Monday, 10th August, 2020
Newspaper headline: Refrigerate eggs but not potatoes. As it happens, I do exactly the opposite but then, so do the supermarkets: potatoes are in the chilled aisle but eggs are not. Conflicting advice and example like this may not be the end of the world when it comes to potatoes and eggs but, as an advert says, there is too much confusion about so much else, some of which really does matter. Talking of adverts; how can online bingo ‘be all about community’?
Sunday, 9th August, 2020
If we were assembling for mass today we would be singing the hymn Dear Lord and father of Mankind because of its connection with the still small voice of calm of the first reading. Today’s musical offering is a recording of that hymn to remind us, not only of the words and the spiritual sentiment, but also of the church singing that we are missing at the moment. The still small voice line comes right at the end.
Saturday, 8th August, 2020
The Pope is distinguishable from the Cardinals and others by being dressed in white. Have you ever wondered why the Pope wears white? Popes haven’t always worn white. The tradition dates to the late 16th century and the election of Pope Pius V. He was a Dominican and the Dominicans to this day are marked by their white habit. He decided he wanted to keep the white and so the tradition was born. Today is the Feast of St Dominic, the Spanish preacher who founded the Order of Preachers, otherwise known as the Dominicans.
Friday, 7th August, 2020
It is about thirty years since I last did it but yesterday I made some jam. There were a lot of raspberries reduced in one of the supermarkets so I bought some, together with some lemons and some sugar and successfully made three jars of quite tasty jam. Cost-wise it probably came in about half way between the cheapest and the most expensive shop-bought varieties. Very satisfying.
Thursday, 6th August, 2020
Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration recording the moment when Jesus appeared to his disciples in a state of glory that presaged the glory of the Resurrection. It is not a feast that immediately resonates in a way that Christmas, Easter or Pentecost does but is nonetheless important in understanding the overall picture of the Incarnation. On my one and only visit to the Holy Land, about twenty years ago, I was privileged to preside at Mass in the church of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor, the supposed site of this special event.
The 6th August may recall the promise of divine glory but it is a date that also recalls humankind’s darker side as it is also the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945.
Wednesday, 5th August, 2020
Poor Lebanon. The horrendous blast yesterday, which appears to be more a consequence of sheer incompetence and corruption than a deliberate act of terrorism, has left many bereaved and thousands injured and will cause unimaginable practical problems for the people of Beirut. Lebanon has many problems yet still managed to accommodate large numbers of Syrian refugees, and a significant outbreak of Covid-19, so this disaster will exacerbate those problems. Surprisingly for a Middle East country there is a large Christian population (apparently 40%) and they are mostly Maronite Christians, an Eastern catholic tradition, who are in full communion with the Catholic Church. We remember them in our prayers at this time.
Tuesday, 4th August, 2020
Excellent interview this morning on the Today programme with Dr David Nabarro of WHO talking realistically about the pandemic, how serious it is and what is required of everybody. I say ‘interview’, but he was so good that Mishal Hussein, for once, didn’t interrupt. Refreshing to have some clear unambiguous language, no false hopes, no optimistic kite flying, no muddle, no point scoring.
Sunday, 2nd August, 2020
Yesterday was the Feast of St Alphonsus Liguori, an Italian bishop, founder of the Redemptorist Order who produce the cover of our Sunday Newsletter. St Alphonsus was something of a polymath, an artist and a musician. He wrote the words (but not the tune) to the hymn O Bread of Heaven. But he was also a composer and here is a rather nice piece that he wrote:
Saturday, 1st August, 2020
Have you noticed the local post boxes recently? Over the last few days they have all been freshly painted – in pillar box red, of course. The other day, quite early, a man was painting the two boxes outside the post office and he had a van but not the usual red post office van. His was white but was marked ‘Post Office Painting Division’. All the things that go on behind the scenes you don’t know about.