Today we are visiting the Orkney islands
"The Orkney Islands. Lying off the northern coast of Scotland, Orkney consists of a group of almost treeless, gently rolling islands separated from the mainland by the Pentland Firth. The islands lie between the North Sea to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west and cover an area of 376 square miles. There are roughly 70 islands but only 17 are inhabited. Kirkwall, the county's main town, is on the largest island, The Mainland. The town is the site of the magnificent 12th century cathedral of St. Magnus and the ruins of the Bishop's and Earl's Palaces. The next largest islands are Hoy, Westray, Sanday, and Stronsay. Warm ocean currents give the islands the mild climate that makes them one of Scotland's most productive farming areas, with beef cattle being the main product. Fishing is also a highly significant industry but recently tourism has overtaken both it and farming in terms of earnings. The discovery of oil beneath the North Sea led to the construction of a pipeline terminal on Flotta, one of the islands that surround the sheltered harbour of Scapa Flow. A causeway links the southern islands of Burray and South Ronaldsay to the Mainland of Orkney. Remains of prehistoric origin are to be found in abundance. They include burial chambers and rings of standing stones as well as the Stone Age village of Skara Brae which has been designated a World Heritage Site. Viking raiders arrived from Norway 1200 years ago and colonized the islands but they came under Scottish rule in 1472 when, along with Shetland, they were ceded to Scotland in lieu of a wedding dowry." From "Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia", 1996.
Time for our hymn.
My God, I love thee; not because
I hope for heaven thereby,
nor yet because who love thee not
are lost eternally.
Thou, O Lord Jesus, thou didst me
upon the cross embrace;
for me didst bear the nails and spear,
and manifold disgrace,
And griefs and torments numberless,
and sweat of agony;
yea, death itself; and all for me
who was thine enemy.
Then why, O blessed Jesus Christ,
should I not love thee well,
not for the sake of winning heaven,
nor any fear of hell;
Not with the hope of gaining aught,
not seeking a reward;
but as thyself hast loved me,
O ever loving Lord!
So would I love thee, dearest Lord,
and in thy praise will sing,
solely because thou art my God
and my most loving King.
We have got stranded on Orkney during our Lenten pilgrimage, but the Transalpine Redemptorists (who live on Papa Stronsay) are kindly offering us shelter for the night.
Remember - we shall be rising at 3.15 a.m. so as to be ready for Mass at 3.45 a.m. An early start!