What Sin Boils Down To

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Hymn to Saint Andrew

On Saint Andrew’s Feast Day please enjoy this sweet rendition of a traditional hymn in his honour:

Cat Trust

We’ve had a lot of cats while we’ve been living in Ireland.  There are lots of feral cats roaming the countryside looking for some sap to feed them or to adopt their kittens.  At one point we had four under our roof.  They were probably all related because they could tolerate and even enjoy each other’s company.  They would all sit on the kitchen window sill waiting to be let inside, then, when we opened the back door they would all run in to their food bowls like they were on rails:

catsonrails

They would also cuddle up in one basket at nap time (unfortunately I don’t have a photo with all four together):
catsinbasket

We currently have three cats under our roof, and another who comes for food but won’t let us touch him.  Sadly, they hate each other.  They turn to us for cuddles instead.  Strangely, but conveniently, they have each chosen different people as their special property.  Minnie has always been devoted to my husband:

minniesmall

Next came Tiger who adopted me:
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Then came Marshmallow who chose my daughter, who chose her unusual name:

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And last of all – king of the garden:

Stripessmall

Introductions over, I’d like to share an insight I had whilst watching the cats. As I said, these cats hate each other. It makes living with them quite difficult at times, and it makes them quite jumpy. Anyway, earlier on, I was trying to persuade Tiger that he could go back to sleep while I dealt with the post which had just dropped through the door and startled him. The thing is the cats don’t trust us enough. We want them to know that we have their best interests at heart but there’s no way to communicate that to them. From their point of view we’re quite unsatisfactory hosts. We’re slow to give them what they want, and even when we respond we often get it wrong. “No, I don’t want fish today!” We put them out in all weathers. Occasionally, we even hurt them; trapping a tail or treading on a paw. We’ve let invading cats into their domain, or, in Marshmallow’s case, we’ve introduced them into an environment that already belongs to someone else. If they trusted us we could minimise their contact with the other cats. But because they’d rather travel through the house on their own terms they’re constantly evading us and running up against the other cats. Whoever suggested the term “herding cats” for an impossible task was spot on.

So, it struck me, that this is somewhat analogous to our relationship with God. I’m sure that if we could trust God more it would make our lives a lot easier. He’s tried to communicate His great love and care for us through Revelation and by allowing His Son to be sacrificed for us. But we’d rather try to rely on our own feeble powers than to trust in the care of Our Heavenly Father. And that’s probably because His care can be baffling at times. God doesn’t always give us what we think we need and sometimes He allows bad things to happen to us. We don’t trust Him enough to realise that He sees the bigger picture, that He is helping us to grow and flourish. So from now on I’m going to try to be less like a cat and more like a dog when it comes to trust. How about you?

Counting My Blessings

I had the very great good fortune to be able to travel to Limerick this weekend for a Pontifical Mass with Cardinal Burke. It was all very beautiful but I deliberately didn’t take photos or videos. Some experiences are best had first-hand, don’t you think? Instead here’s a limerick I knocked up for you:

There once was a woman from Wales,

Met a cardinal and all that entails;

His ring she did kiss,

Then knelt to be blessed,

That fortunate woman from Wales

Here’s a photo of the view from my hotel room

and a photo of a bendy bus (and some cute little people) I took for someone who’s never seen one.

And here is a short video of Cardinal Burke giving some advice for Catholic parents:

Iconic Icon Painter

Here is a lovely video of an interview with Aidan Hart, who may be familiar to those of you who have an interest in the art of iconography:

 

My New Sangha

On this Feast of St Raphael the Healer, I share my reply to an email that came from my old Buddhist community (sangha) after several years of silence:

raphael

St Raphael the Archangel

Thanks for letting me know about the retreat places.  I’ve been on a lot of retreats with [my old Buddhist sangha].  I’m very grateful for everything I learned and experienced there.  However, I would like to remove my name from your lists because I am no longer Buddhist.  I have found my true sangha with God and all His angels and saints and saints-in-the-making.  I can no longer kneel in front of statues of the Buddha: a man who never claimed to be a god, who died like any other man no matter how enlightened he was.  I no longer meditate like a lump, trying to detach myself from suffering.  I embrace suffering and am glad to offer it up for souls.  Prayer can be difficult but I’m never alone.  I can talk with my Maker or any number of my friends in Heaven, or I can just rest in their company.  I can kneel in contemplation resting in the peace that only Our Lord can give – like a baby in its mother’s arms.  I write all this not to condemn Buddhism but to be a signpost for you and for anybody else you wish to share this with.  Those of you who live near to Galway and Limerick have a great treasure at your disposal.  I urge you, if you have fallen away from the Faith, to attend traditional Latin Masses with the Institute of Christ the King or to speak with their wonderful priests.  Their church in Limerick is the Sacred Heart church on The Crescent (http://institute-christ-king.ie/), and they also celebrate Mass every Sunday at the Claddagh Church (Dominican Priory), Galway, at 2:30.
Yours in Christ,
Sarah

Mantilla Motif

Mantillas are head-coverings traditionally worn by Catholic women when praying in public. You will see plenty of them at a traditional Latin Mass for example. It used to be mandatory (not just customary) for women to cover their heads in church, and conversely for men to bare theirs.

I have fairly long hair now and the commercially-produced mantilla I bought isn’t big enough to cover it all.  I’ve been wanting to make my own larger one for a while.  I started to crochet one but I ran out of yarn.  I’ve found some more yarn now so I started a new one.  However, I wasn’t entirely happy with how the edges of the motifs worked when joined together so I’ve modified it slightly.  Four of the old motifs are shown joined together on the right of the photo below and four of the new ones on the left.  See below for the instructions.

Here goes (UK notation):

6 ch, ss in 1st chain to form a ring.  Now the rounds:

  1. 12 dc in ring, join with a ss to 1st dc.
  2. 5 ch, miss 1st dc, [1 tr in next dc, 2ch] 11 times, ss in 3rd of 5 ch.
  3. ss in 1st sp, 3 ch, leaving last lp of each st on hook work 3 tr in same sp as ss, yrh, draw through all 4 lps [5 ch, leaving last lp of each st on hook work 4 tr in next sp, yrh, draw through all 5 lps] 11 times, 2 ch, 1 tr in top of 1st cluster.
  4. *7 ch, ss in next 5-ch sp, [5 ch, ss in next 5-ch sp] 3 times, rep from * twice except instead of last 5ch make 2 ch, 1 tr in 1st of 7 ch at beg of round.
  5. [*7 ch, 1 tr in centre ch of next 7-ch sp, 14 ch, 1 tr in top of last tr, 1 tr in centre ch of same 7-ch sp as before, 7 ch, ss in centre ch of next 5-ch sp, 5 ch, ss in centre ch of next 5-ch sp*, 5 ch, ss in centre ch of next 5-ch sp] twice, work from * to *, 2 ch, 1 tr in 1st of 7 ch at beg of round.
  6. *5 ch, ss in centre ch of next 5-ch sp, 5ch, 8 tr in 14-ch sp (optional – work the 8th tr into the 7th ch), 6 ch, ss in top of last tr, 8 tr in same 14-ch sp (optional – work the 1st tr into the 8th ch), [5 ch, ss in centre ch of next 5-ch sp] twice, rep from * twice working last ss into 1st of 5 ch at beg of round.  Fasten off.

Sorry for any errors.

Books for the Bookish

Remember these pictures?

holyface2

WIP Eagle Crest10small

 

I produced them for my husband for the covers of two books he was working on.  I’m pleased to say that they are now available on Amazon at last; here and here.  They are not for the faint-hearted, as you will see if you read their descriptions on Amazon.

If Ye Love Me

If you have any love for me, you must keep the commandments which I give you; and then I will ask the Father, and he will give you another to befriend you, one who is to dwell continually with you forever.

[John 14:15-17]

In Persona Christi

I love you, Jesus, my love above all things. I regret with my whole heart of having offended you. Never let me separate myself from you again. Grant that I may love you always and then do with me what you will.