Saturday, 19 March 2011

It is neither wise nor logical to play a game of brinkmanship with someone who is more unhinged than you are.

What the blazes are we doing in Libya?

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Lenten stuff

I remember aged mother-in-law getting all huffy when family and local priest kept telling her she no longer needed to fast during Lent, she was exempt for being old and frail .

I’m not altogether sure all our urges to undertake Lenten penance are entirely wholesome, however everyone likes to feel they can do their bit and I remain to be convinced that telling anyone they are exempt in highly legalistic terms does any good either.

I’m reminded of this because of my own physical condition. I’m still awaiting a concrete diagnosis though the main culprit does appear to be my pancreas, and I do seem to be getting worse. Naturally, many are saying, Lenten observances should be overlooked in my condition.


Lent is about overcoming passions, emptying yourself to those things that usually drive you through the day but which ultimately are nothing more than distractions.

If I enjoy food and look forward to it , then I should moderate it.
If I enjoy fine wine and look forward to a glass, then I should cut it out.
If I enjoy a juicy novel and make time for them in my schedule, then I should use that time for something else: prayer.

The problem is sickness can leave a person entirely anhedonic. I think I’m in the desert permanently, pleasures are fleeting and random, the only thing that is habitual is phenomenal tiredness and mental exhaustion.

Is my state making me more holy? I doubt it. I am currently irritable, irrational, obsessive and bored. What this does mean is that it is also harder to grasp at anything spiritual unless it bombards all the senses or it is approached in utter quiet and solitude, I cannot cope with even the slightest distraction.

This is a very dry land indeed, this desert of sickness.

So what to do? For me, my Lenten journey will be perverse. It will be about seeking more joy in the wilderness and not about seeking less enjoyment.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Novena of Grace

Devotion to St Francis Xavier is about the one thing that in the past united both sides of my family. His connection with my Chinese relatives is easy to understand, but I'm still not sure how devotion to him became so big in Dublin. The Novena of Grace starts Friday, this year I will be starting it too. The scans I have taken are of the leaflets I found in a box at my mothers that once belonged to my Irish grandparents. Somehow, I feel it is time to reconnect with this devotion.

Most amiable and most loving Saint Francis Xavier, in union with thee I reverently adore the Divine Majesty. I rejoice exceedingly on account of the marvelous gifts which God bestowed upon thee. I thank God for the special graces He gave thee during thy life on earth and for the great glory that came to thee after thy death. I implore thee to obtain for me, through thy powerful intercession, the greatest of all blessings--that of living and dying in the state of grace. I also beg of thee to secure for me the special favor I ask in this novena. (Here you may mention the grace, spiritual or temporal, that you wish to obtain.) In asking this favor, I am fully resigned to the Divine Will. I pray and desire only to obtain that which is most conducive to the greater glory of God and the greater good of my soul.

It is then customary to say:

V. Pray for us, Saint Francis Xavier. R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

O God, Who didst vouchsafe, by the preaching and miracles of Saint Francis Xavier, to join unto Thy Church the nations of the Indies, grant, we beseech Thee, that we who reverence his glorious merits may also imitate his example, through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Then add 3 Our Father's and 3 Hail Mary's in memory of Saint Francis Xavier's devotion to the Most Holy Trinity, and Glory be to the Father 10 times in thanksgiving for the graces received during his 10 years of apostleship.