Monday, 31 December 2007

Mary, Mother of God

H/T to the Western Confucian for suggesting we look at this mission in Vladivostok dedicated to Mary, Mother of God in anticipation of her feast day tomorrow and in anticipation of support and prayers for this mission.

The Vladivostok mission:

Bye Bye 2007

There are times when I wish I'd taken more notice of biology whilst at school. Physics is great but when has being able to tell a plasmon from a phonon from a soliton ever been of any real use?

Husband still hasn't got over the nasty invasion of his gut by fastbreeding bacteria, a picture of the critters is at the top of this page; know your enemy. The first set of antibiotics were working but didn't quite clear everything up. The bacteria mutated and we were back at square 1. New antibiotics are now being used. We are both shattered and a little fed up waiting to see what happens next. Chez nous will have to be renamed "The house at Poo corner" if this continues any longer. This has been a Christmas holiday neither of us wish to repeat.

It has been a difficult year in many ways, most of which are outside our control. Isn't it ever thus? Increasingly frail and needy elderly, finance, employment, the shocking rise is the price of fuel and food.....these are problems common to many of us.

I just don't know how I would cope if I couldn't say "God is good" and mean it from the bottom of my heart.

Bring on 2008!
Have a very Happy New Year, dear reader, you are in my prayers.

Saturday, 29 December 2007

The Lesser Brethren

This picture used to hang on my wall as a child in a not particularly religious household. It was given to me by my godmother (an Anglican) and I loved it. I found it again when going through some stuff at my parents house as they make a brave attempt to "downsize".

The Lesser Brethren by Margaret Tarrant

Now the frame is shattered and it is a bit faded. I thought about getting it re-framed but hubby thinks it is sentimental rubbish and "too much a Protestant representation of Jesus". But Jeffrey has posted this sublime painting on his site today:

OK, so there is 500 years between the two paintings but how is one "Protestant" and the other sublime? Just where is the divide? All I know is that without The Lesser Brethren, my upbringing would have been all the poorer.

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Pray for Pakistan

Please pray for peace and love in the hearts of those who are daily battered with insecurity and violence in a region that means so much to so many. Pray also for the dead and those left behind to mourn.


Someday perhaps, the poem,
murdered but still bleeding on every page,
will be revealed to you.

Someday perhaps, the banner
of that song bowed low in waiting
will be raised to its great height by a tornado.

Someday perhaps, the stone
that is an abandoned heart on the verge,
will pierce you with its living vein.

Faiz Ahmed Faiz (1911- 1984)

Musings on multitasking.

From the brainy blog of Lawrence Gage (Real Physics), this his musings on an article about multitasking. It makes very interesting reading.

I worry that my frequent inability to concentrate at Mass, is often a manifestation of my inability to "multitask" effectively. Some say it is because I have a "male brain", what! To concentrate at Mass I prefer to follow it in my missal and I find Mass much more prayerful if it starts with the entrance antiphon and not a hymn. The hymns need to be sung devoutly, and need to the liturgically relevant (I start wandering off course when they are not). I struggle with Fr's sermons because he's telling me how I should be praying and how I'm allowed to get angry with God. I'm not angry with God, and I start thinking about what he is saying and go off course again. I need silence during the Mass, but I'm not going to get it. I want to say the Creed slowly, very slowly...fat chance! Prayers for Madeline McCann, with no mention of the countless other missing/abducted children in the world (I get cross here and this is wrong). See, it's all me me me. How selfish I am because I can't take in all the stimuli of the Novus Ordo Mass simultaneously. I have a similar problem with polyphony during the Mass........

I've never been convinced by multitasking in other domains either, and the more I see of the education system, the more convinced I am that true understanding only comes with silence and singular concentration. Education in this country is all about the presentation of bitty, factual content with no depth, jazzed up to look good and be temporarily stimulating. Let's all be busy, busy, busy, it stops us thinking.

Thinking might just be dangerous!

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Monday, 24 December 2007

A Happy and Holy Christmas to you all!

The results of husband's tests/samples have come through. He has had a particularly nasty campylobacter infection of his gut that unfortunately got into his blood stream too. Say a prayer for him, he's still very weak.

Have a wonderful Christmas, all of you. Keep the Holy Land in your prayers.
God Bless

Revelabitur gloria Domini: et videbit omnis caro salutare Dei nostri.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

And another thing....

I've had time to think. Too much time to think. Poor husband has fallen foul of the winter vomiting sickness and I've had to take time off work to look after him. Keeping him hydrated is a nightmare. Laundry is a nightmare; I'm not feeling half so pious as I usually do for not owning a tumble dryer. Still, this time away from the pit has allowed me to say the morning office as well as the evening office and that is a rare luxury.

Some thoughts on washing.

Does anyone else other than me hate fabric conditioner? What is the point in washing something only to cover it in slimy, sickly smelly goo? If I had my way sheets would be starched (I like ironing) chez Rita, but I'm not the boss.

What is this craze for washing powders/liquids all coming in pre-measured doses/satchets. Surely this is just a marketing wheeze to get us to use more of the stuff, spending more money in the process. I know how dirty my laundry is, I know how much soapy stuff to use.

Towelling. Yeuch! Nasty, unhygenic stuff. As a baby I had nappies shipped over from Ireland, beautiful cotton things, smooth cotton on one side, brushed on the other. Towelling nappies are just wrong. As for bath and hand towels, they used to be smooth linen, easy to dry, easy to boil wash and bleach and compact to store. Only the eastern europeans are sensible enough to continue with these.

I wonder if I'll be able to go down the pit tomorrow, I certainly won't be able to take paid leave...hmmm.
Other thoughts today are about retraining to become an undertaker. I'm serious about this one.

Friday, 7 December 2007

A Festive Meme

A meme from Autumn Rose.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Wrapping paper and cheap stuff off the market at that!

2. Real tree or artificial?
Artificial. I actually want the magical artificial white/silver Christmas tree our neighbour had when I was small. Her house was very "Abigail's Pary", and I thought it was dead stylish.

3. When do you put up the tree?
Christmas Eve as the local brass band plays carols through the village. Wonderful!

4. When do you take the tree down?
Epiphany, if my husband hasn't fallen over it before then and got a bit grumpy.

5. Do you like eggnog?
I prefer Advocaat, my grandmother used to make her own and it was very good.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
The sewing box I still use.

7. Do you have a Nativity scene?
Yes. My favourite crib scene is the one in a convent I know. They've made and collected all sorts of tiny figures and added them to the adoration. The whole ensemble is covered with tacky flashing coloured fairy lights.

8. Hardest person to buy for?
Me, I feel very sorry for my family and friends. I can never think of anything I want unless it is some obscure tome or CD that they can't find and end up giving me the money to buy.

9. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
Mum and Dad presented me and my sister each with a small velvet wallet one year when I was about 20 and she was 17. I exclaimed out loud, "Phew, that was lucky, I really thought you'd got us a car!". The pouch contained car keys and the car bedecked with balloons was waiting outside. Luckily, my sister was thrilled even if I couldn't summon up any enthusiasm (what a brat I was, I hear you say!)

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?

11. Favorite Christmas Movie?
Muppet Christmas Carol.

12. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
I don't plan that well.

13. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
Not as I can remember.

14. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Well it isn't the turkey. I usually end up craving curry.

15. Clear lights or colored on the tree?
A few coloured lights and lots of lammetta.

16. Favorite Christmas song?
Gaudete- Steeleye Span

17. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
Always off to see the rellies ooop north.

18. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeers?

19. Angel on the tree top or a star?

20. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?

21. Most annoying thing about this time of year?

22. Best thing about this time of year?
The Lord Jesus, of course!
Thanks AR!

Thursday, 6 December 2007

St Anthony is a love but he's expensive

That's what my mother in law says. I don't care! My missal has turned up (at last) and I'm going to make sure his poor get a goodly sum.

Deo gratias!

Vocation (4)

It seems to me that in heaven my mission will be to draw souls, by helping them to go out of themselves in order to adhere to God by a simple, wholly loving moment and to maintain them in that great inner silence which allows God to imprint Himself on them and transform them into Himself.
Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity

Maybe our real missions do lie in heaven. On earth, all is imperfect, fractured and bound by space and time. I am living very much in the world but being very much dead to the temptations and desires of the world. Oh, how I yearn for the cloister sometimes so that I could die still further and fully devote my energies to letting God live in me!

Deep down I am probably a stubborn, willful Carmelite, and not a particularly good one either!

So back to earth with a bump. Please pray for me. I am run ragged and thoroughly disillusioned with my profession. I am the only source of regular income for our household and I really want to give it all up. I curse the day my parents persuaded me to step onto the property ladder, it hangs like a millstone round my neck. Just what am I working for? My trials are "offered up" I can do nothing else, but oh boy, what a meagre offering!