Sunday, 25 October 2009

Adult Education

My take on the Anglican/Catholic relationship:

Many years ago, I decided to train as a teacher in Further Education (post 16) and Adult Education. It was my most useful teacher training by far. One of the key things teachers need to know about when adults learn (that makes it quite different from when children learn), is that for adults to learn anything, there will have to be a time of unlearning and possibly considerable emotional turmoil.

Here are some things I picked up all those years ago. I use them frequently when looking at myself and in my covert evangelisation for the Faith.

(1) Adults carry attitudes, these are settled ways of thinking and behaving. In order to learn, there will often be direct conflict with these attitudes.

(2) Adults have values. We live in a world where "core values" are essential and we are constantly asked to make "value judgments". Do they have any place in our quest for the Truth? Probably not, our values are essentially "value neutral". Plunging deeper into our being to see what lies behind our values is far more important and far more painful.

(3) The motivation of an adult to learn may simply be to shore up a set of pre-conceived values and attitudes. Get them questioning these attitudes and vaules and the motivation to learn can often disappear.

(4) Adults are far more likely to personalise their involvement with their learning than children. A far greater set of painful memories, guilt and anxieties exists in adults than in children. When teaching adults, you may find they start looking for answers to problems that they have not discussed with anyone. They may seem completely off task, when really you have encouraged them to think about something painful that they may have buried deep within themselves for some considerable time. Be extremely gentle.

(5) Be wary of the well educated, articulate and well-balanced individual. Often the eloquence is an effective smoke screen to hide emotions and to act as a rational damper for all feelings. This person will probably end up hating you, and their learning will be an uncomfortable experience for themselves and for you.

So there you have it. In my twenties, I learned that adults were vulnerable, insecure individuals and that gentleness is the only way.


As the "only Papists in our village", we are feeling relationships with our neighbours are a little difficult at the moment. Resentment towards Rome simmers beneath the surface.....The Holy Spirit is always the advocate of Truth. The only way through this is with prayer and charity.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Motorway Theology

Conversation whilst driving along the M6 travelling back from Manchester.

Me: Gosh Dearest Husband, every time we drive along here they seem to be doing something else with this tarmac, this must be one of the most expensive bits of motorway in the universe.

DH: in the Universe? How can you be so sure?

Me: Oh, I’m really not happy with the idea that there are any other planets out there with life on them. So an extremely expensive stretch of tarmac on Earth will be the only one of its kind in the Universe.

DH: don’t assume to know the mind of God. He can do anything and if he wants, he will have other planets with life on them.

Me: Oh no, dearest, far be it for me to be that arrogant. Our awesome Triune God can do what he likes, much of which will blow my little brain to smithereens. No, my problem is with Our Lady. We were tempted by the serpent and we fell. To redeem us, God sent His only Son into the world to be born of a virgin. The Incarnation has to be a unique event in the Universe. There can only be one incarnation, there can only be one spotless tabernacle of the Lord, there can only be one Queen of Heaven. How can heaven have more than one Queen?

DH: Who says those on the other worlds fell like we did?

Me: Oh, I see, like we’re the black sheep of God’s children in the Universe and something a bit special was needed to redeem us. That might explain the lack of extra terrestrial visitors, we’re in quarantine.

DH: Could be.

Me: But if all the other worlds have not fallen, would they have any need for motorways?

DH: Probably not.

Me: Then this probably is one of the most expensive bits of tarmac in the Universe.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

So it is now a week since St Therese was in Oxford. I know several of you have commented on this already.

Veneration for me involved kneeling before her tomb, placing my left hand on the perspex and asking her to help me love Jesus more and more. Very simple, very sisterly, totally sincere. I then knelt at the altar rails and spent much time before the tabernacle before moving onwards to light my lamp……

I was amazed at the numbers of people who asked me (as a their token holy Joe) how they ought to venerate a relic. So many thought there would be a rigid protocol, a prescribed formula. So many seemed stunned that really, you do what you feel most comfortable doing provided you do it whilst opening up your heart to our God.

However, what is clear is that her visit represents a clear watershed. The faithful and the keen to be more faithful, have regained a sense of worth and belonging. Forget traditional and liberal divides, this was about the ordinary being so ordinary in their faith, simplicity and togetherness that it was extraordinary.

Hopefully the days when priests would not even hold Eucharistic Adoration because they couldn’t prescribe how the “punters” would “adore” during silent adoration and felt threatened by this are nearly over. The ordinary have extraordinary faith, and nobody can dictate to them how they ought to show it or feel it.

The sheer numbers (30,000) at my home cathedral of Salford left a tear in my eye. Such people deserve the best of shepherds.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Thank you ....

Thank you dear friends for your prayers and support.

I'm afraid that coming from a medical background means I'm highly cynical about aspects of the medical profession and the NHS. If we can communicate with each other and they are as objective as possible without playing at being minor deities or second rate accountants then it will be a blessing.

Our Lord is the only physician that counts! And I am going to see one of His best senior registrars, St Therese, this week.

Don't get me wrong, I haven't as yet been able to join in with the great St Therese love-in. However it has been a couple of very bizarre weeks. Despite or maybe because I find her so difficult, I decided to organise minibus for those nearby who wished to visit the relics. I'm immersing myself in things Theresian and this too is proving very difficult. I keep telling myself that she was a seeker after the truth and as truth cannot contradict truth, I must be able to find Truth through her.

Instead all I had, up till today, was a heady cloud of jealousy over her "holy daring", the unconditional love of her parents, the good Catholic childhood that she had...and everything else I could possibly be jealous over about her. It was a real inner struggle. I felt like I was one of her diabolical tormentors in her last year and I felt like a worm for being like that. I also felt extreme anger, indeed I shocked myself at how angry I felt that freeze dried rose petals were for sale at the back of the Oxford Oratory this weekend ahead of her visit. Get thee behind me, Luther.

And all the time, I've worn the mask, making sure the visit or our minibus will be a success. Organising it to make sure it will be as prayerful a visit as possible. All the time beating myself up for being a hypocrite.

Well, that cloud has lifted today.....I sincerely feel ready to visit the Oxford Oratory when she visits.

Thank you for your prayers. My illness seems currently to be irrelevant. I know what I have to concentrate on, with all my will, all my intellect and most importantly, all my heart.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Still here ....

Blogging is reluctantly on the backburner. My head is a mess and it is taking me all my time to try to keep at work and be relatively human for my husband when I get home. Only 10 days till I get to see the specialist....I'm not holding my breath.

The word for the week is "thwarted". Everything I do seems to take twice as long as it ought to and is usually full of mistakes.

Bizarrely, I'm also filling up with jealousy and rage over someone/something so totally undeserving that I feel nothing but disgust for myself. But as I was thwarted in my attempts to get to confession this morning, I will not reveal the reasons why.

Many of us seem to be facing battles at the moment. Faith, Hope and Charity will see us through.

St Michael, pray for us.