Friday, 29 February 2008

Support a new blog

I promised I'd give a plug to the following blog from Augustine entitled Love of Your Love. Just how effective a plug from me will be considering my posts are thin on the ground due to the hectic and uncomfortable time I'm having just now, and my visitor count is not that great...Anyway, dear reader, please pay him a visit.

But in truth, you who are very truth, you know me well
and can testify that I write this for the love of your love
my Lord, my most dear Jesus.
I want your love to burn in me as you command
so that I may desire to love you alone
and sacrifice to you a troubled spirit,
'a broken and contrite heart'.

St Anselm

Sunday, 24 February 2008


Blogging may be slightly erratic over coming weeks. I am desperate to find a new job. I have become a member of the awkward squad at my current place of employment and it is not healthy for anyone, especially me!

I am reminded of a story about a musical hero of mine, Don Van Vilet (Captain Beefheart). His first job involved being a door to door sales rep for vacuum cleaners. Filled with "love of his work", all he could bring himself to say when a good lady answered the door to him was (as he pointed to the appliance for sale) "Ma'am, this sucks."

I am in need of your prayers!

St Joseph Pray for Us:
O blessed St Joseph, whose life was passed in toil and prayer, obtain for me the grace, I beseech thee, to sanctify my work by purity of intention, by remembrance of God's presence and by frequent prayer. Remembering thy life of humble toil, may I desire only to imitate thee in the company of Jesus and Mary. Amen.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Saints Meme

A meme from Mac.

1. First Saint you "met"?
The first time I was really aware that Catholics somehow did things differently and had different objectives to everyone else was in meeting the Infant of Prague. (Much more that a saint, I know!) He looked down on us from a high shelf at the playgroup I attended and He fascinated me. He also lived in a red glass and silver sarcophagus about 3 inches long that my Irish grandmother kept in her croc-skin handbag. We never visited Grandma without me wanting to see the Infant.

2. Favourite Saint(s)?
St Anthony of Padua and St Rita, two saints that hang around the back of any church and will powerfully interceed for the hopelessly lost and confused that find themselves wandering in, they only have to ask.

3. Patron saint for the year?
Somehow I missed out on the allocation of a patron for the year. I do however feel that it is the year I may be asking for the special intercession of St Joseph.

4. Favourite book by a saint?
Confessions- St Augustine

5. Saint book you are reading now?
My Lenten reading is "A Dialogue of Comfort against Tribulation" by St Thomas More. I'm only sorry I haven't had as much time to devote to it as I would like.

6. Favourite film of a saint?
Not a genre I have ever bothered with. I don't think I have ever seen a film depiction of a saint.

7. Favourite Autobiography/Biography of a saint?
In my last parish we had the perpetual novena each Thursday and Father's homily usually centred around some very obscure saint he had found information on. I don't know whose biographies he used, but many of the tales were truly inspirational, many were also very funny.

8. Favourite novel/book by a saint?
Saints don't write novels, they don't set out to write books either.
The writings of St Paul are a constant source of inspiration.

9. Saint (besides your favourites) you'd want to meet?
Why? To find out what they're really like: Ss Joan of Arc and Christina Mirabilis. Becuase I love them: St John of God and St Theresa of Avila.

10. Saint you look to for help?
All of them, at different times, according to specific circumstances.

11.Favourite saint quote?
Any of the English Martyr quotes, my favourite quote is probably St Ralph Sherwin's "I appeal to my Redeemer's clemency. I have no boldness but in his blood. His bitter Passion is my only consolation" (1581)

12. Favourite Holy Card?
Sorry, I don't understand this question.

13. Favourite story of a saint?
Any stories of levitation, bilocation, walking miles carrying ones own head to find a priest....anything that defies common sense has to be good.

14. If you could go anywhere on a pilgrimage to a saint's homeland, where would it be?
I'd love to travel in the footsteps of St Paul. This would be particularly special as my husband has a great devotion to him and it is something we could do together.

15. Any Blesseds or Venerables that you would like to become canonized?

Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity

Blessed Margaret Sinclair

I'm not going to tag anyone because I think this meme is too long. Take up the challenge if you so wish!!

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

I've Arrived!!!!

Wheeeee, I've had a hit from the Vatican!

However, they got here by googling "inclusive language". Should I be pleased?

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Crucifix (3)

There is some dangerous rubbish on the internet, but you don't need me to tell you that. Within the "Catholic blogworld" much that is nasty and horrid has to do with the papacy of Paul VI. That the pope who gave us Humanae Vitae should be so castigated by those who consider themselves ultra orthodox is a great irony. He is a pope who suffered greatly (maybe more than John Paul II), because his suffering was so interior, did we all pray for him as much as we should have done?

Paul VI introduced the cross which is shown below being used by both John Paul II and Benedict XVI in their "hermaneutic of continuity".

Some rot has been written, that I refuse to provide hyperlinks to, that the cross is satanic, that it proves that the Chair of Peter is currently unoccupied because no "real pope" would use it.

The cross is certainly very rugged and there is something very disquieting about the way Christ is so slumped upon it. I have to say, I don't like it.  It is ugly and there is no getting away from that fact. However isn't the point of this representation that Christ is weighed down by our sins and totally submits to the will of the Father and for that moment on Calvary, He also submits totally to gravity. He must descend before he can ascend. The cross can also be seen as a metaphor for the Church Militant and few other crucifixes come close to showing a more humble, meek and human Christ. I'd personally be surprised if Benedict XVI ditched it (though many traddies wish he would), it means too much, it is too good a teaching aid. It is the crucifix on the end of the rosary I use which I got from Aid to the Church in Need, it most certainly has its place in the meditative life of the Church.

However, if you find all that too uncomfortable, here is a picture of John Paul II with the older papal cross.

God Bless our Popes, the Great, the Good and the rest!

Sunday, 17 February 2008


My immediate ancestors have done a lot of running away.

A great-great grandfather ran away from China because he had murdered someone, and his children spent a lot of effort getting as far away from each other as they could. A great grandfather ran away from China to get away from his parents who had (on the advice of his tutor) turned him into an opium addict to stop him being interested in girls. A great-great grandmother ran away from China, taking her young family with her, to escape heaven knows what.

My Irish grandmother disassociated herself from her immediate family and refused to have anything to do with them, in the process becoming a successful business woman. My own parents ran away from their own cultural heritages is a hazy glow of nineteen sixties idealism.

There are also relatives who have tried to run away from themselves through drink and gambling.

What about me? I have to admit it does leave me feeling pretty homeless/landless. I have something of an identity crisis from time to time. I can't answer simple questions like "what is your cultural background?", "where do you call home?", "what people do you identify with?".

I'm a "Heinz 57", part Hakka, part Hokkien, part Cantonese, part Dayak, part Irish. The Irish should be the largest part, but I'm fairly sure I'm hard-wired Cantonese as people can find me cold and arrogant in the flesh because I shoot from the hip and definitely prefer honesty to diplomacy.

Some fellow mongrels

I certainly don't want to do any running away, but this is because I have nowhere to run away from. Thank God for an understanding husband who appreciates that I don't have English cultural norms for politeness, use of vocabulary, tone or expression. I am particularly grateful for the fact he stopped me swearing, even if inside I feel like doing a "Plaistow Patricia"- PLEASE, FOR THE GOOD OF YOUR SOUL,DO NOT LOOK UP THIS CULTURAL REFERENCE IF YOU DON'T GET IT. My mannerisms can get me into a fair amount of bother with the hyper-sensitive English, who can think I'm on top note and really angry when I'm actually cool, calm and collected and just warming to my theme.

There are some things you can not run away from and have to accept. What would I do without the Catholic Church which does "exactly what it says on the tin" and directs us all irrespective of our personalities, cultural backgrounds and blood lines, to the one thing worth running towards?

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Slap in the face

My family have an oft told tale about a long dead relative (may God rest her soul) that is usually dredged out to show how hypocritical us Catholics are. I just see it as a warning about all our behaviour and that is why I'm repeating it now.

Whilst very ill in hospital, she was visited by a Jesuit priest she knew and asked if she would like to make her confession and reconcile herself to God. She promptly found enough strength to slap the priest across the face and say something about being "more sinned against than sinning".

My point is this. Don't we all sometimes slap Christ across the face with our refusal to repent, be humble and truly follow him? We say to ourselves how good and holy we are, (not like the other fellow over there) good and holy our refined lives are, how morally upright and true to the Church's teaching we are, how much more modest and dignified we are than that that female Eucharistic minister with the spray-on bright green jeans and rainbow jumper, how well we genuflect, how well we pray........

The Mocking of Christ - Fra Angelico

I've just stumbled across this. I can find nothing unorthodox about it and I particularly like its down to earth style and complete lack of intellectual hubris (something that some other online Catholic magazines may just be guilty of). They can be contacted at

If you know otherwise, let me know.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Book Tag

Andrew at Unam Sanctam has tagged me for the 123 book meme. I'm in my study, looking through an undergraduate physics text book, so here goes.

(1) find the nearest book.
Done! Fundamentals of Physics by Halliday, Resnick and Walker 5th ed
(2) open p 123
(3) find the 5th sentence
(4) post the next three.

Figure 6-21 shows a section of a circular space station that rotates about its center so as to give an apparent weight to the crew. One of the crew is shown at the outer wall of the station, which has velocity v. (a) If the astronaut moves to a point closer to the center (say by taking the elevator), does his apparent weight increase, decrease, or remain the same? (b) If instead, the astronaut runs along the outer wall in the direction opposite v (with a speed less than the magnitude of v), does his apparent weight increase, decrease or remain the same?

Now don't all go flooding my comment box with answers to this all at once...

I tag Irene, and Joe (will it be Physics or Faith or neither?)

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Jesus saith to him: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me. John 14:6

Terry Nelson has some news that whilst inevitable, fills me with dread. There is so much room for division and outrage over the 5th Marian Dogma, the Church needs our prayers. I will always be obedient, but for me personally if the 5th dogma is pronounced and Mary is proclaimed coredemptrix it would turn my world upsidedown. I will most definitely be in need of your prayers.

Better minds than mine will be meditating over this, we must pray that the Holy Spirit prevails and God's will is done.

What I am about to say is my personal opinion, but I feel affronted for Christ, like many of you do when you witness liturgical abuses. I feel I have a right to bleat. I bleat over the image used by those who wish to pronounce Mary, "Mother of all Nations" and hence coredemptrix. I can not believe it is an icon, a true image. Dear reader, put me straight if you feel I err.

Nobody has a right to obscure the cross of Christ. The woman in the image has placed herself in front of the cross, the empty cross is no-longer a scandal but the means of her personal glory. In nativity scenes Mary is bathed with light from the Infant. In crucifixion scenes, Mary unites her suffering to Our Lord and she is redeemed through her united suffering. Where is Christ in this image? Why can the woman in the image radiate light; Christ is the light of the world? The woman in the image looks like a siren calling the sheep to the rocks. Look at the sheep around her, they have no shepherd, they look like the sheep in pens waiting for slaughter at the abattoir. Would Our Lady do this?

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Two for the price of one

Two memes:

Firstly, a meme from Mac. I'm using my real middle name, unlike Thomas Xerxes Vegas, who modified the rules. Incidentally I was going to be Christened Monica, but my Grandmother (a good but fearsome Catholic lady) objected, I never did find out why.

1. You have to post the rules before you give your answers.

2. You must list one fact about yourself beginning with each letter of your middle name. (If you don't have a middle name, use your maiden name or your mother's maiden name).

3. At the end of your blog post, you need to tag one person for each letter of your middle name. (Be sure to leave them a comment telling them they've been tagged.)

M - Manchester: a great place to grow up, but I hardly recognise it now.
O - Odessa, one place I'd love to visit.
N - Namaste: great word!
I - Irish: The half of me that loves potatoes.
C - Chinese: The half of me that loves congee.
A - Apples: must be English (if you live in England- they don't travel well but they are better than any others)

Secondly from WSNS:

So I tag (read: give publicity to my fave blogs from around the world)
Archistrategos- The Phillipines
Mark - Penang, Malaysia
Andrew-Unam Sanctam - Penang, Malaysia
Tom in Vegas - self explanatory really and he's already been tagged by someone else.
Adrienne - where they suffer from real weather in N Idaho

Ooh...and I can't count either ;-)
I'm no good at rules unless they are religious ones (and that is all about obedience through love)or ones that make some sense like traffic regulations...

Friday, 8 February 2008

Crucifix (2)

In the 1972 Jamaican cult classic "The Harder They Come" starring the singer Jimmy Cliff, the "hero" at one stage finds himself subject to a fairly merciless flogging whilst being held over a barrel. The film is very violent, but this scene is particularly shocking because, as the man is being flogged the director draws our attention to the fact that due to the pain of the incident, he wets himself. The scene ends (if I remember correctly) with the sight and sound of urine trickling down the barrel. We are meant to see the human vulnerability of the character, and the weakness of the body is so much more profound and shocking than gore and cries of pain. It is a good piece of cinema.

One of the reasons why I have shied away from watching Mel Gibson's "Passion", is that I fear it relies heavily on horror and gore. Whilst this may be profoundly disturbing and moving I'm not convinced it is necessary to be shown in film the horror of the crucifixion coupled with the human vulnerability and human nakedness of Christ in his final agonies? Will not Gibson's images haunt my further meditations on the sacred mysteries? Will my meditations not as a result become cheapened by visual imagery?

To feel even fleetingly a minute fraction of what Christ's Blessed Mother must have felt at Calvary, it is not images, but a piercing of the heart that is required and that is only going to come from following and loving Our Lord. I personally prefer to rest my gaze on the beautiful crucifix by Zurbaran.

A beautiful Christ, few wounds, little blood; but look at the horror of the emptiness and dark around the cross. Christ IS the only true light to guide us in the world, everything else is as false as a movie.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

I Will Serve

Mark in Penang has a new blog on the go; Serviam. Please pay him a visit, his previous blog Exsurge Domine, always made interesting reading. I wish there were more young Catholics in the UK who could write as well as he can.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Meme from La Mama

An interesting meme from La Mamma

1. What's been your best Lenten-effort-idea ever?

I'm not sure how I can judge that. I wonder how many of the fruits of our Lents will remain hidden from us in this life. Adding someone who is "difficult" to my daily prayers and making sure my actions towards that someone are what the Lord expects, is a good challenge.

2. And your worst?
Making promises to myself I couldn't keep regarding the works I was going to do. I think we should be very pragmatic about the promises we make... I know God knows our intentions and loves us for them, but I'm sure we sin in deluding ourselves about our over-ambitious holiness.

3. What good Lenten advice would you share?
Dedicate a regular time to prayer each day and "do" the Stations at least weekly in Church, keep the Friday fasts (even when husband/family are not so keen)......the rest will follow. Oh, and don't be disappointed when others don't seem to have your zeal for the season, you never know what is going on in their lives that may be a real battle.

4. And what will feature this year?
Endeavouring to maximise the caritas, money is extremely tight (and the credit has run out!) this season. Caritas will definitely not involve giving money to charity (other than what is collected in our charity boxes dotted round the house for passing loose change), I'm going to have to give much more with the heart, which is as it should be.

Everyone who reads this, please!

p.s: I think what we eat in this season is important. I believe fish is a luxury so is not an option when abstaining from meat. Has anybody got any good recipes for the ultra-simple, meat-free meal. Nothing involving food/spices from overseas either, as they are a luxury too and NO GARLIC (I hate the stuff).

Friday, 1 February 2008


I've never been a fan of naked crosses in churches or homes or round necks. To me they represent the scandal of the cross and as such they can never be beautiful as crosses, even if some are beautifully fashioned. So when the ever wonderful Nicholas posted this quote from Archbishop Fulton Sheen, I felt compelled to write in further detail on this subject.

Keep you eyes on the crucifix, for Jesus without a cross is a man without a mission, and the cross without Jesus is a burden without a reliever.

A crucifix can never depict the full horrors of the crucifixion. I'm not sure anyone would claim even the horrors of the Grunewald crucifixion (below) were realistic.

Any image of Christ on the cross transfigures the horrors of the event it depicts. This is particularly true of those images where Christ wears priestly robes and his arms are simply outstretched rather than succumbing to gravity. The modern looking "Christ the King" crucifix shown below is actually the famous 8th century Lucca crucifix.

A crucifixion scene shows new life, not death, shows hope not despair. The 5th century image below appeals to me greatly in its simplicity, it shows Judas on the left and Christ on the right: despair and hope.

Over the coming weeks I will probably post some more ramblings on this theme. They will not be an art critic's musings or a historian's musings, I am not that learned. I will just be writing about what I see and what fills me with inspiration.

To date I much acknowledge 2 websites that have been most illuminating on this topic:
Augusta State University