From Will Turnstone’s personal blog.
Between 7.30 and 9.00 in the morning must be the noisiest time of day but most people have to filter out the noise, just to do what we have to. Young Abel often draws our attention to sirens, trains and loud machinery, but I did not need his advice this morning.
The Builder’s Dog is with us and needed his morning walk. Today he was sniffling round a shrub when I heard a woodpecker drumming somewhere nearby. Not that I saw him, but it’s a pleasure to hear him. Trying to place him – somewhere in the treetops – without binoculars was futile, but it made me aware of the din around me, even though I was some yards from the nearest road. The school playing field was being mown with a tractor and a mower; the main roads and inner ring road were still very busy, but a motorbike and ambulance stood out. There were trains and planes, and children winding down to go indoors for the morning.
But I could still hear the woodpecker. And the chaffinch and the blackcap … and the herring gulls and rooks overhead.
Sometimes we must dive into whatever silence is around, even if no-one else can hear it, even if only for a moment. Oh, still small voice of calm.
But now it’s back to work! 1 Kings 19.12.
Thérèse was born in 1873, before Pius X encouraged Holy Communion for younger children; as a teenager she had to seek permission to receive the sacrament on major feast days. Her sister Marie prepared her each time as she had done for her first communion.
‘I remember once she talked about suffering, telling me that I probably would not walk that path, but if I did, the Good God would always carry me like a child …
‘Soon after my First Communion, I made another retreat for my Confirmation. I prepared with great care to receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:14), not understanding why people paid little attention to the reception of this sacrament of Love. Usually there was one day’s retreat before Confirmation but as the Bishop could not come on the date set, I had the consolation of two days of solitude. To give us something to do, our teacher took us to mount Cassin where I gathered handfuls of moon daisies for Corpus Christi. Ah ! how joyful my soul was ! like the apostles I was happy to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2,1-4) I was overjoyed at the thought of soon becoming a perfect Christian, and especially of having for eternity the mark of the mysterious cross which the bishop would trace on my forehead … I felt the gentle breeze that the prophet Elijah felt on Mount (1Kings 19,11-13)
‘That day I received the strength to suffer, for soon afterward my soul’s martyrdom began… After these lovely, unforgettable feasts, my life went back to normal – that is to say, back to boarding school which was so painful for me. I was forced to live with girls who were very different, dissipated, not wanting to keep to the rule, and it made me quite unhappy.’
Mont Cassin is now the site of two World War II cemeteries, one German, the other Commonwealth. St Desir cemeteries
These men were forced to live and die with others who were very different, and if not dissipated, certainly would have preferred not to be under King’s Regulations.
Reader, pray for them.
Saint Therese, pray for them.
Ascension and Pentecost
The prophets insisted that the Temple was the place of God’s presence, not just the national shrine of Israel or Judah. Before a stone could be laid upon a stone, Nathan was sent to forbid David from building a house for the Lord (2 Samuel 7). God wanted it clear that he was the one God, and not to be tamed like a Canaanite god by offering sacrifices to force blessings from his hand; nor was he open to trickery like Zeus, who was taken in by Prometheus’ theft of fire; no, he was:
‘Exodus’ terrifying concept of unbearable beauty and power, God known in the thunderstorm on Mount Sinai, God who warns Aaron not to come within the Holy of Holies improperly dressed, lest he die.’
This God sustained a Covenant relationship with Israel. He it was who took the initiative and sent down fire upon the landmark sacrifices of Abraham’s vigil or Elijah’s watch on Mount Carmel (Genesis 15; 1Kings 18). He would do the same for his fledgling Church at Pentecost, when the disciples were transformed, not destroyed, by fire (Acts 2:3); a few years later the fire of the Spirit was passed to Paul’s ordinand, Timothy, bringing him into the eternal life of the Trinity (2Timothy 1:6–11) .
May our light burn brightly so that our lives may point those we love and those we meet to that eternal life.
 Paul Cartledge: ‘Olympic Self-Sacrifice’, in ‘History Today’, 50, 10; October 2000,
 Mary Douglas: ‘Leviticus as Literature’, Oxford University Press, 1999; p 34.
We all enjoy celebrations, times when we rejoice at something good. During celebrations, despite our problems and difficulties, we celebrate the good and look to the future with hope.
The Hebrews had a lot to celebrate. Today’s reading, 1 Kings 8:1-7, 9-13, telling how the Ark, containing the Tablets of the Law, was brought into a temple built for it, was a celebration of God’s love for them, the people He brought out of slavery and chose as His own out of all the nations. The temple would be a sign of God’s presence, a focus for their worship and sacrifices. This sign of God’s presence helped their faith.
In the Gospel, Mark 6:53-56, we see a different picture. Times were bad again; the Hebrews were now oppressed by the Romans. Their only hope was that God had promised, through the prophets, to send His Anointed One. They believed this Anointed One was Jesus of Nazareth, who had now come to this very shore. Jesus would be the new sign of God’s presence, the new temple. He related to them in a personal way, teaching them about God, showing that He was the fulfilment of the Law, and healing their diseases. They delighted in and celebrated His presence, just as their ancestors had celebrated the Ark coming to the temple. Jesus was to become the Sacrifice of the new temple.
In 1 Kings, the Word of God was present in the two tablets of the Law. In Mark, he was present as the Word made Flesh. He promises to be even closer to us today: The Word made Flesh wants to become flesh in our hearts through the faith of those who believe in Him. He promises to be with us always, to the end of time. Surely this is the best reason of all to celebrate.