Thursday, 25 October 2012

The Tiny Hand.

From a little child I have been fond of the animal kingdom.There seemed to be no animal that I could not love,no creature that was named vile or vermin that was not redeemable in my eyes.Any bird I found lying dead in the road I would retrieve and bury under a pile of leaves in the churchyard,chiefly I suppose because I didnt want it to be trodden on and flattened,but also because I mourned for the life that was in it and was no more.A thing of beauty extinguished.They did not have to be beautiful for my childish mind to love them.The stranded earthworm on the hot pavement was rescued, and put in some shady, moist, spot.,The snails fastened to the flower pots were removed, and hidden before my father, a gardner, saw them,the spider on my bedroom ceiling ,left to spin its web..
                My love for all animals was tolerated and understood by my parents.The lamb  beef or pork  on my plate at dinnertime, was not the same as those creatures that I loved to gaze at in the fields around me.The  meat that I ate was spelt Lam......that in the field beyond..., Lamb.I believed what I was told.I was protected from the harsher elements of animal husbandry.Led away from the market place,where unskinned rabbits were displayed and the chickens in the garden lived, because of my attachment to them.There was always a dog on the hearthrug for me to love,a tiny mouse in my brother's pocket,the birds in the air,the green grocer's horse,the beasts in the field.All was good in my little world.
               Until the day that I looked into the window of the butcher's shop and saw a pig hanging from a hook...............
                This then was reality.Before my watery eyes was the evidence of the destruction of life.The animal life that I so cherished,so loved,so longed to be near.I think now,looking back,that young as I was, I understood natural death,and accepted it as such.That day outside the butcher's shop,I understood slaughter......for food.
                 I got used to the idea eventually of course,and learned that even animals hunted and killed each other,  for the most part, for survival. .It was, after all the natural order of things,that it was the balance of nature and that the Father of all things natural was God.I grew to understand that for the most part, animals acted by instinct.But it was the life in them that I loved, and .slowly  I realised that the same spirit that breathed life in them, breathed life in me,that I was part of the great plan of the creator,and that great plan,was a holy and sacred thing.
So where is all this leading...
                A few days ago when browsing, I came across the photograph of a baby's hand.So perfect ,so new,the little lines across the palm unique,never ever to be repeated. .The fingers long and pointing upwards,the skin unblemished and entirely beautiful.God's work of art,His creation His secret.......The tiny hand,so defenceless,so helpless so loveable.God knew the owner of this little hand before He knitted him together,breathed life into him at conception,and desired his love.God's masterpiece,a human being,  higher than the animals,and just a little lower than the angels.As I scrolled down I saw God's plan for this little life would never come to fruition.That this precious ,precious,life that the tiny hand represented.had been destroyed before birth.Denied baptism,
 classed as hospital waste, denied a final resting place.I could not think of any other species that destroys it's unborn,that we human beings alone, seem to commit the unspeakable,and deem it acceptable.But of course it is not acceptable.Not at any stage.Not for any reason.Never.
               The tiny hand spoke reality to me.
We catholics seem at times to be anaesthetised on major issues.Everything is sanitised.The wrath of God,His justice,whoever heard of that! A strange inertia envelopes us.  We know that abortion is wrong.the church says so.We do not want to think about it ,or be reminded of it.We do not want to right a wrong,we have lost the battle because we have no appetite to fight.We sleep walk through our faith.
What of those, whose lives are touched by abortion?The mothers who feel that there is no other way out. Those who regret that decision,and even those that don't.Those who believe that we, the created ,have a right to choose who should live and who should die?That some human life because it has not drawn breath, is somehow disposable,and has as much worth as the flotsam  and jetsam that floats upon the sea.
           What can we do?........What do we do?Keep silent,and get on with our lives?We the catholics in the pew,need above all to support in whatever way we can, the efforts of those who are active in the fight against abortion..Those organizations in the front line who deal with the fall out,who help and look after the expectant mother who has nothing,those that hold silent vigil in public,those that witness for life.Those that protect the unborn,and those who pray for the abortioner.
           I have been silent about the death of your life My God.My great Creator who knows when each lowly sparrow falls to the ground,and  who numbers the hairs on my head.Forgive me,and give me the grace to be silent no more.Amen.

N.B.The bodily remains of the little child that I speak of above, were found and given  burial in a catholic cemetary in America.Loved by "The Priests for Life",and named David,the gift of God.


Thursday, 23 August 2012

Ark of the Covenant.

The portrait above has hung upon my wall for forty years or more.
                          There has been laughter,and tears, beneath it.Every Christmas it is placed above the fireplace,and decorated with evergreen branches, two  candles on either side, alight  on Christmas Eve.It is part of the very fabric of my home,a constant reminder of the cause of our joy.
Many, are the paintings of Our Lady and the Holy Child,and there are many that I love.But it the "Jewishness" of Our lady in this picture that appeals to me.The gravity,and composure in her face,the little child in her left arm,close to her heart.
I have often wondered which part of the Gospel this portrait depicts.After the presentation in the temple maybe,when she has listened to the words of Simeon,or resting briefly on the flight into Eygpt.Perhaps after the visit of the Magi.
                   There is sorrow, as well as overwhelming love in her gaze.She seems to be aware of the shadow of the cross.Aware also, of the sword that will pierce her heart.
                   I do not know the artist,as I cannot read the signature on the print,and I have never seen it in any other place.No doubt it is a well known portrait in some corner of the world,it may not even be a painting of Our Lady and the Holy child,but......I treat it as such!
                   Mystical Rose
                   Tower of Ivory
                   Cause of our Joy
                   Ora Pro Nobis.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Do Not Mess With The Mass.

For a really good explanation of the Mass please go here:.
  And can any one explain to me what a "Praise and Worship Mass " is?                                                                                                                                   

Friday, 17 August 2012

The Legion Of Mary.

"Faith must strain after all men with inextinguishable ardour.Sometimes that essential note is missing.People are not sought after,neither in the fold nor those outside it.But if the Ascension commandment(Go preach the Gospel to every Creature) be disregarded,it will be at a price.....the price of loss of grace,of diminution and decay even to the extinction of faith.Look round and see how many places  have already paid that awful price."
(Handbook of The Legion of Mary).
                      As a  young catholic,I understood that the great mission of the church was evangelization. That it was our duty if not our joy,  to spread the words of our salvation to those around us and beyond.Most converts are fired up by zeal to begin with.  I was no exception and wanted to share the pearl of great price with everyone.In those days The Legion Of Mary existed in most parishes in this area,all having a very healthy mixed membership and all as the name suggests, dedicated to Our Lady under a particular title.My local praesidium  or unit (the Legion is organized on the model of the Roman army)was called "Our Lady of Grace",and I joined it a few months after my baptism.
                  The work undertaken was as the Parish priest prescribed.He attended every meeting ,led the Rosary and gave the allocutio or homily.One of the first assignments given to me and my fellow Legionary was to visit the local bowling alley.There the young gathered,their own meeting place.It was easy to strike up conversations there.They were my generation,and I was not afraid to ask them their thoughts on life and death.Frank Duff, the founder of the Legion, once said that if a man stops you in the street, and asks you for a light for his cigarette,within a few minutes he will be asking you for God.I think that that is true whatever veil covers the request.
               Census work was undertaken,census of the whole parish.We knocked on every door,every mansion,every council house,every mobile home.Any dwelling where a lapsed catholic might be found(.It seems to me these days, that there are many lapsed Catholics waiting to be found....that no one searches for the lost).Hospitals and nursing homes were visited ,catholics and non catholics conversed with if they were well enough and always, always a prayer said before departure.The most lovely work undertaken was the taking of a statue of Our Lady to catholic families in the parish.The statue would be left with the family for a whole week,on the understanding that every day the rosary was prayed before her ,all the family together if possible.I loved transporting the statue and seeing the place made for her in their homes.A place usually decked out with the flowers of the season for Our Lady's honour.
              Christmas day was not exempt from work for the Legionary.The old and the lonely were visited on that most holy day.Looking back I guess it required some level of commitment to be  a Legionary.The weekly meeting was one and half hours more or less, and the work assigned at least two.Added to which the Legionary prayer had to be prayed daily,and you were required to attend the next level meeting,where all the local Praesidia from Parishes round about, would meet,usually once a month.
            "The object of the Legion is the sanctification of its members by prayer and active co-operation,under ecclesiastical guidance,in Mary's and the Church's work of crushing the head of the serpent,and advancing the reign of Christ".(LegionHandbook).
           I know that the Legion survives still in other parts of the country....I mourn its loss here.It seems that "Lay ministry" has taken the place of the lay apostolate ,that this" ministry" as applied here, has the effect of turning a parish community inward looking,instead of outward,making it exclusive instead of inclusive, of forgetting those outside the church gates who but for them, may never know the loving Christ.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The Angel at the Bus stop.

I felt particulary lonely last Sunday.
Lonely in my life,lonely in my faith,lonely in my spirit.Mass had seemed even more noisy than usual,which seemed to add to the humidity in the air.Before Mass I tried to bury my head in The little Office of Our Lady,which seems to put people off from trying to engage me in any conversation.I know that I must seem unapproachable to the people there.Not least because   I refuse to take the   magazine that is handed to me every month(I have a good reason for that)and refuse to wear a name tag.I am embarrassed by my refusals.I inwardly cringe as I run the gauntlet of the welcomers in the narthex knowing that they perceive me as unfriendly.That morning as I once again refused the magazine,I was told to take it and leave it on the bench if I didnt want to read it.What is the point in that!.
          My solitary life is not by my design.Circumstances have made it so.I guess that it is God's will.If that is so,then my heart and mind says that I must embrace it, and bring forth with His grace, something beautiful from the desert. I make no secret of my traditionalist leanings.......I have been ridiculed because of matters not.It does not stop me loving those who do not agree.All of my life I have lived with people who did not agree.My own family, all non catholics at the time of my first conversion, were either seemingly indifferent to my new found faith,or, as in the case of my Father,rather hostile towards it, to put it mildly.That hostility he felt back then, did not stop him loving me,nor did I stop loving him.It was never a barrier to love,and that is how I feel about my fellow catholics now.The fact that I would wish to cover my head,to kneel to receive Him,to pray using the ancient beautiful language of the church is not a condemnation of them who do none of these things...far far from it,for most of the people at that little church have been more faithful than I.Rather, I think it is a case of honouring God , of recognising my own littleness before Him,of being concious of the holy ground that is The Mass.But these beliefs set me apart from my fellows,there is no traditionalist group in the area that I Sunday Latin Mass whereby I might fulfill the obligation ,no chance to worship in the way that my heart, mind, and conscience tells me.There is great loneliness in that ,and great sorrow.
These thoughts consumed me as I stood at the bus stop after Mass,  my lower self(who is my constant companion)told me that there was no point in going to Mass,where He whom the priest confects is not honoured.My higher self (who visits me now and again)told me that as long as Christ is present upon the altar there is no possibility of not going.My lower self, so persistent,, do not belong there,you are a pre-vatican 2 relic,remember what the priest says....we must move with the times,and so must the church.My higher self does not matter that you are alone in your beliefs,it does not matter if you are rejected or laughed really does not matter.
It is a very remote bus stop.I have never, ever, been joined by anyone else in waiting for the bus.Most people I would guess are still in bed at that time on a sunday morning.The congregation usually stop for coffee after Mass,or jump in their cars and drive off into the distance.To my surprise,this morning was to be different.What appeared to be an elderly lady was crossing the road and walking towards me,intent it seemed on reaching the stop.She showed me her bus pass and asked me if it was valid for that particular route and as I answered her and looked at her face ,I realised that it was quite beautiful.Now I am not a fanciful, person,nor am I prone to holy imaginings,but there was something unearthly in her beauty, some goodness which radiated from her gaze and my loneliness so oppressive ,seemed to vanish as I looked into her eyes.She asked me if I had been to Mass and what were those labels that everyone  wore.I answered that they were name tags worn to show everyone your name..............She was silent, waiting for me to continue,and I couldnt help it but the words fell out of my mouth.It was all about community I said,about being inclusive,you know, not leaving anybody out.....but.......,go on, she said, go on.Sometimes I said, I think that they have forgotten about the great God,that they praise and love themselves before God,that community means more to them than worship,and reverence,and consciousness of holiness.That if it is God's house,then it must be treated as such,not as a social meeting place,but a quiet sanctified  place, where the Creator meets the created, and where the Son is sacrificed for the sinner.
           I expected reproof.Or a polite disagreement.It did not come.Instead it was seven words,Seven words that lifted my spirit ,and which remain with me."I am so glad you said that".With that, the bus arrived.She only travelled for one stop.Hardly worth it I thought.Was it possible that she agreed with me?Am I not so alone in my views,did she understand that I meant that if you love God first and honour Him,the love of your neighbour would follow?
         I have never seen her before.I dont know if I will see her again.As I sit here and remember that encounter,I wonder if she was a figment of my imagination.Conjoured up from my loneliness and dejection.A kind of self-justification.I am not a fanciful person.I do not have holy imaginings.I am sane,sensible,and normal ,no I do not have holy imaginings...................

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Mac's Meme.

.   ( have been tagged by my dear Friend Jane,with regards to a meme from Mulier Fortis.The subject of the meme is to suggest three books for Mac's newly aquired Kindle.and then to tag five other bloggers.My choices are as follows:
1.Literary Converts,by Joseph Pierce.(includes Chesterton,Belloc,Baring,Knox,Muggeridge and Alec Guinness.)

2.St Francis,by G.k.Chesterton.(I included this book because St.Francis must be the most misrepresented saint of all,and I feel Chesterton captures his true spirit.)

3.Louis and Zelie Martin,by Rev.Paulinus Redmond.(Written in the form of letters to their daughter ,St Therese,and an illustration of ordinary lives lived extraordinarily well)
My five bloggers are as follows
Bara Brith.


Loved sinner.

That the Bones You Have Crushed.

Ecumenical Diablog

 For some strange reason cant get the links to work...however ,you get my drift....
Rules are as follows.
Post rules on Blog.
Tag five bloggers,and tell them they have been tagged on their blog.
No Ref.books,or prayer books.
Link back to the person who tagged you.

Friday, 23 September 2011


When I became a catholic all those years ago there was no hint of any council.Yet within a few short years I found myself in the midst of what was called "The Showcase of Vatican 2".I dont remember any explanation for the changes,it seemed to happen almost overnight.No guides to the New Mass,no discussions on the documents ,no help for our bewilderment .It seemed to me that our priests were silent,certainly sermons on the evils of "modernity"ceased.I was too new to question.Too new,too young ,too inarticulate.
                  I survived for ten years.I worked in the parish,joined the Legion of Mary considered a religious vocation.But underneath there was a growing, undeniable ,conviction that what was happening in the church was not what I had signed up for.Central to my faith however and something that never wavered, was the belief that this was indeed the church that Christ founded.I held on to that belief then,and in  the years that followed.I hold on to it now.
                 It is about three years since I returned.I have had a lot of solitude,a lot of deep thinking a lot of soul searching.I have read the Vatican 2 documents...well most of them.I have read about the"Ottiavani Intervention"and the subsequent letter of loyalty. I have compared the church we have now and what it was like before.What I was like then,and what I am now.I have read liberal blogs,traditional  blogs,protestant blogs.I have tried to bend my mind to  what some call nu-church, and what follows are my conclusions.
                I believe Blessed John Paul's words,that "It is the privilege of the ordained to touch the sacred species".(I have seen instances of self -communicating,and lay people who"Do Exposition".)
                I believe that the use of Extraordinary ministers should be just that.Extraordinary.
                I believe that our priests should take Our Lord to the sick and the housebound(who hears their confessions?)
                I believe in the validity of the Novus Ordo.
                I yearn for The Mass of Ages.
                I believe that The Blessed Sacrament reserved, should not be kept in a hole in a wall,but in the most prominent position .
                I believe in the use of the Latin language in the liturgy.
                I believe  that men and women have their own separate place in the life of the church(I guess that means men only on the Altar )
                I believe that the Extraordinary Form should be available in every parish(difficult as yet I know,but I still believe it should be so).
                I believe that the priest should celebrate Mass facing God, together with the people.
                I believe that Mass is the re-presentation of the sacrifice of Calvary,and not the celebration of The Last Supper(I have met those who think it to be so)
                I believe that true participation in Holy Mass consists in the reception of Holy Communion in a state of grace.
I realise that I am just as orthodox or traditional or whatever you may wish to call it, now, as what I was  when I was just a slip of a girl.I have not moved on.I cannot move on.Was I wrong then?Am I wrong now?And what I believed then and what I deemed holy ,and what the church taught me was holy, is it any less holy now?And if it is less holy how can that be?
So I ponder upon these things and generally keep them in my heart.....unless I am asked of course....oh if only someone would ask!