Sister Joanna has shared these reflections on Saint John Cassian, whose thought continues to influence the Church to this day. A good read for the start of the summer holidays here in England. It’s also a good time to listen to him because his feast falls at the end of this week, July 23rd.
FISC Chapel by CD.
Paul tells us that the Body of Christ is made up of many parts, and indeed, the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. (1Corinthians 12.22). Let’s not get above ourselves, most of us are more like fingernails than brains or biceps. But we are needed from time to time.
Fingernails can be cracked, broken, ingrained with oil and dirt from hard work. Nurses, though, and chefs need spotless nails; my brother who is a chef will not consider offering a job to anyone, however charming, who comes for interview with dirty nails.
Other nails are pampered, decorated, miniature works of art. They seem to suggest that their hands never get dirty. Of course, some of these nails are in holiday mode, boosting the confidence of the rest of the body for the challenges of a night out, or maybe telling the rest of the body to slow down for a few days: my daughter’s Christmas nails were not practical when teaching 4-year-olds, but fun for a fortnight!
We may be no more than fingernails in the Body of Christ, but we need to take care of ourselves, scrub those nails so the rest of the body is not made ill when we feed it, maybe dress to impress occasionally, but above all, be ready to get dirty in honest hard work for others.
Pictures: Altar and Tabernacle at FISC, by CD – the Body of Christ in form of bread; Dairy at Petworth by MMB – clean fingernails would certainly have been expected.
Today I remember my grandfather Alexander Victor, whose 115th birthday it would have been. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace.
Had he lived to see it, Pop would initially have been profoundly discombobulated at the thought of my becoming Catholic, since he regarded Catholicism as equivalent to treason. But since he always wanted what was best for me, he would have wrapped his head around it and in the process undergone a change of mind.
Together with his wife, he brought me up. His eyes were brilliant blue, bluer than any others I’ve ever seen. While he had fond memories of childhood holidays in Shanklin on the Isle of Wight, his favourite place was Dartmoor, where he used to go for long walks. We loved each other deeply. He was deaf, and because in those days hearing aids weren’t that good, plus he didn’t like wearing one, we didn’t speak much, and never more than a few words. But our rapport meant that the impossibility of verbal converse promoted a deeper form of communication, one whose roots in silence were as deep as the blue of his eyes and whose tokens were the countless glances of solicitude we exchanged during the course of a day and the kiss he gave me every night before he went to bed while I lay pretending to be asleep.
Llanddwyn, Ynys Mon, MMB
When Doug proposed writing about Marriage, I had just put down an article about ‘me time’ in one of the newspapers. No doubt it was urging the reader to make a new year’s resolution to be nice to him- or her- self, and spend money on the products advertised around the article.
I set Doug the task to write about ‘Me Time’ for the blog. I don’t see him selling many spa weekends for one, somehow, but any holiday can become a holy day; you can make a pilgrimage of a walk at the beach or the local countryside… or even a lifetime.