Sunday, 31 August 2008

Light and Dark

Some people are just holy. You meet them or see them on TV or the Internet and get a sense that they "glow in the dark." Mother Angelica, Fr Benedict Groeschel and Fr John Corapi spring to mind. But I have also met people in every day life who seem to have that genuine holiness about them. There's a Filipino lady who attends Mass at our church. She's small and unnoticeable in many ways-but I get the impression she really glows. Don't know why.
Then there are the quietly holy people. They don't give off as much light but there is a definite flame there and it stays lit sometimes in the most difficult circumstances.
I think these two sets of people are like the the two men in Jesus' parable with five talents and two talents.
Then there's the man given one talent. It doesn't seem fair at first, but he goes and hides it rather than use it properly-so maybe the Master had some idea he was faithless in some way. Then with the talent safely buried they can accuse God of being unjust as the faithless servant did in the parable-and so they feel free to behave as they like.
In fairy stories and the deeper stories of Tolkien good and evil are fairly straight forward and easy to discern. There is no mistaking the difference between elves and orcs; between the innocence of the princess and the wickedness of the witch. Their outward appearance often tells you whose side they are on.
Is it the same in reality? We are warned that the devil can appear as an angel of light-but there are always 'signs'-warnings that he ain't what he appears. Is it the same for people? Do they have signs that warn you even when they appear as 'angels of light'?
To be honest I think they do. They might not immediately appear to be orcs dressed as elves-but there are always little give aways to which we need to be alert. This is the battle ground after all and we are supposed to be soldiers in the Church Militant. Praying for discernment is a huge help because it seems to be one of those prayers God always answers with a 'yes' and a HUGE dollop of the appropriate grace.
A difficulty in the battle against evil can be our own fears of seeming uncharitable. It can seem wrong to think badly of others-especially when there is nothing concrete to pin the bad feelings on.
I've learned the real hard way that over riding discernment-those little red flags that warn of danger is a very bad idea.
But even then God comes to the rescue. He sends in some unlikely heroes to the rescue. I have been grateful for those two talent heroes on more than one occasion. They appear and speak at just the right time and say what needs to be said.
Sometimes the really holy ones can be the ones who are too charitable to speak up and give due warning. I can't begin to tell you how utterly painful it is to hear people admit AFTER you have been put through hell by some family or person; after a huge amount of damage has been done, that they KNEW they were bad news and that your kids were in danger but didn't think they should say anything.
People SPEAK UP!
I have a lot of time for those two talent people. I think Tolkien understood this too. It was hobbits that defeated Sauron in the end rather than the bright and shiny elves.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Sacrament of the Sick

Who can receive the Sacrament of the Sick? Just how sick do you have to be? In the past it seems to me it was basically for those at death's door- but there seems to be some recognition that chronic illness can be helped with this Sacrament.
I don't know the rules.
Can someone in chronic pain or a sick child not nearly dead receive it?
If anyone knows I would be appreciative.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Renewing the Bride in the UK

From this morning's Office: (Is 61-62)
"No longer called “Forsaken,” your land no longer called “Desolate,”you will be called “My pleasure in her,” and your land “The Wedded”;for the Lord has been well pleased with you, and your land will receive its bridegroom."
Paul OTSOTA wrote somewhere on Damian Thompson's blog about how the Church in England could actually spend its money doing something really worthwhile such as true evangelisation with a TV station, website that actually teaches something good and True and so on.
It hit a nerve with me.
I wanted this blog to be a witness to my new found Faith. I wanted to witness to it all in a straightforward way without becoming some kind of apologist. I'm afraid I am too bad tempered to make a good apologist. I just wanted to be someone who could say clearly that I believe and why I do.
Okay, I haven't made a stella achievement in that area and frankly over the last three months I have been seriously toying with the idea of ditching this blog altogether.
Partly because I am going through a "What the heck does God WANT from me?" phase at the moment.
Meanwhile the First Born is trying his best to get back to America so he can study at FUS and do the very thing Paul is saying needs doing here. But First Born-as much as he would love to be part of a TV station putting out Catholic programmes, especially dramas, can't see that happening any time soon. Nevertheless, he did wonder if one day he might be able to start something small himself.
A great deal could be done at parish level if priests were not afraid to allow it. Fr Lawler in Leeds has, according to a member of his own parish, done wonderful work in renewing the understanding of the Faith and bringing people closer to God and in the process closer to one another. Here was a priest, we are told, not only allowing the renewal, but leading it as a father to his people.
I am sure there are many talented people in the UK who could set the country on fire with Truth. But they are scattered and have no father to lead them.
But if we pray God will raise up priests and fathers for the people and we will no longer be orphans, desolate and forsaken. We will be beloved and wedded and renewed.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

I have a new laptop-well sorta new

I was pleased to see that my old laptop limped through our week away and allowed me to download and save photos and listen to downloaded Catholic Radio programmes. It fussed and groaned a bit-but kindly kept going until we got home.
A few days ago I realised it was terminal when smoke poured out of the back of it; but to my children's astonishment-(and concern: the Computer Wizz thought I might end up in smoke too) it limped on for another day.
So then I was without a computer-having to grab the odd moment on the kids desk top.
But today my reconditioned second hand laptop has arrived. Very nice it is too.
So I can blog again....
Erm...what shall I blog about I wonder....

Anyone know why I am having such a game installing MSM? How can I talk to my friends across the pond when the blooming thing wont install?

Tuesday, 12 August 2008


I had a week away in a part of the world that was internet-free.
I see that there have been many thoughtful, and quite heart rending comments on my previous post. Thank you to you all.
I have to agree very much with Rita's observation about how Catholic education can never recover while there is the National Curriculum and that deeply creepy organisation Connexions in our schools.
MaggieClitherow spoke of her husband's experience seeing the Precious Blood in a beaker. My children witnessed some pretty dodgy Masses in their time at school too.
Joe points out something I too have noted-many Catholic teachers avoid jobs in Catholic schools because of the 'politics'.
I do not doubt that brave heads do exist. In fact the local Catholic primary school had one such head until very recently. My older children attended that school which I thought was excellent. If he had stayed I may have had my younger children go to that school-but without him, it has already changed.
Like Philip, I too note that children don't seem to attend Mass during the hols. I get the sense from some families they have "better things to do". They simply don't get what the Mass is all about.
Susie's story illustrates how ignorance of the faith is effecting the next generation of teachers, and Adrienne who does know the Faith is left with an impossible task.

While I was away I had the chance to do some reading including some Chesterton. I bought the books from an internet site. I have learned a huge amount over the last 8 years from internet sites such as EWTN. It is the Internet and getting EWTN radio and TV that has brought me Home.
Nearly all the sites are American. THANK GOD for the Catholic Church in America because it is that side of the pond that will renew the Church here in the UK-of that I am sure.

I prayed for you all while I was away.
God bless