured that their methods of inquiry are the most reliable, with a confidence a philosopher would not dare to entertain. Scientists quickly forget Gallileo made up data to fit his ideas, Millikan (one of the greatest 19th century experimenters) can be accused of dishonesty, smoothing over some of his more troublesome data and from antiquity, Ptolemy was a plagiarist.
Science is a very human activity and scientists are very human. Science prevents superstition and this is a good thing. Science is useful. Science can be beautiful.
Religion ignores science at its peril, but isn't the opposite also true? Faith provides a disciplined way of looking at the world that is both reasonable and profound, simple and yet full of mystery. Scientists should take it seriously less they wish to call their endeavour into disrepute. After all the world of the physicist is bizarre, illogical and counter-intuitive, precisely the things they dismiss religion for being.
Thursday, 20 September 2007
I'm at conference this weekend so this post is a day early.
This seems as good an excuse as any to do my Sister Wendy bit and rave on about one of my favourite paintings, the Calling of St Matthew by Caravaggio. This is a purely personal interpretation from one totally untrained in art appreciation. You are at liberty to find holes in my analysis.
I think the painting is awesome because to me it is the best representation of the Blessed Trinity I have ever seen. God the Father illuminates His creation, the light is not from a natural source like a window or door. God the Son directly calls Matthew (and Peter does the Lord’s bidding too). God the Holy Spirit is the look in the eyes of Matthew and Our Lord; all the loving, imploring and trust. The nature of the Holy Spirit is made clear. The Holy Spirit does not work through our instinct; Matthew is still instinctively fiddling with the money. The Holy Spirit does not work through reason alone as Matthew is still reasoning and you can hear him think “Do you really want me?”. The Holy Spirit is God and works with and through God the Father and God the Son.
What of Christ? He appears as a dark figure in the shadows. Perhaps this image is a little startling but it shows how we can be dazzled by false lights and miss the Light of the World. We are forced to ask ourselves how often we have failed to spot Our Lord and follow his calling.
What about Matthew himself? Fashionably dressed in such a way as to make him look a bit of a fool, his worldliness looks uncomfortable on him. You find yourself rooting for him to leave what he is doing and follow Christ.
What about the others in the painting? Some don’t appear to notice anything going on. One notices but doesn't seem bothered. One notices and although the workings of the Holy Trinity are not fully manifest in his reactions, you feel one day he could follow Matthew and follow Christ.
So real, and yet so mysterious. This is about as good as art gets.
Monday, 17 September 2007
I got bored using HTML some years ago, life's too short to go through all that again. I just want this thing to work!!!!
By the way, I stole the banner idea from White Stone Name Seeker, to whom thanks! It's definitely worth propagating that message.
Sunday, 16 September 2007
Conversation- Louis MacNeice
Wednesday, 12 September 2007
I was looking for prayers for priests and found these on the Prayer for Priests website, which I hadn't heard of before. The piece of advice at the beginning is excellent and the prayers are beautiful, I hope they are much prayed.
You must never forget that priests are, and that they remain, men.
God does not perform a miracle to wrest them from the human state.
The priesthood does not of itself give a person the power to do everything or to excel in everything. It is important to remember this lest you fall into a very old error that of dehumanizing the priesthood and consequently of setting the priest outside of ordinary life.
That does great harm for by thus isolating him, as unbelievers do, to the exclusive realm of ceremonies . . . he is deprived in good part of his reason for being. If men refuse to pass through him, he no longer can be, at least fully, their mediator.
PRAYER FOR PRIESTS (1)
O Jesus, our great High Priest, hear my humble prayers on behalf of your priests. Give them a deep faith, a bright and firm hope and a burning love which will ever increase in the course of their priestly life.
In their loneliness, comfort them. In their sorrows, strengthen them. In their frustrations, point out to them that it is through suffering that the soul is purified, and show them that they are needed by the Church; they are needed by souls; they are needed for the work of redemption.
O loving Mother Mary, Mother of Priests, take to your heart your sons who are close to you because of their priestly ordination and because of the power which they have received to carry on the work of Christ in a world which needs them so much. Be their comfort, be their joy, be their strength, and especially help them to live and to defend the ideals of consecrated celibacy.
(By J. J. Cardinal Carberry
A PRAYER FOR PRIESTS (2)
By the late John J Cardinal Carberry
Keep them; I pray Thee, dearest Lord.
Keep them, for they are Thine
The priests whose lives burn out before
Thy consecrated shrine.
Keep them, for they are in the world,
Though from the world apart.
When earthly pleasures tempt, allure --
Shelter them in Thy heart.
Keep them and comfort them in hours
Of loneliness and pain,
When all their life of sacrifice
For souls seems but in vain.
Keep them and remember, Lord,
they have no one but Thee.
Yet, they have only human hearts,
With human frailty.
Keep them as spotless as the Host,
That daily they caress;
Their every thought and word and deed,
Deign, dearest Lord, to bless.
PRAYER FOR PRIESTS (3)
(By Cardinal Cushing)
O Almighty, Eternal God, look upon the face of Thy Son, and for love of Him Who is the Eternal High-priest, have pity on Thy priests. Remember, O most compassionate God, that they are but weak and frail human beings. Stir up in them the grace of their vocation which is in them by the imposition of the Bishop's hands. Keep them close to Thee, lest the enemy prevail against them so that they may never do anything in the slightest degree unworthy of their sublime vocation.
O Jesus, I pray Thee for Thy faithful and fervent priests; for Thy unfaithful and tepid priests; for Thy priests laboring at home or abroad in distant mission fields; for Thy tempted priests; for Thy lonely and desolate priests; for Thy young priests; for Thy dying priests; for the souls of Thy priests in Purgatory.
But above all, I commend to Thee the priests dearest to me; the priest who baptized me; the priests who absolved me from my sins; the priests at whose Masses I assisted and who gave me Thy Body and Blood in Holy Communion; the priests who taught and instructed me or helped and encouraged me; all the priests to whom I am indebted in any other way. O Jesus, keep them all, close to Thy heart, and bless them abundantly in time and in eternity. Amen.
Saturday, 8 September 2007
There is debate elsewhere in UK Catholic Blogworld regarding the merits or otherwise of watching the telly. The debate seems to centre around whether or not to renew one’s TV licence. In my opinion, choosing not to watch the television and not paying for a licence are two completely separate issues.
Firstly, regarding paying for the licence, I think it should always be paid where there is a means to pay. I know you don’t need to pay if you never watch the telly and just listen to the radio, but somehow this seems hypocritical to me. Funding for public service radio and television comes from the same source. I’m sorry, but those that piously say they don’t have a TV or pay a licence fee but spend all their time listening to the blather on Radio 4 are freeloaders. Television isn’t all bad. There is occasionally some good TV; some good and brave documentaries and dramas still get made. On the radio, there continues to be a fine tradition of innovative programming. It may not be to your taste but there is some good radio to be found on Radio 2, Radio 3 and 6 music, programming that doesn’t cater for the lowest common denominator. How does this get funded? Who is helping support innovative and talented musicians and writers and helping bring them to a wider audience? Then there is the World Service, it is provided by the BBC, licence fee money may not go directly into it but if other areas feel a pinch financially then this too suffers. The World Service is a lifeline to many and something we British should be proud to support. Then there is the question of getting cricket, the most beautiful game in the world, back to its rightful home on public service broadcasting, how can you have a say in this issue if you don’t pay your licence fee? It’s like grumbling about the government if you don’t vote. Please, think about paying for your TV license if you can afford to. You are free to choose not to watch the television or listen to the radio yourself, for others it is a necessity in the face of loneliness and isolation and should be supported. Of course there is the further issue of the accountability of the BBC and its programming……
Secondly, regarding the TV free household; it needs careful consideration. Will your children be able to relate to their peers or will they feel isolated if they don’t know what is on the television. Older children need opportunities to explore the world (real life and fiction) from many perspectives and whilst books and the internet may go a long way towards this, the television is also useful. I’m always surprised how many teenagers like Question Time, they seem to like and need debate and are interested in current affairs. Also, children need to become critical of the media. They need to be aware of what is not being said, who is being targeted, possible agendas and other points of view. We need to know our enemy, hiding from it doesn’t seem a particularly useful strategy.
Friday, 7 September 2007
Comrades, Brothers, Female brothers…..
I think this was the opening line from a spoof trade union speech from Not the Nine O’Clock News in the 1980s, anyway it always made me chuckle as an example of painfully inept attempt at “gender inclusivity” before the term became widely known.
I’ve been a grumpy old woman over this issue for nearly half of my nearly 40 years on this planet. Here’s a quote from Canada’s Catholic Register
TORONTO, Canada (The Catholic Register) – Eighteen years into a sometimes divisive debate, the Vatican has put a final stamp of approval on the Canadian lectionary – granting a recognitio to the inclusive language of the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible in English.
“That this has come is obviously a positive thing, not just for women but for all people,” said feminist theologian Doris Keiser, a lecturer in theology at the University of Alberta’s St. Joseph’s College. “When we’re moving forward in the world and allowing our understanding to open up, everyone benefits.”
Canadians have been reading the NRSV at Mass since 1992, when the first edition of the new Sunday lectionary was published with approval from the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. The Canadian NRSV lectionary for weekdays was published in 1994. It was only then that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith objected to NRSV translations.
The NRSV uses inclusive language, referring to both men and women, when the text refers to people. References to God in the NRSV use the pronoun “He.”
In the Pauline letters, this sometimes results in forms of address to a group of people which reads “Brothers” in Greek rendered “Brothers and Sisters” in the NRSV.
Without the recognitio, Canadian Mass texts were left in the position of being the only approved texts for English-language Masses in Canada, but at the same time lacking final Vatican approval.
Oh, this is so wearisome. This particular set of changes doesn't seem too radical, but just how far do the feminists wish to take this? If there are two positives in this they are (i) God remains He as Jesus taught us and (ii) it should make impromptu inclusive language from priests more difficult to get away with.
At Mass, kneeling before the Lord, I am not aware that gender was/is an issue. As Catholics, as far as I know we have never had segregated congregations along gender specific lines and further segregation amongst women depending on the time in the menstrual cycle. The divinely inspired words we are listening to speak totally of love and that is how we are to respond to them. If we are constantly thinking about our own gender and therefore our separation from each other, then are we any better off than Adam and Eve being expelled from the garden? Men and women are loved equally by God, the language doesn’t need to have the poetry tortured out of it to show this.
What do the feminists want to do to “the Son of Man”?
Wednesday, 5 September 2007
Returning to work after a holiday; I’ve been staggered just how much going about my daily business gives occasion to sin. It is so easy to get into a quiet routine at home amongst your nearest and dearest, the world out there is so much more scary. Do any of these ring a bell with you?
§ Being drawn into gossip.
§ Embellishing a tale to make it more amusing.
§ Hearing casually dropped swear words and doing nothing about it.
§ Hearing casually dropped blasphemous words and not “tackling” the person who said them.
§ Hearing others tell tales about a third party you know to be embellished, but you say nothing.
§ Getting impatient with someone who may not be as efficient as you are.
§ Believing you have the only correct way to do something.
§ Deliberately avoiding people you don’t particularly like.
§ Thinking half the drivers on the roads are bigger numbskulls than yourself.
§ Believing you are indispensable.
It is very humbling just knowing how far removed you are from where you desire to be…...
PRAYER BEFORE WORK
O Lord Jesus Christ, Only-begotten Son of your eternal Father: You have said with your holy lips: "Without Me, you can do nothing." My Lord, I embrace your words with my heart and soul, and bow before your goodness and say: Help me, your unworthy servant, to complete this, my present undertaking, in the name of the Father and of the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
PRAYER AFTER WORK
O Most sweet Jesus, You are the fulfillment of all blessings. Fill my soul with joy and gladness and save me. Grant that your Name be glorified: for not to us, but to your Name are forever due honor, glory, and adoration. Amen
Prayers from The Sacred Heart
Monday, 3 September 2007
1. Yourself: tired
2. Your spouse: smoking
3. Your hair: clean
4. Your mother: anxious
5. Your father: hypertensive
6. Your favourite item: crucifix
7. Your dream last night: vivid
8. Your favorite drink: tea
9. Your dream car: none
10. The room you are in: study
11. Your ex: what!
12. Your fear: caterpillars
13. What you want to be in 10 years: holier
14. Who you hung out with last night: 'ologists
15. What you’re not: bored
16. Muffins: yeuch
17. One of your wish list item: retreat
18. Time: evening
19. The last thing you did: prayed
20. What you are wearing: scruff
21. Your favorite weather: springlike
22. Your favorite book: Bible
23. The last thing you ate: apple
24. Your life: laborious
25. Your mood: irritable
26. Your best friend: Jesus
27. What you’re thinking about right now: priorities
28. Your car: untrendy
29. What you are doing at the moment: typing
30. Your summer: frustrating
31. Your relationship status: wonderful!
32. What is on your TV: nothing
33. What the weather is like: pleasant
34. When was the last time you laughed: recently