Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Favourite Saints

La Mamma asked about my favourite saints, I'm struggling to say in case I leave any out. I have to admit, I have composed a litany of saints for my personal use and I have also collected enough images on my computer to do a "slide show" as an aid to prayer.

You're right, St Rita is a favourite...but there are many more and I've included some blesseds here too. Some have become part of my devotional life after a chance meeting on the internet, others by recommendation, others purely by the immensity of their witness. I'm just wondering how much you can tell about a person from their list of favourite saints, does it say a lot about the things in their life that require the assistance of the Church Triumphant?

St Joseph
St Monica
St Augustine
St Vitalis of Gaza
St Anthony of Padua
St John of God
St John of the Cross
St Theresa of Avila
St Clare
St Colette
Blessed Juliana of Mt Cornillon
St Benedetta Cambiagio Frassinello
St Ursula Ledochowska
St Gemma
St Nicholas Owen
St Edmund Arrowsmith
St Ann Line
St Ignatius of Loyola
St Francis Xavier
St Bernadette
St Eugene de Mazenod
St Thomas More
St Faustina
Blessed Margaret Sinclair
Blessed Matt Talbot

BTW: I still can't find my missal (I'm quite gutted over this) and my job is still totally grotty, but my team (see above) are working on this and I know my prayers will be answered!

Monday, 29 October 2007

Not a good day...

It has not been a good day. I have lost my missal, work was really grotty today and my car broke down on the way home. I can't blame all those on jet lag, but it isn't helping.

So here is a link to picture of something a bit inspiring, mainly to cheer me up. The rederos of the Carmelite church in Antequera (Malaga Provence) Spain. It took my breath away when I first saw it; a Spanish baroque masterpiece in wood, all the Carmelite family are represented right up to Elijah summoned from this earth in his chariot. OK, the convent has long since closed, the church is in a very sorry state (dreadfully damp) and the rederos doesn't look like it has had a dust since Miss Haversham were a wee lass, but it is still mighty impressive.

The picture in the hyperlink is also for Archistrategos over at Tamtum Dic Verbo, a fine blogger who claims he has never picked up or even been nominated for blogging award. Well I think he is great, even if occasionally he is a little harsh, he is instructive, funny (the rat incident in particular), and deeply contemplative. In fact I'm giving to give him an "award" for the most baroque blog on the net. It is a very personal reflection of faith, he has an elaborate style and it plays heavenly music: you don't get more baroque than that. Or do any of you know of others in this category?

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Long haul flights

Afghanistan from the air

Flying is so unnatural. You are stuck in an isolated bubble a mile over the ground with a group of people that you'd probably rather not spend your last moments on this earth with. You are squashed together in an unnaturally small, smelly space (bring on the A380) being waited on by impossibly nice people with impossibly neat hair. You fly over some of the worlds most troubled places whilst the guy (mature adult aged about 60)sitting infront of you is engrossed in the film "Transformers", something he just wouldn't be bothered with at normal altitudes.

I wonder what the people below make of the planes that fly overhead. I wonder if we are some alien "other" to them, do we represent incomprehensible luxury, unimagined freedom or evil decadence?

Afghanistan is awesome from the air, Burma made me weep. Praying the rosary is the only real thing to do.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Confused of Clifton

This Saturday is the day of the meeting for the self-selecting representatives of Diocese of Clifton to get together and discuss the initial findings of the Bishop's Seeking the Face of Christ initiative. I will be in distant lands so will not be able to attend, though I would like to.

The Bishop's aim was to find the "vision of the sort of Church the Lord is calling us to be", the pdf is available from the Clifton website.

The document meditates on our shared vision through the following themes: "made in the image and likeness of God", "God in all things", "communion of God's people" and "revealing the face of Christ". We, the Bishop's flock, had been asked for our views.

I hope and pray that the findings (which I did my best to contribute to) make reference to the priesthood, the Bishop's document doesn't. I hope there is more than a fleeting mention of the sacraments and that they are mentioned by name, his document does not. It would be nice if the Eucharist was mentioned and its central and essential significance stressed, unlike the Bishop's document which doesn't mention the Eucharist once.

I do not intend to knock Bishop Lang or criticise his efforts. I hope that the less than transparent consultation reveals the desires of the Catholic community in general and not just those who speak the same language as the Bishop (his document is not easy to respond to), however I have my doubts.

Maybe I'm just a hot head, self-opinionated and with my own exclusive, selective agenda. I found the whole procedure very isolating, there was no chance of parish based, prayerful discussion on the document. Surely, the Catholic Church, through the sacraments and the prayers of the faithful is the surest way to find the face of Christ (isn't that what has successfully happened for 2000 years?). The Church exists to save as many souls as possible and to strengthen both the religious and the laity to "take it to the streets".

Bishop Lang's document is poles apart from the language and tone of the Holy Father, whose words so often make my heart leap for joy.

We must pray hard that God's will be done.
Saint Peter, Saint Paul and Saint Colette, pray for us.

Sunday, 14 October 2007


Autumn Rose has tagged me about Autumn, so here is my reply:

When does Autumn begin for you?
Michaelmas or less romantically the first time you have to use the car de-mister.

What is your favorite aspect of Autumn?
Colours, smells and the heartbreaking beauty of misty sunrises over the river Severn.

What is your favorite Autumn memory?
Gardening with my Dad as a kid.

What do you like to drink in the Autumn?
Tea, always, though I get a taste for Lapsang Suchong in Autumn.

What’s your favorite Autumn food?
Anything involving mutton. Anything involving apples and custard. Anything involving suet.

What is Autumn weather like where you live?
Musty, colourful and damp.

What color is Autumn?
Conker brown or is that Carmelite brown, those two favourite Theresas feature strongly in October!?

What does Autumn smell like?
Earth, mulching leaves, fire, smoke, fireworks, cooking, baking….

Christmas shopping in Autumn?
I hate shopping, why spoil a good Autumn.

If you could go anywhere in the Autumn, where would you go?
I'd be right here. It's magic!

Do you have a favorite Autumn chore?
No, but I do enjoy being in the garden at this time of year, though it's not the same since creosote got banned. Foraging for sweet chestnuts is good too, though this year the crop is woeful.

What is your least favorite thing about Autumn?
Kicking through the Autumn leaves and landing on a concealed dog turd.

What is your favorite Autumn holiday?
Do I have a choice?

What’s your favorite kind of pie?
Steak and ale with a suet crust.

Do you have a favorite Autumn book?
It is Winnie the Pooh time.

How about a favorite Autumn poem?
Digging by Edward Thomas

To-day I think
Only with scents,- scents dead leaves yield,
And bracken, and wild carrot's seed,
And the square mustard field;

Odours that rise
When the spade wounds the root of tree,
Rose, currant, raspberry, or goutweed,
Rhubarb or celery;

The smoke's smell, too,
Flowing from where a bonfire burns
The dead, the waste, the dangerous,
And all to sweetness turns.

It is enough
To smell, to crumble the dark earth,
While the robin sings over again
Sad songs of Autumn mirth.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Eid Al Fitr

I must say I welcome the letter addressed to various Christian leaders from assorted Muslim scholars and clerics.

Muslim's worship one God, we worship one God. This is not the same as saying we worship the same God nor is this saying we worship a different god. I bring to mind the words from Nostra Aetate: The Church also has a high regard for the Muslims, who worship one God, living and subsistent, merciful and omnipotent, the Creator of heaven and earth.

Out of the muddle of Babel, there seems to be only one appropriate greeting to my Muslim friends tonight, Namaste! ["that which is holy in me salutes that which is holy in you"... and yes I know it is a Hindu greeting, but that is the point] and may we be united in prayers for peace and reciprocated love and understanding.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

No title...

This is a difficult post for me to write, but one I feel I need to write.

This post concerns Mary and my relationship with the Mother of God. I love to pray the rosary and do so as regularly as I can, I know she interceeds for me and is my most powerful advocate before Our Lord. It is just that I can't feel her there for me, like I can lesser saints. I can't picture her. Icons and great works of art don't help me. When I turn to her and ask for her intercession, it is literally with blind trust because I do not know that she is there.

So I try to focus intensely on her Son, because I'm sure that is what she wants me to do. It is not for the Son to lead me to his mother, though I know He gave her to us from the cross.

As a result of all this, I feel isolated from many of my fellow Catholics, who have such a beautiful, innocent, childlike relationship with her. I will not blame my upbringing for this, though I grew up in a household where Marian devotions were often referred to as goddess worship and scorned or belittled. There is really no point in finding blame. It is just the way things are.

This may be one of the reasons why, when I'm working with young people and instructing them in the faith, I'm so keen on making sure they build up a good relationship with Mary and learn to love the rosary. We all need her love and intercession, nobody needs the warped and damaged perspective I live with.

I'm hoping just writing this will help. I'd dearly like to be able to remove this post at some later date, feeling it no longer reflected my situation.

Saturday, 6 October 2007

I was 3% less swotty than Mac at school!

Got this quiz from Mulier Fortis, who beat me in it. I never came top in anything at school either! Nevertheless, I offer a gracious mantilla twitch in her direction.

You paid attention during 97% of high school!

85-100% You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don't get scores that high! Good show, old chap!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
Create a Quiz

I thought it was closer to 50% concentration at school. Quite frankly, I found school boring most of the time. It was not a place where you were encouraged to think.

Dream kitchens....

Autumn Rose has been musing on the finer points of home furnishing in times past. She has a liking of all things 1940s and I can certainly see the appeal.

We currently have a kitchen problem. Our kitchen is horrid. The previous owners of the house hastily assembled a collection of second-hand units and cheap pine shelving to create a rickety, yet nearly functional space for the preparation of food. These units are built over the most ghastly vinyl floor covering imaginable (were it real wood it would be in Versailles or the Peterhof) and the whole ensemble is finished off with custard yellow walls and a "tasteful" blue flowery border. It is impossible for it to look clean. It has to go. As hubby so rightly points out, should we ever need to sell up, nobody in their right minds would want a kitchen like this.

My problem is I hate fitted kitchens. I dislike anything that looks designed to give the illusion of ease and luxury. I dislike veneer. I dislike gadgets. We have spent some hours looking at kitchens in various showrooms, yet nothing seems right for me. My parents even seemed ashamed of our current kitchen and have contributed large sums into a new kitchen fund for their troublesome daughter. In return I seem ungrateful and uninterested. Basically, I'm a spoilt brat.

Hubby jokes that what I want is a black leaded range, an ulster sink, a kitchenette and a tub and posser. The truth is probably even worse!

The truth is, I don't really care enough. Our kitchen works, I can cook in it; having something "nice" just seems like an excessive luxury.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Guardian Angels

I have a friend who some years back reached rock bottom due to addiction to heroin. Lying on the floor, unable to laugh or cry, totally sick of his actions and life, a figure appeared to him in the corner of his bed sit. A young man, tall, graceful and beautiful and wearing a First World War uniform. My friend cannot describe the look on the figure's face other than to say it filled his veins with a warmth that the heroin had hidden from him for some years.......He's clean now, and has got his life back together.

Prayer to Our Holy Guardian Angel from St Anthony's Treasury
O Holy Angel, to whom the mercy of Our Father in Heaven has confided me here on earth, may I never forget the gratitude I owe thee for thy unfailing goodness, the confidence inspired by thy generous protection, the respect due to thy holy presence! O constant witness of my daily actions, may I never sadden thy sight! Angel of peace may I never cause thee to weep bitter tears over me! O my celestial guide, I wish to invoke thee at all times! In affliction thou wilt dry my tears; in danger thou wilt bear me on thy wings; in temptation thou wilt preserve my innocence; in my falls thou wilt inspire me with repentance; finally at my last hour, thou wilt console me in my sorrows and introduce me to the eternal tabernacles.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Bunnies and Wraiths

When I was three years old, I was given a toy rabbit that my father nick-named "Me Me Bunny", because I kept grabbing it and wanting it for myself. I'm suspicious of Memes but if someone wants to know my opinion, I'll write. I'm just not sure I'll pass it on. It's all too chain letter like, not my thing. This one isn't too bad though and I have a great respect for Faccio La Mamma who asked me to do it, and I so don't think I'll be calling for the services of the "Meme Wraith".

1. Do you attend the Traditional Latin Mass or the Novus Ordo?
I attend Mass in my local parish, I happen to believe this is important, even if the experience can be less than uplifting. My parish is also rather remote. I love the TLM but it is a luxury and a self-indulgence right now for me.

2. If you attend the TLM, how far do you drive to get there?
I would have to drive 35 miles for a Low Mass and further for the full works.

3. If you had to apply a Catholic label to yourself, what would it be?
I don't like labels, but the word "loyal" is appropriate.

4. Are you a comment junkie?

5. Do you go back to read the comments on the blogs you’ve commented on?
Yes, though mainly to check my spelling, I'm a hopeless speller and I have a tendency towards spoonerisms which can be unfortunate. I'm the world's worst proof reader.

6. Have you ever left an anonymous comment on another blog?
Never "anonymous", but usually "Rita".

7. Which blogroll would you most like to be on?
Fr Ray Blake

8. Which blog is the first one you check?
Fr Ray Blake

9. Have you met any other bloggers in person?
Andrew at Unam Sanctam I know I've seen singing in church but we didn't have these blogging personas then. Similarly, I guess I've seen Mark Cephas Tan (Exsurge Domine)as a holy altar boy in the same marvelous parish. This isn't quite the same as meeting, I know.....

10. What are you reading?
For pleasure:
Henry VI by Betram Wolfe (the monarch fascinates me as much as the author irritates me)
The Stripping of the Altars- Eamonn Duffy (awsome, inspiring and upsetting)
Poetry by Edward Thomas and Louis Macneice is never far away and neither are the Psalms. I also endeavour to read the Mass readings for the day during the week.
For work:
You don't want to know.

Bonus Question! Has your site been banned by Spirit of Vatican II?
What is it? Is it like the spirit of Christmas, that awful invention of Charles Dickens that completely removed the original meaning from the event to which it referred. I only have one thing to say on the matter: humbug!