Thursday 24 August 2006

The Little Book of Calm for Cats

A good friend of mine sent me The Little Book of Calm for Cats by Stuart & Linda MacFarlane which she'd spotted in a hospice book sale. It's fun, and everyone who has ever owned a cat will be able to recognise their moggy, so I thought I'd share a few quotes:

"From time to time engage in the seemingly trivial pursuit of frantically
chasing a ball of wool. This frivolous activity will absorb all your
negative energy and fill you with a wonderful sense of inner peace.

Hmmn. Sounds a bit too close to 'liturgical' dance for my liking!

"Practise the art of Feng Shui - rearrange your human's possessions to enhance your mood. Knock car keys and jewellery onto the floor, preferably into a dark corner out of sight, then stretch out and let your mind relax in a clutter-free environment."

Yup. Sylvester's read that bit and taken it to heart. And finally:

"Climb into a box - any box. Inside you will discover a mystical
place where you can escape from all the stresses and strains of the

Thanks for Prayers

A while back I mentioned that my sister was having a few problems with her pregnancy, and I asked for prayers for her and her unborn baby.

Deo gratias - it seems to have paid off ! The bleeding she was experiencing has stopped, and the baby appears to be doing well. Martina has to take things easy, but, God willing, I shall be an Aunt in early January (or thereabouts... )

Family Prayers

Friends of mine invited me round for dinner this evening. I was in for a real treat: the meal was excellent (as always) and the conversation flowed, but the highlight of the evening was being invited to join the family for their night prayers.

Five children (there would have been six, but the eldest is married and doesn't live at home) and their parents knelt down in the living room together to pray a decade of the Rosary, a litany of favourite family saints, an act of contrition and a few other prayers before the younger children scooted off to bed. I couldn't help thinking that if more families prayed together there would be far fewer problems in the world.

I felt so privileged to be with them.

Wednesday 23 August 2006

Our Lady, Star of the Sea

One advantage of Fr Tim's temporary absence from the blogging scene is that I get a chance to put up a post on what's been happening in the parish before he does... (his blog is so much better-written than mine, and he says what I'm thinking anyway, so I sort of feel that there's not much point just repeating it all!)

Anyway, on Monday morning the Stella Maris icon from the Apostleship of the Sea arrived in our parish. It's a beautiful icon, and the image I have doesn't really do it justice. It's massive, and comes complete with its own stand, plus another two stands for the explanatory notes - being an icon, all of the component parts have a symbolic meaning.

The icon was carried into the church by some of our parishioners just after the morning Mass, and Braz, one of our deacons, led us in saying three Hail Marys and a prayer to Our Lady, Star of the Sea by Pope John Paul II. We then sang "Hail Queen of heaven" which was particularly appropriate as it repeats the phrase "Star of the sea" and afterwards went in to the parish hall for tea and coffee and the chance for a chat.

There weren't that many people around for the Monday morning Mass, but on both Tuesday and today we had 50-60 parishioners. I was delighted that this happened during my summer holiday, so I was able to attend. Unfortunately, the icon has now moved on, I think to Our Lady of the Angels, Erith.

O Mary, Star of the Sea, light of every ocean, guide seafarers across all dark and stormy seas that they may reach the haven of peace and light prepared in Him who calmed the sea. As we set forth upon the oceans of the world and cross deserts of our time, show us, O Mary, the fruit of your womb, for without your Son we are lost.

Pray that we will never fail on life's journey, that in heart and mind, word and deed, in days of turmoil and in days of calm, we will always look to Christ and say, "Who is this that even wind and sea obey him?" Our Lady of Peace, pray for us! Bright Star of the Sea, guide us!

UPDATE: It would seem that Fr. Tim beat me to it again - he put up a post on the parish blog on Sunday. You can read about the different symbols in the icon HERE.
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