Saturday, 28 January 2012
Sunday, 22 January 2012
which has given me an excuse to post this snap of St George's, Worcester which I took in October 2010. Elgar was organist at St George's from 1885 until 1889- although he had deputised for his father, who preceded him in the post, from 1872. At his leaving the parish priest, Fr Knight, presented him with a copy of Blessed John Henry Newman's poem "The Dream of Gerontius" as a wedding present. The rest is, as they say, history!
Thursday, 19 January 2012
Today is the feast day of St Wulstan who was bishop of Worcester from 1062-95 and who was canonised by Pope Innocent III in 1203. The crypt, shown here, is the most complete survival of the rebuilding of the cathedral undertaken by St Wulstan who, nevertheless, is said to have shed tears at the necessary demolition of the work of his holy predecessors. He was renowned for his pastoral solicitude no less than for his personal holiness. Distracted while celebrating mass by the delicious smell of roasting meat wafting from the monastery kitchen, he resolved never to eat meat again. He was assiduous in visiting his diocese which extended as far south as Bristol- where he intervened to stop the slave trade.
Sunday, 15 January 2012
Wednesday, 11 January 2012
"We offer them for your holy catholic Church, watch over it, Lord, and guide it; grant it peace and unity throughout the world. We offer them for Benedict, our Pope, for N. our bishop, and all who hold and teach the catholic faith that comes to us from the apostles."
The new translation of the same part goes thus:
"...which we offer you firstly for your holy catholic Church. Be pleased to grant her peace, to guard, unite and govern her throughout the whole world together with your servant Benedict our Pope and N. our Bishop, and all those who, holding to the truth, hand on the catholic and apostolic faith."
I do not think that there is anything glaringly wrong with the old version and there is certainly nothing amiss with praying for "all who hold and teach the catholic faith that comes to us from the apostles" but in the new translation it is made quite clear that the faith- the "catholic and apostolic faith"- is something which is "handed on" by those who "hold... to the truth".
In other words the faith is seen as not just something vaguely floating down to us "from the apostles" but something particular and almost concrete and, as such, dependent upon those intermediate persons- i.e. between the apostles and ourselves- actually holding (on to) the truth.
To speak in these terms is to recognise both the active nature of tradition in the Church- "handed on" being the literal meaning of "tradition"- and the particularity of the faith. That the truth is, necessarily, conceived as something to be "held to" for the purpose of the handing on of the faith is also remarkable. Indeed it is a ringing declaration of the fact that the catholic and apostolic faith is something altogether different from what most people in contemporary society would conceive of as "a faith"- namely belief in a set of more or less improbable fancies. Rather is it anchored in the truth.
Sunday, 8 January 2012
To blase the rising of this glorious sunne
A gltteringe starre appeareth in the Easte
Whose sight to Pilgrimm toyles three sages wunne
To seek the light they long had in requeste
And by this starre to nobler starr they pace
Whose armes did their desired sunne embrace
Stall was the skye wherein these planets shynde
And want the cloud that did eclipse their rayes
Yet through this cloud their light did passage finde
And perc’d these sages harts by secret waies
Which made them knowe the ruler of the skyes
By infant tongue and lookes of babish eyes
Heaven at her light, earth blusheth at her pride
And of their pompe these Peeres ashamed bee
Their Crownes, their robes their trayne they sett aside
When Gods poore cotage clouts and crewe they see
All glorious thinges their glory now dispise
Sith God contempt doth more than glory prize
Three giftes they bringe three giftes they beare awaye
For incense myrrhe and gould , faith hope and love
And with their gifts the givers hartes do staye
Their mynde from Christ no parting can remove
His humble state, his stall his poor retynewe
They phancie more then all their ritch revenewe
St Robert Southwell S.J. (1561-95)
Saturday, 7 January 2012
It seemed to me at once bizarrely strange but also curiously "familiar". As the saffron-robed searchers reverently laid out the treasures before each little boy I felt myself witnessing something remarkably similar to events in Bethlehem some two thousand years ago. Of course there are people who argue that the Infancy narratives in the Gospels are merely the Evangelists mythologising!
Thursday, 5 January 2012
The law's been passed and I am lying low
Hoping to hide from those who think they are
Kindly, compassionate. My step is slow.
I hurry. Will the executioner
Be watching how I go?
Others about me clearly feel the same.
The deafest one pretends that she can hear.
The blindest hides her white stick while the lame
Attempt to stride. Life has become so dear.
Last time the doctor came,
All who could speak said they felt very well.
Did we imagine he was watching with
A new deep scrutiny? We could not tell.
Each minute now we think the stranger Death
Will take us from each cell
For that is what our little rooms now seem
To be. We are prepared to bear much pain,
Terror attacks us wakeful, every dream
Is now a nightmare. Doctor's due again.
We hold on to the gleam
Of sight, a word to hear. We act, we act,
And doing so we wear our weak selves out.
We said, "We want to die" once when we lacked
The chance of it. We wait in fear and doubt.
O life, you are so packed
With possibility. Old age seems good.
The ache, the anguish - we could bear them we
Declare. The ones who pray plead with their God
To turn the murdering ministers away,
But they come softly shod.
Thanks to Ben Trovato
Update: An ideal doctor?