Newsletter 10th May 2020
Today is the Fifth Sunday of Eastertide.
Once again, I hope that you are all keeping well.
I continue to celebrate Mass in the Church each morning and pray for you all. I look forward to the day when we can open the Church and be together again.
The gospel today is taken from John and is part of the lengthy section which covers the Lord’s final discourse to his disciples at the Last Supper. There is the direct question from Philip: Lord, let us see the Father and then we shall be satisfied. And there is the response from the Lord: To have seen me is to have seen the Father.
Thursday is the feast of St. Matthias, the apostle chosen to replace Judas Iscariot. By tradition be preached in Cappadocia, near to the Caspian Sea. His relics were brought by St. Helen to Rome but later they were taken to Treves. Paul and Bartholomew are also counted as apostles in the feasts of the Church, so that the total is fifteen rather than twelve.
May is the month of our Blessed Lady so I hope that you are managing to find time to recite the Rosary, maybe during your daily walk.
Last week I should have been in Spain for the meeting of the Trustees, but the meeting had to be cancelled. Things remain uncertain for the time being and I am not sure when I will next me visiting the College. Normally we would be looking forward to our visit in October, but I am leaving this pending for the time being. You will have seen suggestions of the problems for future air travel and I fear that my visits to Spain will be less frequent in future.
The diary shows a meeting for the Liturgy Group for Monday but obviously things will not take place. Thanks to Ali for arranging the virtual choir each week online. There is a Governors’ meeting for the Sixth Form College on Tuesday but once again this will be held online. I am beginning to work out how to manage it on my laptop.
I know that you have had this before, but a simple tomato salad is always a good dish. Slice some tomatoes thinly, sprinkle them with pepper and salt and allow this to settle. Drizzle some good olive oil and some wine vinegar over the tomatoes and add some finely chopped parsley. This is a familiar dish in France, particularly in Burgundy and is a good starter for a summer day. You may need a baguette to mop up the juice.
A prayer today for Easter time:
O Lord, from whom all good things do come: Grant to us thy humble servants, that by thy holy inspiration we may think those things that be good, and by thy merciful guiding may perform the same; through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Some more Betjeman again this week:
Red cliffs arise. And up them service lifts
Soar with the groceries to silver heights.
Lissenden Mansions. And my memory sifts
Lilies from lily-like electric lights
And Irish stew smells from the smell of prams
And roar of seas from roar of London trams.
The boy and his sister are still coping with home learning. Their father does his best between conference calls whilst their mother is working at the hospital. I am sure that their learning is good and conventional. I would like to be able to visit them to help with some extra-ordinary music – with the help of Alexa – and maybe some curious poems.
All sorts of interesting things: here is Somerset Maughan on Jane Austen. Nothing very much happens in her books, and yet, when you come to the bottom of a page, you eagerly turn it to learn what will happen next. Nothing very much does and again you eagerly turn the page. The novelist who has the power to achieve this has the most precious gift a novelist can possess.
And now some words of hope from Thomas Merton: Those who do not permit their spirits to be beaten down and upset by dryness and helplessness, but who let God lead them peacefully through the wilderness, and desire no support or guidance than that of pure faith and trust in God alone, will be brought to the Promised Land. They will taste the peace and joy of union with God. They will be aware of his presence, though sometimes obscure and mysterious, acting in the events of their lives.
From time to time some further work in the garden. My herb pots are doing well, and I keep the basil happy with plenty of water and some plant food. I tried to buy some more seeds the other day but the queue at the store was far too long. My parsley is doing well but I need to plant some more. There was plenty of blossom on the fruit trees and we may have a good crop of cherries. Normally the birds destroy the white currents before I have a chance to pick them.
We look forward to the summer but there are uncertainties as to the form that it will take. Long distance travels seem most difficult. When things change, maybe you might be able to come to the garden for a picnic – and who knows – you might just bring along some clippers to help with the plants.
A question in what can be tense times – do you want some food? – What is there? – The only answer is yes or no.
Hope you are continuing to survive and with kindest wishes to you all.
Monsignor Nicholas Rothon