Monthly Archives: October 2016

A Pure Heart

I would like to share one of my favourite Welsh songs with you.  There are loads of different versions on the net but I think it is best sung by a male voice choir so here is a nice version for you to try.  The translation in the centre of the picture is a little hard to read so I’ve copied it out below.

I don’t ask for a luxurious life
The world’s gold or its fine pearls
I ask for a happy heart
An honest heart, a pure heart

A pure heart full of goodness
Is fairer than the pretty lily
None but a pure heart can sing
Sing in the day & sing in the night

Evening and morning, my wish
Rising to heaven on the wing of song
For God, for the sake of my Saviour
To give me a pure heart…

‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God’ (Mt 5:8).

The heart in Hebrew psychology is the seat of thought and will rather than of emotion.  The pure heart, we may therefore say, is one in which the ‘citadel of the mind’ (a Buddhist phrase) has been cleansed and the will stabilised.  When this state is reached, according to the Hindu-Buddhist tradition, God is already present within the human consciousness…  what is promised to the pure in heart does not come as a subsequent reward – which is probably its Christian eschatological meaning – but is the other side of the coin, the complement, of the purity itself.  Bring the mind into the requisite condition, and God who is already there as the divine ‘ground’ of our being, is blissfully realised.

Excerpt from “Contemplative Christianity” by Aelred Graham


Tree Progress


So I got all the lettering done except for the initial “G”; the first draft anyway.

Please don’t ask me what is up with the animal head coming out of the “d”. I don’t know why his tongue has got knotted up with his mane. It’s just one of those things that happens in this kind of art. I guess the monks that spent so many hours of their lives making themselves blind doing this stuff liked to have a bit of fun with it. That, or they drank too much homebrew. Monks were/are pretty good brewers, or so I’m told.

Sad State of Churches in France

Having recently shown you some of the beautiful architecture in France I thought I would show you the danger that it is in.  As far as I know, the French state owns most of the churches.  It just allows the people use them for worship, and so on.  When I was in Rouen I saw impressive repairs that had been made to the cathedral but I also saw plants growing on the roof of St Ouen’s (see here for my photos of these buildings).  It seems that there isn’t enough money to go around.  The huge church of St Ouen holds only one Mass per year and is used for art installations, and the like, for the rest of the time.  It was very sad to see a consecrated church crumbling and full of inappropriate artwork.

If a church is a big tourist attraction then it is safe for the time being but the rest…

2800 churches in France have recently been, or are soon to be, demolished.

And, before I get complaints, I know this is not just a problem in France.  For example, I know that the Church in Britain has sold a lot of its old high-maintenance buildings in favour of cheaper modern ones.  At least there, a lot of the old buildings are being preserved by private owners after being deconsecrated.

Border Control

I’ve made a little more progress on my Tree of Life piece.  I wanted to take a break from spirals so I decided to start work on the border.  I based the border designs on ones I had sketched for an earlier project (which is currently on the back burner).  I also tried out some of the Book of Kells font that I created for that project.  For those interested in the technicalities, I created the font using Manga Studio but I’m doing this piece in Krita.  Sometimes one can export projects from Manga Studio in Photoshop format (.psd) and then open them in Krita.  It didn’t work this time though so I had to make do with just the bare image.


Je suis revenu – part 4

The last batch of photos were taken in Rouen.

Je suis revenu – part 3

The next photos were taken in Lisieux.  We parked at the basilica, walked down to the cathedral for Mass, then had a lovely picnic with all the other pilgrims.  Then we all processed up to the basilica for Benediction.  After that our little group visited the Carmel Convent where Saint Therésè’s body reposes.

(Click on the photos if you want to enlarge them.)

Je suis revenu – part 2

The next set of snaps were taken at Jumièges Abbey. I didn’t get a good shot of the ruins so the first photo is from Wikimedia Commons. You will be able to tell which ones I took because of the Irish sky. 🙂

Abbaye de Jumièges

Click on the photos if you want to enlarge them.

Je suis revenu

I didn’t have the time to line up artistic shots but here are some quick snaps I took while I was in Normandy.  (As usual, I haven’t included any identifiable photos of my companions, out of respect for their privacy.)  Because the photos may take a while to load I’m going to split them into batches.  The snaps in this post were taken at Saint George’s Abbey, Saint-Martin-de-Boscherville.  As you will see, we took the Irish sky with us. 🙂

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Cardinal Robert Sarah

I am not afraid to state that to be a child of God is to be a child of silence.

Conquering silence is a battle and a form of asceticism. Yes, it takes courage to free oneself from everything that weighs down our life, because we love nothing so much as appearances, ease and the husk of things. Carried away toward the exterior by his need to say everything, the garrulous man cannot help being far from God, incapable of any profound spiritual activity. In contrast, the silent man is a free man. The world’s chains have no hold on him.

Cardinal Robert Sarah

For the full interview click here.

Je vais en France

This blog is going to be quiet for a while because I’m off to France on Thursday.  It’s not a holiday though.  I’m going on a pilgrimage to Lisieux where one of my patroness saints, St. Thérèse, spent her last years on earth.  We’ll be staying in Rouen, where we’ll also be honouring St. Joan of Arc who was martyred there.