Tuesday, 29 July 2008


We seem to give them back to you, O God, who gave them to us.
Yet as you did not lose them in giving, so we do not lose them by their return.
Not as the world gives, do you give, O lover of souls.
What you give you do not take away, for what is yours is ours also if we are yours.
And life is eternal and love immortal, and death is only an horizon, and an horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.
Lift us up, strong Son of God, that we may see further;
cleanse our eyes that we may see more clearly;
draw us closer to yourself that we may know ourselves to be nearer to our loved ones who are with you.
And while you prepare a place for us,
prepare us also for that happy place,
that where you are we may be also for evermore.

~ Bede Jarrett, OP

May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Thank God for perfumers!

A friend gave me a bottle of Floret for my birthday last week. I had never smelled it before and can best describe the smell as exquisite. It has top notes of sweet pea with underlying rose, tuberose and apricot, and a mysterious finish.

It was created, I now discover, to remind the perfumer of her childhood and the smell of her grandmother's garden...

It's my personal spikenard, received with thanks.

Proust, madeleines and memories

And suddenly the memory returns. The taste was that of the little crumb of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray (because on those mornings I did not go out before church-time), when I went to say good day to her in her bedroom, my aunt LĂ©onie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of real or of lime-flower tea. The sight of the little madeleine had recalled nothing to my mind before I tasted it; perhaps because I had so often seen such things in the interval, without tasting them, on the trays in pastry-cooks' windows, that their image had dissociated itself from those Combray days to take its place among others more recent; perhaps because of those memories, so long abandoned and put out of mind, nothing now survived, everything was scattered; the forms of things, including that of the little scallop-shell of pastry, so richly sensual under its severe, religious folds, were either obliterated or had been so long dormant as to have lost the power of expansion which would have allowed them to resume their place in my consciousness. But when from a long-distant past nothing subsists, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, still, alone, more fragile, but with more vitality, more unsubstantial, more persistent, more faithful, the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls, ready to remind us, waiting and hoping for their moment, amid the ruins of all the rest; and bear unfaltering, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection.

from Marcel Proust, A La Recherche du Temps Perdu (Remembrance of Things Past) Vol 1: Swann's Way, translated from the French by C.K. Scott Moncrieff (1922)

The Magdalene

Monday, 21 July 2008

Catholicism is English too

See Ed West's What Have ex-Anglicans Done For Us? [The Catholic Herald 18/7/08] for insight on prominent converts and their outstanding contribution to the Church in Britain.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

one Greek island, love, marriage, Leonard Cohen and the rest...

Milton a Puritan?

The Adam and Eve Triptych
c. 1500
Text on Love from St. Paul, Corinthians I Chapter 13
Hail, wedded Love, mysterious law, true source
Of human offspring, sole propriety
In Paradise, of all things common else!
~ 'The First Love of Adam and Eve'
from Paradise Lost, John Milton (1608-1674)

Our Lady of the Angels

some chuckly things

the new Marianne?

The handmade rosary on Ingrid Betancourt's right hand is prominent. The joy on the family's faces clear.

Betancourt's liberation from the Columbian jungle, after being held hostage by FARC insurgents for 6 years, is a strategic PR coup for President Nicolas Sarkozy.

While Sarkozy valiantly struggles to come back from being voted the most unpopular first-term president of France in 52 years, and is casting himself as peacemaker in the Israeli-Syrian theatre, the French-Columbian Betancourt could be a potent symbol for a new France: liberte et raison with a difference. This Marianne also has la foi.

Yet where is Mr. Betancourt a.k.a. Juan Carlos Lecompte in this family-faith scenario? The head of the family has been lopped off. Lecompte, who worked hard for his wife's release during her ordeal, told the Bogota newspaper El Tiempo of his fears that their marriage might be over. Betancourt went to France without him. [Associated Press]

It is unsurprising yet somewhat ironic that Betancourt was awarded - and accepted - the Knighthood of the Legion of Honour on Bastille Day, France's highest Order of Merit instituted by Napoleon Bonaparte...

[Image courtesy of the Huffington Post]

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

hope for Bastille

The first martyrs of the French Revolution...

These 16 Carmelite nuns of Compeigne were guillotined for "crimes against the state" after kneeling and chanting the Veni Creator.

Still to be canonised, they need our prayers ... and we need theirs.

I like Roman Christendom's point on it.

i hear the rolling thunder

one for the King...

birthday wish list

the fantasy...

... and the reality

it's my party and i'll laugh if i want to

For me tomorrow...

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Mozart's Ave Verum Corpus

Ave Verum Corpus, natum de Maria Virgine, vere passum immolatum in cruce pro homine. Cujus latus perforatum unda fluxit et sanguine, esto nobis praegustatum in mortis examine.

Hail The True Body, born of the Virgin Mary, truly suffered sacrificed on the cross for mankind. Whose pierced side flowed with water and blood, let it be for us in consideration a foretaste of death.

Friday, 11 July 2008

right is might

Hats off to Lillian Ladele, the council worker who dared to take local government to court over her right to refuse to perform gay marriages on the grounds of her Christian faith ... and won the case. [The Times]

What a courageous, outstanding woman. What a precedent this sets.

But the employment tribunal verdict might have come one day too late for Catholic and Muslim doctors wishing to exercise their right to conscientious objection on the grounds of their faith. The British Medical Association's AGM, held on 7-10 July, was to consider a proposal to remove doctors' rights to refuse to refer a woman for abortion. [LifeSiteNews]

Surely the BMA cannot fail to take the Ladele case into consideration now?

running scared

The HFE Bill has been put on the shelf until October, Leader of the House Harriet Harman announced today. [The Universe]

Previously assigned a Final Report and Third Reading this Monday, July 14th, as reported here earlier, this astounding government turnaround comes in the run-up to by-elections in Glasgow East on July 24th.

Glasgow East, a Catholic stronghold, is likely to use the HFE Bill to vote Labour out, which would give Mr Brown a serious headache. By postponing final HFE debates until the autumn, the government is buying for time ... or running scared.

Or could it be that thousands of letters to MPs calling to oppose the Bill are working?

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Brumel's Gloria

there are heroes...

God bless army chaplains like the Rev. Fr. Marcus Hodges in Basrah, Iraq.

At constant risk of injury or death, these priests put their life on the line to fulfill their ministry.

Writing in the New Statesman Faith Column, Fr. Marcus says: "[the chaplain] makes visible his membership of a kingdom of values and hope which he hopes will transcend the dirt and confusion that characterise armed conflict"
Good Samaritans are alive and well. Two young women and possibly a third person stopped to help a 64-year-old man knocked down by a car in Gwent, Wales Online reports. The women tended to the man's hand injury, waited with him until the ambulance arrived, then disappeared...

Thursday, 3 July 2008

if you can watch this and keep a straight face...

... apply here for a medal.

this is what our MPs want...

thumbs up for haggis

The English would do well to take a leaf out of the Scots' book, and follow in the footsteps of Cardinal Keith Patrick O'Brien, who has written to every MP to oppose the HFE Bill at Report Stage, ICN reports.

The proposed amendments to the Bill, if passed, will make abortion more easily available, allowing 'abortion on demand' - with the signature of only one doctor - and abortions performed by nurses and midwives.

Cardinal O'Brien said: "I would hate to think that as I myself grow older, I will look back at the passage of the legislation and ask myself whether or not I did everything possible to fight for the right to life of the unborn."

Write to your MP urging him or her to oppose the HFE Bill amendments at Report Stage. Quote from the Cardinal's letter here.

Report Stage and Third Reading of the HFE Bill have now been assigned to July 14th.

See Fr. Ray too.

it's a miracle

Sign this petition to withhold Royal Assent to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill and let others know about it.
There are 1,326 signatures on it today.

skool's out

Maroulla liked card games. I like the idea of this one for kids and big kids, teachers and parents.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

blood is thicker than water

Rest in peace to my aunt Maroulla [Little Mary], who died tonight in a Catholic old people's home. She was one of the first women to dare to ride her own Vespa in Cyprus ~ unprecedented on a Mediterranean island in the 1950s. She always wore her hair short and mannish, was fiercely outspoken, had a mathematical mind, and spent most of her life looking after her mother, Ioanna [Joanna] ~ my grandmother's sister. God rest their souls, and grant comfort to those who loved her and will miss her. Especially her nephew Andreas, friends Monica, Irma, and Panayiotis, and her cousin Liana.

Mahler 2 Resurrection

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

The Excellence of Love

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels,
but have not love,
I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy
and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have a faith that can move mountains,
but have not love,
I am nothing.
If I give all I possess to the poor
and surrender my body to the flames,
but have not love,
I gain nothing.

Love is patient,
love is kind.
It does not envy,
it does not boast,
it is not proud.
It is not rude,
it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil
but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects,
always trusts,
always hopes,
always perseveres.

Love never fails.
But where there are prophecies,
they will cease;
where there are tongues,
they will be stilled;
where there is knowledge,
it will pass away.
For we know in part
and we prophesy in part,
but when perfection comes,
the imperfect disappears.
When I was a child,
I talked like a child,
I thought like a child,
I reasoned like a child.
When I became a man,
I put childish ways behind me.
Now we see but a poor reflection;
then we shall see face to face.
Now I know in part;
then I shall know fully,
even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain:
faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love.

St. Paul, I Corinthians 13:1-13

Work Wanted by An Extraordinary Woman

If you have any special prayer intentions, or need a miracle worked, ask for the intercession of Mother Magdalen Taylor (1832-1900), who is now up for beatification. Saints in the making welcome jobs to do.

Heavenly Father, you chose Mother Magdalen Taylor to found the Poor Servants of the Mother of God to serve the poor and needy. While on earth she never failed to respond to those in distress, so confident of her intercession I pray you to grant me this favour ......... which I ask in the name of Jesus, your Son. Amen.

Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.

If you receive the favour, please communicate this in writing to Sr. B. McCarthy SMG, St. Gabriel's Convent, 7 Pembridge Square, London W2 4ED - to help the cause for beatification.

Elena Maria Vidal has some info on Mother Magdalen's historical novel Tyborne, about the English martyrs and Catholic life under penal laws, while Ruth Gilpin Wells' biography, A Woman of Her Time and Ours: Mary Magdalen Taylor SMG, is available by mail order from Andmeister Books London.