Friday 31 December 2010

The Rosary and the Unexpected Joys of the Gospel

Praying the Rosary can be a bit of a slog, I find. I am so easily distracted that I have had to devise various cunning ways of occupying my entire attention. I use the beads, of course, keeping them in my right hand. I go through the prayers at a brisk pace, phrase by phrase, by tapping out the rhythm with the fingers of my left hand. (If you think this is a bit sad, as they say, please allow for the fact that my elderly brain needs all the help it can get.) And I have brief keywords or phrases for each Mystery, on little home-made cards that fit into my prayerbook; I concentrate on each of these in turn, one keyword for each Hail Mary, which I find - on account of the many repetitions - to be the prayer where my attention is most likely to drift off.

This afternoon I spent a little time going through the Birth narratives in Luke and Matthew, with a view to refreshing or improving the keywords. My goodness, isn't it wonderful the way one receives a new insight, or a sudden surge of spiritual joy, when reading the Gospels! This was my experience today.

St Luke refers on a number of occasions in his Gospel to the distress and worry and perplexity which, despite being full of grace, Our Lady suffered at times. After the visit of the Angel Gabriel she was, in earthly terms, completely alone in her situation, keeping this staggering knowledge locked in her heart during all that long journey from Nazareth to Judea.

And then suddenly, after no more than the mere sound of her voice calling out a greeting, her beloved kinswoman Elizabeth welled up with a torrent of astonishment and joy and prophecy. Mary had said nothing about it, and yet Elizabeth knew. In sheer human terms, what must that realization have felt like, for Mary?

Thursday 30 December 2010

2011 Epiphany celebration is not on the nearest Sunday

Hello – I am awake again after my brief hibernation. I hope all my readers have had a very happy Christmas.

Now then, about this Epiphany business. If a Holy Day of Obligation is to be moved to the Sunday, it is reasonable to assume that this means the nearest Sunday. The nearest Sunday to Thursday 6th January 2011 is Sunday 9th January.

Here is the press release from the English and Welsh Bishops at the time of the original decision, in 2006, to move the Solemnities of the Lord. Rather cleverly, it does not say “the nearest Sunday” but simply “Sunday”.

Shall we assume that there is a very good pastoral reason for bringing the Feast forward to the day after New Year’s Day?

Thursday 16 December 2010

No further posts likely until the new year

I don't feel able to write anything just at present. I wish my readers a very happy Christmas, and I hope to resume blogging in the new year.

God bless.