Antonio Cardinal Bacci: Meditations For Each Day - I recently found this wonderful Blogsite which I strongly recommend. It comprises a series of meditations for each day of the year, explaining great spiritual truths in clear and straightforward language. The meditations cannot be read in one visit, indeed they are not meant to be, but I plan to visit regularly in order to benefit from the deep spirituality of the writer. Thank you Antonio Cardinal Bacci. 'Dominus vobiscum'
I am sad and angry at the moral demise of our once honourable and Christian country, a demise which must be attributed to a complete lack of religious faith and ethical values on the part of so many of our politicians and their advisers, by many in medicine, the media, commerce, education and law. Greed, ambition, and self-interest reign supreme.The 'politically correct', 'liberal', and 'Godless' laws drawn up by faceless civil servants and politicians, have created an anarchic society in which immorality and evil flourish, and good is mocked. Is it any wonder that murder, violence, drugs, pornography, sodomy, and other evils flourish, to which influences - our young in particular, are so vulnerable. Only when God's Laws, based on the 'Ten Commandments' and the teaching of the Church founded by Christ, become the corner-stone of our thinking and our laws, will Society start getting right those things that really matter. ' Peace to men of good-will' is the message of Christmas. Until Society returns to God there will be no peace.
Helen Waddell was born in 1889, the youngest of 10 children, of an Ulster Presbyterian minister, a pioneer missionary in Manchuria and Japan. She was an extremely intelligent and diligent child, attaining high academic standards at school, followed by equally high achievement at Queens University, Belfast, and Somerville College, Oxford. She chose writing as her career, showing a particular interest and talent for translating works written in the early centuries AD from the original Latin into English, with a unique scholarly sensitivity which guaranteed her immediate success. She became one of the best-selling authors of the 1920s and 1930s, with her novel 'Peter Abelard' eventually being re-printed over 30 times and being translated into 9 European languages. Among other books which brought her fame, were 'The Wandering Scholars', 'Mediaeval Latin Lyrics', 'The Desert Fathers', and 'Beasts and Saints'. Helen Waddell lived an extremely full and busy life both writing and lecturing. She remained unmarried but had a very wide circle of friends and acquaintances, particularly in the world of art and literature. She died in 1965 after a long illness. For those interested in her life I can recommend the following autobiography:- 'The Mark of the Maker - a Portrait of Helen Waddell' by Monica Blackett, published by Constable. I have been fortunate and able to obtain 2nd hand copies of 'The Desert Fathers' and'Beasts and Saints', both of which I thoroughly enjoyed and can fully recommend. 'The Desert Fathers' as the title implies, is a fascinating account based on contemporary sources, of incidents in the lives of many of the holy men who retired to the desert in order to live closer to God. 'Beasts and Saints' is particularly enjoyable as it contains numerous wood-cuts by Robert Gibbings, a superb artist. The following very short story, provides just a little taste of what to expect in 'Beasts and Saints'. THE UNSOCIABLE LION.-------- 'There was a certain old man, a solitary,who lived near the river Jordan: and going into a cave because of the heat, he found there a lion: and the lion began to gnash his teeth and roar. To whom the old man said, "What is annoying thee? There is enough room here to hold both me and thee. And if thou likest it not arise and go hence." But the lion, not taking it well, left and went outside." This little story is accompanied by a brilliant wood-cut of a rather bemused and puzzled lion walking away from the cave. Deo Gratias.
I have just finished reading an excellent book- 'Henry Morse, Priest of the Plague', a biography written by Philip Caraman, and first published by Longmans in 1957. Morse was a Jesuit priest working in England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, a time of great persecution for Catholics. He was born in 1595 and died in 1645 when he was hanged at Tyburn - his 'crime' being that he was a Catholic priest. His priestly life was devoted to serving the suffering Catholics of England, also to serving all those of whatever faith suffering and dying from the Plague. Immediately prior to his execution Morse was allowed to address the people, at the end of which he concluded, "I will glory in nothing, all glory I ascribe to God. I pray that my death may be some kind of atonement for the sins of this kingdom. If I had as many lives as there are sands on the sea-shore,I should willingly lay them all down for this end and to testify to the truth of the Catholic religion. To this day it is the only faith confirmed by miracles, by which the blind see, the dumb speak and the dead are raised to life. Tell me Mr Sheriff, if you saw the dead return to life would you not believe? Would you not say that it was the true Church where all these things are done?"
Prayer for the beatification of Bishop Richard Challoner, Bishop of Debra, Vicar Apostolic of the London District 1758-1781. O God, who didst make thy servant Richard a true and faithful pastor of thy little flock in England, deign to place him among the Blessed in Thy Church, so that we who profit by his word and example, may beg his help in heaven for the return of this land to the ancient faith, and to the fold of the one true Shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Slightly frayed around the edges and still trying to pretend that I'm not really as old as that! I thank God for all my blessings, particularly my Catholic faith; my wife a 'pearl of great price'; my children and grandchildren; my friends; our dog Dartmoor; and our good neighbours and spiritual mentors, the F.SS.R community from Papa Stronsay.