Limbo

Reblogging from last year:

Anglo Saxon Celt Creates Art and Craft

The ancient greyness shifted
Suddenly and thinned
Like mist upon the moors
Before a wind.
An old, old prophet lifted
A shining face and said:
“He will be coming soon.
The Son of God is dead;
He died this afternoon.”

A murmurous excitement stirred all souls.
they wondered if they dreamed-
Save one old man who seemed
Not even to have heard.

And Moses standing,
Hushed them all to ask
If any had a welcome song prepared.
If not, would David take the task?
And if they cared
Could not the three young children sing
The Benedicite, the canticle of praise
They made when God kept them from perishing
In the fiery blaze?

A breath of spring surprised them,
Stilling Moses’ words.
No one could speak, remembering
The first fresh flowers,
The little singing birds.
Still others thought of fields new ploughed

Or apple trees
All blossom-boughed.
Or some, the…

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The Face of Humility

I thoroughly recommend watching the video in this wonderful post by Patricia:

Illumina Domine Blog - Devotion to The Holy Face

Hans Holbein der Altere

The Lord opens my ear that I may hear; And I have not rebelled, have not turned back.  I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard:  My Face I did not shield from buffets and spitting, The Lord God is my help, therefore I am not disgraced; I have set my like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame. (Isaiah 50: 4b-7)

What does it means to be a Christian?

“A Message to Those Who Kill Us” – Father Boules George gives a sermon during the Eve of Monday Pascha following the two bombings on Palm Sunday that took place at Saint George Coptic Orthodox Church in Tanta and Saint Mark Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria.

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Interesting Art Experiment

What happens when you let ordinary Internet users from around the world collaborate on a piece of art?  War!  But the results are fascinating.  See here for the story and here for a close up of the result.  I love it that the Welsh flag appears at least twice even though it is a difficult one to draw small with pixels (see below).  I also love that the Union Jack appears in a heart with the Italian flag.
500px-flag_of_wales_2-svg

Palm Sunday

Icon Writing Course

0317patrick-irelandHappy St. Patrick’s Day!
I’m interrupting my blogging break to tell you about a course I’ve just booked onto. It’s an icon writing course run by a charming fellow from Greece. Here’s his website with the relevant details: http://www.theodoreicons.com/icon-painting-workshop-knock-ireland.html

So if you’d like to visit Ireland’s national Marian shrine at Knock, and learn how to write icons, why not kill two birds with one stone?!  The course isn’t until October so you’ve got plenty of time to get organised.  Hey, and an extra bonus – you get to meet me! 😉

Adoro Te Devote

I’m going to be taking a break from blogging for about three months. I hope this will allow me to put more time into my art and preparations for Easter. I hope you all have a wonderful spring, and I look forward to catching up with you all in the summer.

I leave you with a Latin prayer that might give a little insight into why the Church offers exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. I have copied a translation from Wikipedia below.  If you have a more poetic leaning you might prefer the version by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

I devoutly adore you, O hidden Deity,
Truly hidden beneath these appearances.
My whole heart submits to you,
And in contemplating you, It surrenders itself completely.

Sight, touch, taste are all deceived in their judgement of you,
But hearing suffices firmly to believe.
I believe all that the Son of God has spoken;
There is nothing truer than this word of truth.

On the cross only the divinity was hidden,
But here the humanity is also hidden.
Yet believing and confessing both,
I ask for what the repentant thief asked.

I do not see the wounds as Thomas did,
But I confess that you are my God.
Make me believe more and more in you,
Hope in you, and love you.

O memorial of our Lord’s death!
Living bread that gives life to man,
Grant my soul to live on you,
And always to savour your sweetness.

Lord Jesus, Good Pelican,
wash my filthiness and clean me with your blood,
One drop of which can free
the entire world of all its sins.

Jesus, whom now I see hidden,
I ask you to fulfil what I so desire:
That the sight of your face being unveiled
I may have the happiness of seeing your glory. Amen.

[Translation via Wikipedia.]hostonly

Unexpected Discoveries at Knock Museum

I have lived within twenty minutes drive of Knock Museum for more than fifteen years.  I finally went in a few days ago for a class, but I still didn’t get a proper look at the exhibits.  I did make some interesting discoveries though, and I learnt how to make a St. Brigid’s cross.  My first discovery was made in the museum shop.  I saw some products there that looked very much like the kind of thing that I aspire to make, based on the Book of Kells.  The artist has a website where you can view and purchase his work if you want.

The second discovery was through meeting a Spanish lady in the class.  I couldn’t catch her name – Pilar – until she spelled it out for me.  I’m sure she was fed up of explaining its origins but I had to ask.  She told me that it is quite a common name in Spain, where babies are named in honour of Our Lady of the Pillar (Pilar in Spanish).  Below is a photo of a Marian statue on what is reputed to be the pillar in question.  It is obscured in the picture by a blue and white origami mantle (please don’t ask why; I haven’t the foggiest).  The apparition is claimed to be the first Marian apparition and happened when Mary was still alive.  Our Lady is said to have appeared to Saint James when she wished to gather the apostles together for one last time before her assumption into Heaven.
Virgen del Pilar

I thought it might be fun to do a post listing and describing all the Marian apparitions but looking at how many there are on the maps by National Geographic, I changed my mind.  There are nine major Church-approved apparitions, and the one at Knock is among them.  I would have only been able to list five of them before I started my research; how about you?  Have there been any in your area or country?  Knock is the national Marian shrine of Ireland.  You can see it marked quite clearly on the National Geographic map of apparitions in Europe.  So now you know where I live, roughly. 🙂  One day I may find the time to have a proper look around the Museum.

Happy St. Brigid’s Day

firststbcross

This is my first St. Brigid’s Day as a Christian and I’m in Ireland so I couldn’t let the day pass without making a St. Brigid’s cross.  People usually make these out of freshly cut field reeds but I, always having to be different :p, made my first cross at a class today out of something else.  I was so excited at the prospect, and the class was so chaotic, that I didn’t really catch what kind of reeds these were.  What I do know is that the demonstrator cut them herself at the end of last summer and she had to wear chest-high waders to get them.  Good woman!  She might have said ‘bulrushes’ but don’t quote me on that.  She told us that they can last for hundreds of years.  People used to use them to make household items, and she still uses them to make things that she sells for a living.

True Womanhood

visitationI used to think the Catholic Church was misogynistic, but I was looking at it with the eyes of the world rather than the eyes of faith.  I used to have all sorts of silly and erroneous ideas about the Church.  Since my conversion I feel like I’ve taken the red pill in The Matrix.  The veil has been lifted, and I can see much more clearly.

The Church doesn’t teach men that women are sex objects, or vice versa.  It doesn’t teach that sex is primarily for pleasure, or that sex outside marriage is a good idea.  It doesn’t teach women that it’s okay to kill their own babies in their wombs.  No, it’s the secular world that teaches us to objectify women, to regard babies as a disposable inconvenience, and to pursue pleasure above all else.

True womanhood, and true manhood, is about being obedient to the will of God.  Marriage between a man and a woman is an earthly reflection of the union of Christ with the Church.  Families are an earthly reflection of the perfect love and relationship between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Families break down when they stop obeying God’s will, or stop relying on God’s help.

assumptionI read a beautiful article recently by Father Richard Heilman.  He describes how woman is the pinnacle of God’s creation. The article is a lovely tribute to true womanhood and the tradition of veiling.

It’s true that women can’t be priests (and that’s primarily where the misogynistic reputation comes from) but they can dedicate their lives to God in equally valuable ways.  Men and women are not the same or interchangeable, despite what the secular world is trying to get us to believe.  God has given us different natures and roles.  We serve God best by fully accepting our role in His grand plan.

And, if you think that women should be allowed to be priests maybe you don’t understand what a priest is.  I’m only a newbie Catholic but, as I understand it, a priest is chosen by God to stand “in persona Christi”.  A priest offers the Mass and the Sacraments in Christ’s stead.  It seems logical that God chooses men for this role because Christ was incarnated as a man; the new Adam (with Mary, through her fiat, as the new Eve).  It is through ignorance or arrogance that we think that we could over-ride God’s will, and force Him to make a woman a priest.

From the Catholic Catechism (my emphases are shown in bold):

…Today the word “ordination” is reserved for the sacramental act which integrates a man into the order of bishops, presbyters, or deacons, and goes beyond a simple election, designation, delegation, or institution by the community, for it confers a gift of the Holy Spirit that permits the exercise of a “sacred power” (sacra potestas) which can come only from Christ himself through his Church. Ordination is also called consecratio, for it is a setting apart and an investiture by Christ himself for his Church. The laying on of hands by the bishop, with the consecratory prayer, constitutes the visible sign of this ordination…  The Lord Jesus chose men to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry… The Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason the ordination of women is not possible…  No one has a right to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders. Indeed no one claims this office for himself; he is called to it by God… Like every grace this sacrament can be received only as an unmerited gift.

The video below offers another way to look at this issue:

coronationIf you’re jealous of the rank and prestige that men can attain in the Church perhaps you should think about the dreadful risk that bishops and cardinals take.  These are only mortal men but they are expected to retain (and develop) their humility and other virtues while being offered the privileges of their rank.  Powerful positions offer great temptations that can jeopardise the fate of their eternal souls.  Not only that, these positions mean that they can also jeopardise the fate of many other souls.  The deepest parts of hell are reserved for shepherds who betray their flock and do not repent.

Sassoferrato - Jungfrun i bönYou cannot be a Christian and not recognise the privilege that it is to be a woman, because the most perfect of all creatures, the only creature born without original sin, is a woman and therefore once again you understand the extraordinary privilege of being one and having this image of the Holy Virgin, who was both Virgin and Mother and the two go beautifully together.

– Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand (via Fr. Heilman’s article)

Note: The photos of stained glass windows were taken last year in my local church.

Beautiful Song, Beautiful Child