Thursday, May 29, 2008

Prayer in the Night

He lay with quiet heart in the stern asleep:
Waking, commanded both the winds and sea.
Christ, though this weary body slumber deep,
Grant that my heart may keep its watch with Thee.
O Lamb of God that carried all our sin
Guard Thou my sleep against the enemy

-Alcuin (trans. Helen Waddell)


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Chant help required

It looks like it might finally happen. In an attempt to implement, at least in part, the Benedictine reforms, we have a small schola that is prepared to sing Masses through the year (we thought Candlemas, Annunciation, Visitation, Sacred Heart, Assumption, Triumph of the Cross, All Souls, Immaculate Conception - regular but not too much). The curate wants to celebrate ad orientem and in Latin for all but the readings and the psalm using the Ordinary Form.

We are inexperienced and my fear is that for our first Mass, the offertory and communion for the Assumption will be too much. Would it be better to substitute (as we can according to the GIRM) a simpler Marian antiphon and hymn (e.g. Ave Maria in a simple tone and Ave Maris Stella)?

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Rangers Week: SFA meets to consider Rangers punishment

SFA officials meet at Hampden to consider what punishment to hand down to Rangers following the appalling violence in Manchester. Suggestions include a "punitive fine of, say, £15.20" or "a very stern look".

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Rangers Week: Gers lose in Manchester - a nation mourns.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Rangers Week: SPL -normal service resumed

As an ecumenical gesture, this blog is featuring Glasgow Rangers-related stories to show there is no sectarian stuff here. No siree

Clearly Rangers suffered in Manchester from having neutral UEFA officials at the Cup Final. Ibrox officials will breathe a sigh of relief that normal service has been resumed.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Tommy Burns RIP

Celtic legend Tommy Burns died last week aged 51 - too young, far too young. When I posted about the death of Phil O'Donnell earlier this year a commenter questioned why I had highlighted this footballer when they're just a bunch of overpaid prima donnas etc, etc. I suppose death is the ultimate leveller, as was apparent in the medieval danse macabre. I highlighted these two men because at a time when footballers are perceived, often rightly, as feral millionaire degenerates, drunk on champagne in nightclubs and burning fifty pound notes, it needs pointing out that some of these men are good role models for young kids. Tommy Burns used his position at Celtic, Kilmarnock and Scotland to show to youngsters that there is another way - to be good at your work and play fair without rancour. To be devoted to your family and your faith and give of your time, effort and energy to give to others without expectation of reward.

Young people idolise footballers. Tommy Burns and Phil O'Donnell gave a very effective witness was given that faith, the Faith, trumps everything else, as will be clear at Tommy's requiem Mass tomorrow at St Mary's in Calton.

May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace.

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First Holy Communion

Well, the day went well. That's me in the top hat. Paulinus Minor Major did us proud - indeed all the children behaved impeccably, although I gather this isn't always the case.

Monsignor gave a gentle reminder that this was the childrens' First Holy Communion, rather than their last and a lovely sermon about the love of Jesus Christ made manifest in the Eucharist that made it clear that frequent communion was a habit the children should get into.

Thankfully the parents behaved reasonably well, too, though I did overhear one lady say "We were lucky to get the bouncy castle for this weekend!"

I gather things are worse in Ireland.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

First Communion

Please pray for my eldest boy who will receive, God willing, his First Holy Communion on Sunday.
No blogging until after Sunday as we prepare for this important day.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I'd do anything

Watching the goings-on of the Blair family with regard to the Faith is like watching a spiritual car crash.

Now Mrs Blair has really hit a low-water mark with the latest revelations in her autobiography, Speaking For Myself. Serialised in The Times, the latest titbits include this jaw-dropping (if not stomach-churning) vignette:

The former Prime Minister’s wife also reveals that she and her husband conceived their fourth child, Leo, while guests of the Queen at Balmoral. It happened because she had not packed her contraceptive equipment and because of the bitter cold, Mrs Blair says.
Emough, already. Too much information.

This with the Madame Arcati-like reliance on Mayan rebirthing ceremonies, "dowsing healers" (whatever they are) and this array of mumbo-jumbo:

When the Blairs moved into Downing Street, a feng shui expert rearranged the furniture at Number 10. Cherie wears a 'magic pendant' known as the BioElectric Shield, which is filled with 'a matrix of specially cut quartz crystals' that surround the wearer with 'a cocoon of energy' and ward off evil forces. (It was given to her by Hillary Clinton, another political spouse who combines the characteristic Third Way vices of sharp practice and bone-headedness). Then there have been inflatable Flowtron trousers, auricular therapy and acupuncture pins in the ear.

Please. No more information.

The Blairs are the apogee of bossy laity and a dignified period of silence on matters spiritual from them would be helpful.

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Heroic charity

I imagine if my gentle, kindly son were killed in broad daylight by a homicidal thug I would br crying for vengeance - such is the shallowness of my faith. By contrast, Margaret Mizen shows heroic charity in the midst of her grief for her son's killer.

“I don’t feel anger, I just feel sorry for the parents, because we’ve got lovely memories of Jimmy. They will have such sorrow about their son.”

RIP Jimmy Mizen.

Pray for his family and if you can for his killer.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

The Cormac Delusion

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor thinks we should all be jolly nice to atheists. No, he goes further in the latest of a pretty distastrous series of Cardinal's Lectures - he thinks we should accord them deep esteem.Did he really expect the likes of Dawkins to be all nicey-nicey in return?

Referring to God as an "imaginary friend", Mr Dawkins said: "When talking to a politician you would demand proof for what they say, but suddenly when talking to a clergyman you don't have to provide evidence.

"There's absolutely no reason to take seriously someone who says, 'I believe it because I believe it.'

"God either exists or he doesn't. It's a matter of the truth."

Personally, I'm with Martin Kelly on this one

With the greatest respect to His Eminence, one knows that must love one's neighbour as oneself, turn the other cheek and all that - but I have yet to encounter an atheist who hasn't told me they're an atheist within five minutes of first introductions.

Atheists seem profoundly insecure in their lack of belief - and while I respect their persons and right to be wrong if they so wish, I do not, should not, actually must not respect views which put Man at the centre of the universe, and which hails him as the fount of creativity. That's just guff - like, show me the chimp that's written an opera.

I hope the Holy Father is listening.

It can't be too long, now, surely, until the 'phone rings in Archbishop's House and a new challenge beckons for His Eminence?

Taxi for Cormac!

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

When watching junior cricket in the West of Scotland...

... you get to hear coaches say:

"Haw! You two! When ye've finished holding hands and blethering to each other like a pair o'lasses, gonnae think aboot fielding?"

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Friday, May 09, 2008

Halfwit flambé

"Allahu akbaaaarrrrrgggggggghhhhhhh....."

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

We will be true to Thee 'til death

I know we English and Scots Catholics like to remember our martyrs (but in truth are probably mightily relieved that we do not have to have a priest hole for Father to dodge into if the rozzers arrive unannounced). We sing "We will be true to Thee 'til death!" honestly but in the likelihood that that death will be from a cardiac arrest or cancer or senile dementia rather than a noose around the neck.

There are those among us who are not so comfortable. Take Nissar Hussein and his family who have converted to Christianity. Surprise, surprise his erstwhile coreligionists are not impressed and have threatened to burn his house down.

A Bradford man attacked and threatened after his family converted from Islam to Christianity was told by police to "stop being a crusader", a report revealed today.

Nissar Hussein, 43, claims an officer made the comment after he reported a threat to burn down his house if he did not repent and return to Islam.

Ah, yes. Islam. It means peace, you know.

[No it doesn't, kuffar, it means submission and don't you forget it]

The rest of the story is HERE

Even bigger respect is due to the journalist Magdi Allam (now baptised Christiano) who in a very public conversion was baptised by the Holy Father himself at this year's Easter vigil. He expounded his own apologia HERE

I pray to God that on this special Easter he give the gift of the resurrection of the spirit to all the faithful in Christ who have until now been subjugated by fear. Happy Easter to everyone.

Dear friends, let us go forward on the way of truth, of life and of freedom with my best wishes for every success and good thing.

Amen to that, brother.

Here is a man who will probably spend every morning checking under his car, every night checking the windows are locked and every day looking over his shoulder for a maniac with a knife or a gun because he made a free choice for Christ.

God bless them both. Pray for them. Pray for more.

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Marriage Works #943

This from Laban's blog. A throwaway comment from a social worker on a programme on Radio 4 (Bringing Up Britain):

"I can't remember when we last took a child into care whose parents are married."

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Saturday, May 03, 2008

White Fathers In The Borders

I was speaking at a conference which took place in the Scottish Borders. I was struck by the conference centre -the cheesily named Tweed Horizons. My instincts about it were right in that it turn out to be a former school and religious house of the White Fathers (or as they are more politically correctly called these days, the Missionaries of Africa), St Columba's College, near Newton St Boswells and a stone's throw from the ruins of Dryburgh Abbey.

It was sad to be at a lectern giving a lecture at the spot where once the word of God was proclaimed. There were some relics of the school and the Fathers about - a sort of cloister ( I didn't get a picture, unfortunately).

Over the door of the chapel and below the choir gallery, there was this inscription:


This translation is given next to it.

Let us hear music reminding us of the spirit of the age of Melrose. I saw fouryears and just as many in blind darkness. The White Fathers recalled in me thedivine will to praise, steadfast in the memory of the one Christ who is everywhere.

My Latin was never good but this looks like a mistranslation. Can anyone help?

There is a small cemetery with the graves of Frs Drost, Rijkers and Griffin which I visited and where I said the De Profundis for them. Do remember these heroic men in your prayers.They died in an age before easy air travel and were prepared leave their families to live, work and die halfway across the world for the salvation of souls.

The Friends of the White Fathers have a good website - The Pelicans - with memories of the school and the Fathers there (click on St Columba's). Have a look. What strikes me is the fact that there are those who would have us believe that the Church and its institutions before the Second Vatican Council were grim places devoid of 'joy' and 'spontaneity' yet when one looks at the pictures in the galleries of life at the school, it looks as though the boys and the Fathers were a happy bunch.

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