Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Late Summer in London - 4

I was attracted my these Chinese Berries growing by the lakeside in St James's' Park. I certainly didn't try to eat one - they looked poisonous to me!

Monday, 29 September 2008

Late Summer in London - 3

Here we see a close up of the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament taken from the South Bank of the River Thames. The London Eye seems quite an appropriate image for today, as we celebrate the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Archangels.

Happy Feast!

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Late Summer in London - 2

We are so blessed with some lovely Royal Parks in London - St James's Park is one of my favourites. I took the photo above from the West End of the park - close to Buckingham Palace.

The second photo was taken from the bridge over the middle of the lake. The photo below was taken from the East End of the park and shows Horse Guards Parade and the London Eye in the distance.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Late Summer in London - 1

Yesterday was a glorious late summer day in London, and I decided to visit Clarence House. This is now the London residence of Prince Charles and his second wife - until 2002 it was the residence of his grandmother - Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. I asked the guard to give a warm smile for my blog - I guess he is not a regular visitor!

Friday, 26 September 2008

Psalm 8

Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set you glory
above the heavens.

Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.

When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,

what are mere mortals that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned them with glory and honour.

You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Psalm 139

You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.

You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.

You discrern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.

Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.

You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens. you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,

even there your hand would guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,'

even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know them full well.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Psalm 96

Sing to the Lord a new song:
sing to the Lord, all the earth.

Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.

Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it.

Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
let the trees of the forest sing for joy.

Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes,
he comes to judge the earth.

He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples in his faithfulness.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Psalm 19

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.

Thye have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.

Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.

In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,
which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.

It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Psalm 69

Over the next few weeks (in addition to some less spiritual posts) I shall be examining some of the Psalms - with the help of artwork from the Benedictine Sisters of Turvey Abbey. Psalm 69 is a real cry for help.

Save me, O God,
for the waters have come up to my neck.

I sink into the miry depths,
where there is no foothold.
I have come into the deep waters;
the floods engulf me.

I am worn out calling for help;
my throat is parched.
My eyes fail, looking for my God.

How good to see the hand of God outstretched to help!

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Exeter Cathedral - 12

I always like to see plenty of fresh flowers in a church (except during Lent). The flower arrangers at Exeter Cathedral are to be congratulated on their splendid work. Here is a photo of a display on one of the pillars - a lovely image for the Day of Resurrection.

Alleluia! Alleluia!
Give thanks to the risen Lord!
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Give praise to his name.

Jesus is Lord of all the earth:
He is the King of creation.

Alleluia! Alleluia!
Give thanks to the risen Lord!
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Give praise to his name.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Exeter Cathedral - 11

Here is the tower on the South side of the Cathedral - sadly there wasn't much sun when I took this photo!

This is the pedestrian route to the Chapter House, Gift Shop, and the Cathedral Refectory. I like the way that so many of our Cathedrals now have refectories - not only is it of practical value to pilgrims, it also helps to bring people into the Cathedral who might not visit for worship or prayer. In my experience, the food is often very good!

Friday, 19 September 2008

Exeter Cathedral - 10

What a splendid view! The magnificent screen (complete with altars either side of the gates into the choir) - and of course a glorious organ to crown it.

O praise ye the Lord!
All things that give sound;
Each jubilant chord,
Re-echo around;
Loud organs, his glory
Forth tell in deep tone,
And sweet harp, the story
Of what he has done.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Exeter Cathedral - 9

Here we have a photo of the Nave Altar of the Cathedral. Very much in Pope Benedict style - central cross and six candles. I like the impressive green frontal.

You can see the lovely screen behind the altar which divides the choir and high altar from the nave of the Cathedral.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Exeter Cathedral - 8

Here is the main sanctuary and High Altar of the Cathedral, with the Lady Chapel beyond.

I was impressed with how well the Cathedral is looked after, and how all the various altars are dressed in the correct liturgical colour. There was a good atmosphere of prayer.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Exeter Cathedral - 7

What makes a church a cathedral is of course the bishop's chair. I'm not sure what Pope Benedict XVI would make of this! It has six candles - but is not an altar! Seems a bit over the top to me.

Unfortunately it was roped off, so I was unable to try it out and report on whether it is comfortable or not.

To be fair, it is impressive and certainly emphasises the importance of the Office of Bishop. Please remember the Anglican Bishop of Exeter in your prayers.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Exeter Cathedral - 6

Here is the stained glass window in the Lady Chapel. To the left we see the Annunciation, in the middle the Nativity with the shepherds and the wise men, and to the right we see the Crucifixion with Our Lady and John at the foot of the cross. Today we focus on this last scene, as we celebrate the Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Sing we, too, of Mary's sorrows,
Of the sword that pierced her through,
When beneath the cross of Jesus
She his weight of suffering knew,
Looked upon her Son and Saviour
Reigning high on Calvary's tree,
Saw the price of our redemption
Paid to set the sinner free.

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God:
That we may be worthy of the promises of Christ.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Exeter Cathedral - 5

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross - and here is a photo of the cross in the Lady Chapel of the Cathedral.

Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim
Till all the world adore his sacred name!

Come, Christians, follow where our Captain trod,
Our King Victorious, Christ the Son of God:

Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim
Till all the world adore his sacred name!

From north and south, from east and west they raise
In growing unison their songs of praise:

Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim
Till all the world adore his sacred name!

Happy Feast!

PS It appears there used to be a tabernacle here.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Exeter Cathedral - 4

Here is a view of the North East corner of the Cathedral.

One things that strikes me is how green everything is looking - hardly surprising given all the rain we have had this summer!

The Lord my pasture shall prepare,
And feed me with a shepherd's care;
His presence shall my wants supply,
And guard me with a watchful eye;
My noonday walks he shall attend,
And all my midnight hours attend.

When in the sultry glebe I faint,
Or on the thirsty mountain pant,
To fertile vales and dewy meads
My weary wandering steps he leads,
Where peaceful rivers, soft and slow,
Amid the verdant landscape flow.

Though in a bare and rugged way
Through devious lonely wilds I stray,
Thy bounty shall my pain beguile;
The barren wilderness shall smile
With sudden greens and herbage crowned,
And streams shall murmur all around.

Though in the paths of death I tread,
With gloomy horrors overspread,
My steadfast heart shall fear no ill,
For thou, O Lord, art with me still:
Thy friendly crook shall give me aid,
And guide me through the dreadful shade.

These lovely words by J Addison (based on Psalm 23) are often sung to the tune 'Surrey'.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Exeter Cathedral - 3

Well, it would appear that Jackie Parkes is not all that impressed with the new mosaic of John Henry Newman in Westminster Cathedral. I should put her mind at rest by stating that she is not the only person who holds that opinion! However, I am sure she will like this icon which I photographed in Exeter Cathedral.

Exeter Cathedral is dedicated to St Peter - what a wise choice! This lovely icon was 'written' by John Coleman, an icon-writer in residence at the Cathedral in 2002. Holy Peter, pray for us!

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman - Blessing of New Mosaic

Yesterday evening, at the 5.30 pm Solemn Mass in Westminster Cathedral we blessed this beautiful new mosaic of John Henry Newman (1801-90). I have a great devotion to the Cardinal, for I too used to be a member of the Church of England before being received into full communion with the Catholic Church, and like him, I too am a great hymn writer (only joking!). As a boy, John used to spend his summer holidays at what is now called Newman House in Ham Street, just down the road from where I live at present on Ham Common.

I was privileged to be deacon at the Mass. The Principal Celebrant was Canon Christopher Tuckwell (Administrator of the Cathedral) and the concelebrants were The Very Reverend Paul Chavasse (Provost of the Birmingham Oratory), The Very Reverend Ignatius Harrison (Provost of the London Oratory), Monsignor Anthony Stark (Master of the Guild of Our Lady of Ransom), and Monsignor William Saunders (Private Secretary to His Grace the Archbishop of Southwark).

I am pictured here before Mass with Fr Paul Chavasse (who preached the homily) - I know that this will impress Jackie Parkes - The Catholic Mom of 10.

The mosaic contains the famous words of the Cardinal 'Prayer is a Vital Act of Faith'. Here are some other lovely words written by John Henry Newman.

Firmly I believe and truly
God is three, and God is One;
And I next acknowledge duly
Manhood taken by the Son.

And I trust and hope most fully
In that Manhood crucified;
And each thought and deed unruly
Do to death, as he has died.

Simply to his grace and wholly
Light and life and strength belong,
And I love supremely, solely,
Him the holy, him the strong.

And I hold in veneration,
For the love of him alone,
Holy Church as his creation,
And her teachings as his own.

Adoration ay be given,
With and through the angelic host,
To the God of earth and heaven,
Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

What splendid words! I pray that it will not be long before we can ask the Blessed John Henry to pray for us!

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Exeter Cathedral - 2

Here is a photo of the magnificent West Front of the Cathedral.

We are fortunate in England in having a number of beautiful Cathedrals in lovely settings - this helps to make the Cathedral the very centre of the City. It is not just the faithful who identify with the building, almost all the citizens do.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

I have been tagged for MEME!

The Epiphany Artist has asked me 'where were you and what were you doing at...? six different times. As I am particularly proud of my answer to No. 6, I shall gladly reply to all!

1. JFK's Assassination 11/22/1963

Well, it would be nice to say that I had not yet been born, but that would be untrue! I was 10 years old, and in those days I had to be in bed with my light out at 8.00 pm. So I guess I was in bed in my home in Leeds, Yorkshire - and that I was asleep.

2. England vs Germany World Cup Semi-Final 4/7/1990

I was living in Belfast (Northern Ireland) and watched the match on TV. I think I watched it at home but cannot remember if anyone else was watching it with me.

3. Margaret Thatcher's Resignation 11/22/1990

I was teaching at Latymer Upper School in London and let my economics students watch it all happening on TV.

4. Princess Diana's Death 8/31/2005

I was in bed at the time, but was shocked to hear about it on the 8.00 am news on the radio. I remember changing the hymns I had selected for the 10.00 am Solemn Mass at St Thomas Aquinas Church, Ham. The mood was one of great sadness.

5. Attack on Twin Towers 9/11/2001

Again, I was teaching economics at Latymer Upper School - and my students said something awful had happened in New York and could they watch it on TV. I said 'no', we will get on with our economics and you can watch it when you get home. Little did I know that my eldest nephew (Simon) was only 300 metres away from one of the towers. He had travelled down from Boston that morning on a business trip. Fortunately he was not physically injured - though he was emotionally very shaken up.

6. Election of Cardinal Ratzinger to the Papacy 4/19/2005

Oh joy! I was in Westminster Cathedral in London. I had arrived at the Cathedral in time to act as deacon at the 5.30 pm Solemn Mass - as I do most Tuesdays. The Cathedral bells were ringing because we knew we had a new Pope - but we did not yet know who he was! Bishop George Stack (Auxiliary Bishop) was called in at short notice to celebrate, and in the sacristy he said 'what will I say at the Eucharistic Prayer, because once more we have a Pope, but we do not know his name!'? During the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles I was handed a piece of paper to hand to the bishop. He opened it, but said nothing. When I asked him for a blessing before reading the Gospel I also said 'who is it?' and he said 'not telling!'. During the Homily he told the whole congregation that it was Cardinal Ratzinger, but we didn't learn the name 'Benedict' until the Eucharistic Prayer. It was all most dramatic and exiting. We processed out to 'March Pontificale' by Widor and BBC TV were waiting at the West Door to interview, well not me, but Bishop Stack!

PS The photo shows myself with Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor (Archbishop of Westminster) - the Cardinal was obviously in Rome attending the conclave at the time of Pope Benedict's Election.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Exeter Cathedral - 1

Last Monday I had a day trip to Exeter, and spent some time in the splendid Norman Cathedral. The Cathedral had a number of lovely banners on display, and here is a photo of one of them. With the rather prominent bullrushes, I wondered whether it was meant to depict Moses, but on closer inspection I could see that it was Our Lord in the arms of his Mother. How appropriate, because today we are celebrating the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Sing we of the blessed Mother
Who received the angel's word,
And obedient to his summons
Bore in love the infant Lord;
Sing we of the joys of Mary
At whose breast that child was fed,
Who is Son of God eternal
And the everlasting Bread.

Happy Feast!

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Petersham Nurseries - 10

Here we have a Passion Flower at the nurseries. The flower reminds us of the Passion of Christ.

In the 15th and 16th centuries, Spanish Christian missionaries discovered this flower and adopted its unique physical structures as symbols of the Crucifixion. For example: the radial filaments represent the Crown of Thorns. The top 3 stigmas represent the 3 nails and the lower 5 anthers represent the 5 wounds. Something to think about on 14 September when we celebrate Holy Cross Day.

Tomorrow, I shall be starting a short series on Exeter Cathedral. Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Petersham Nurseries - 9

These asters remind me of Michaelmas Daisies - and of course we shall be celebrating Michaelmas Day on 29 September.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Petersham Nurseries - 8

I'm not sure what these peppers taste like - but I imagine they are hot!

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Petersham Nurseries - 7

Runner beans are my favourite vegetable - well after mushy peas!

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Petersham Nurseries - 6

Here are some glorious sweet peas - the fragrance was delicious!

Whence is that goodly fragrance flowing,
Stealing our senses all away?
Never the like did come a-blowing,
Shepherds, in flow'ry fields of May,
Whence is that goodly fragrance flowing,
Stealing our senses all away?

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Petersham Nurseries - 5

Travel along the A307 from Richmond towards Kingston...

... turn off at the wall sign...

... go past St Peter's Church...

... turn down the side pathway...

... and you have arrived at Petersham Nurseries.

Sorry for the late timing of this post - I was waiting for it to stop raining!

Monday, 1 September 2008

Petersham Nurseries - 4

When I started this blog in January 2007 I vowed that I would never post just personal photos - but as today I am struggling for something, I will break my vow!

Having shown you my parents in Dunkeld during August, perhaps I can start September by showing you my sister and brother in law. Wendy and John came to stay with me for a couple of nights in July, and during their stay we went to Petersham Nurseries. If the weather is OK tomorrow I shall go and take some more photos of the nursery to show you on the blog.