Saturday, 23 October 2010

The Quarant'Ore Continued...

I found it hard to tear myself away from the kittens. I managed it, though I felt awfully guilty. I consoled myself with the reflection that they had plenty of food and water, the flat was nice and warm, and they had each other for company. I also thought that it wouldn't hurt to get them accustomed to the fact that I'm usually out all day. I did wonder whether I'd have any statues left by the time I returned, but then realised that most of my statues are actually bigger than the cats...

Anyway, off I went. The Mass on the second day of the Quarant'Ore is a votive Mass for Peace. I thought it would be a Low Mass, but it was a Missa Cantata - no mean feat, given the limited space available. I took one or two photos, mainly to show off the beautiful vestments, but didn't have the best of angles. At least this time I didn't need to photoshop anyone out of the picture!



After a brief interlude in the Parish Club, I returned at 11pm to the church for a night of watching. I had brought my Office, a biography of Teresa Higginson, (she introduced the devotion to the Sacred Head of Our Lord) a book on the early development of the Mass, a book on novenas and indulgences, and I had my rosary, but in fact I hardly used them... I have no idea where the time went!

During the night, several of the candles needed replacing, and I was the most sacristy-savvy person around. I was unwilling to go clunking up onto the Sanctuary - the crutches made me even less agile than usual - so I had to direct various people to retrieve the candlesticks for me one after the other, and bring them to me in the sacristy. Unfortunately I had forgotten that what looks like a reasonable-sized stump of a candle from my vantage-point in the pews is, in reality, a very short stump of a candle... Sometimes there wasn't enough candle left to get a good grip, and I ended up with very hot wax on my poor fingers, fingers already tender from being chewed by razor-sharp kitten teeth. I had to remove some candle stumps by pulling on the wicks... and sometimes I had to resort to gouging the stumps out using a pair of scissors...

The Mass for the end of the Quarant'Ore, like the one at the start, is a votive Mass of the Blessed Sacrament, so it has the same texts as Corpus Christi. The Litany of Saints was sung, the Blessed Sacrament was carried around the church in procession, and then we received Benediction... after which Our Lord was reposed in the tabernacle. Again, just as we found last year, having been privileged to be so close to Our Lord, there was a definite sense of loss when it was all over, and the Blessed Sacrament was once more hidden from view.

Anyway, I thought I'd share some of my photos...








One of the things which struck me at the end of the Forty Hours' was what a tremendous blessing it was to have this as part of the parish calendar. It is very special, and yet it isn't a "special event" - at one time I'd have thought that the Forty Hours was something for which you went to a Cathedral, or an Oratory, or a Monastery... but this was just our own parish... As such, people could come along just for ten minutes on their way to work, or for half an hour at the end of the day... Our Lord was just there, waiting... which, as Fr. Tim mentioned in his sermon, is one of the things which the Quarant'Ore reminds us - Jesus is waiting in the tabernacle of every church, every day, just waiting for us to remember him.

If you do get the opportunity to go to a Forty Hours' devotion, make the most of it. Go along. Five minutes, an hour, a Mass, or an afternoon... I'll bet that, whatever time you "plan" to allow, you'll find it hard to tear yourself away. God is never outdone in generosity, and he just waits to give us his blessings... but we have to remember to ask!

3 comments:

Dominic Mary said...

Amen to everything you've just said about the Quarant 'Ore, Mac; coupled with regrets that I didn't manage to get to Blackfen . . . but you've all been in my prayers today, both during the Oxford Pilgrimage and during my visit to the Oxford Quarant 'Ore . . . so I hope my absence may be forgiven at least slightly !

Mac McLernon said...

I said a prayer for you too - and understand that, with the driving situation, it isn't always easy for you to get to everything you'd want to attend... and no matter what we'd like, it isn't always possible to get to all the wonderful events going on around the place!

I hope that both Oxford events went well - I'm sure many blessings will accrue!

Zephyrinus said...

An excellent Post, Mac. And terrific pics from your snazzy new camera. You've whetted my appetite for the Forty Hours, next year.

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