This blog is maintained by Carolyn, of www.carolynblake.com. You will find the blog at Art and Prayer Blog.

26th Sunday of the Year

Letter from Fr. Richard
Dear Brothers & Sisters,
The church is not an exclusive club, or an elitist society.  It is a universal society, all embracing of the human race.  Our tendency is to exclusivism.  If God does not call others in the same way as us, we tend to think that their calling cannot be genuine.  There is a saying: NO SALVATION OUTSIDE THE CHURCH.  It sounds soexclusive………… but WHEREVER THERE IS SALVATION, THERE IS THE CHURCH.  That does not sound so exclusive.  Jesus is saying as much in the Gospel today………wherever the SPIRIT OF GOD BLOWS, there is salvation at work.
 Have a good week!
 Fr. Richard
(Painting by John Singer Sargent of Eldad and Medad)
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17th September


Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 7:36-50.
A certain Pharisee invited Jesus to dine with him, and he entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table.
Now there was a sinful woman in the city who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee. Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment, she stood behind him at his feet weeping and began to bathe his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment.
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner."
Jesus said to him in reply, "Simon, I have something to say to you." "Tell me, teacher," he said.
Two people were in debt to a certain creditor; one owed five hundred days' wages and the other owed fifty.
Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both. Which of them will love him more?"
Simon said in reply, "The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven." He said to him, "You have judged rightly."
Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet, but she has bathed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair.
You did not give me a kiss, but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered.  You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with ointment.  So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.  "He said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."  The others at table said to

themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?"  But he said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."
(Anointing of Christ by Bradi Barth see www.bradi-barth.org )

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Tuesday 15th September Our Lady of Sorrows

Our Lady of Sorrows
Entrance Antiphon
Cf. Lk 2: 34-35
Simeon said to Mary: Behold, this child is destined for the ruin and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign of contradiction; and your own soul a sword will pierce.
(painting by Master of Stauffenberg Altarpiece, Alsace 1455)
also see http://themostholyrosary.com
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24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Brother's & Sisters,
At the beginning of the Baptism Rite, the deacon or priest asks the parents: Do you clearly understand what you are undertaking?  The answer is: we do.  The same question is assumed and answered when we embark upon marriage, or ordination.  An inner voice always says within me: No you don’t!  In fact, how can anyone know what they are undertaking when they embark upon a new direction in life?  However, I can always answer with conviction if I believe that God is on the scene.  I know that He will be my sureness in my doubt, my strength in my weakness and my resolve when I am like jelly.
 Peter answers with conviction because he knows he wants above all to follow Jesus……. But how, he does not yet know.  All of us have to answer the question: Who do you say I am in our way or other, at many stages of our lives.  May our answer be: Jesus the Saviour of the world and my saviour.
Have a good week!


Fr Richard
(The Annunciation by Dame Warburg Welch, see www.ibenedictines.org)

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Feast of The Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary 8th September

 Come, all you faithful, let us hasten to the Virgin: for long before her conception in the womb, the one who was to be born of the stem of Jesse was destined to be the Mother of God. The one who is the treasury of virginity, the flowering Rod of Aaron, the object of the prophecies, the child of Joachim and Anne, is born today and the world is renewed in her. Through her birth, she floods the church with her splendor. O holy Temple, Vessel of the Godhead, Model of virgins and Strength of kings: in you the wondrous union of the two natures of Christ was realized. We worship Him and glorify your most pure birth, and we magnify you. 

(The Book of Hours of Catherine of Cleves 15th century) 
The painting in the Arena Chapel, Padua is by Giotto 13th century.  
In this painting, the Virgin is depicted twice: the main image shows 
the birth and on the left, She is depicted being handed to Anna.
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23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

'EPHPHATHA'
Gospel
Mark 7:31-37

Returning from the district of Tyre, Jesus went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, right through the Decapolis region. And they brought him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they asked him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, put his fingers into the man’s ears and touched his tongue with spittle. Then looking up to heaven he sighed; and he said to him, ‘Ephphatha’, that is, ‘Be opened.’ And his ears were opened, and the ligament of his tongue was loosened and he spoke clearly. And Jesus ordered them to tell no one about it, but the more he insisted, the more widely they published it. Their admiration was unbounded. ‘He has done all things well,’ they said ‘he makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.’
(painting by El Greco, Metropolitan Museum of Art)

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16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

To gain balance in our lives is not always easy.  The disciples had returned from the mission Jesus had sent them on, and they returned quite tired from the experience.  Jesus said that they needed to come apart and rest awhile.  Wishful thinking – He saw the crowds following them and took pity on them.  Even in the Life of Jesus good intentions had to be shelved for “the great good”.  Even though our lives may not have the balance we would like, God can still be there in the middle of our struggle, accompanying us in our difficulties.

Have a good week.
Fr. Richard


The Good Shepherd
by Duncan Grant in Lincoln Cathedral 
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15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
There is a pattern in the life of Jesus, as portrayed by St. John in his gospel.  Jesus spends time with his Father in prayer; He goes out from that into His public ministry; He reflects – He goes to His Father in prayer – etc.
All of us as Christians are called to do God’s work. We must never be afraid that it will be too much for us, or that we will not have the means. If God asks – He will provide. Dare to think beyond yourself; dare to think that because of you the church, the world, can change for the better.
Have a good week.
Fr. Richard


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14th Sunday of the Year

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The feeling of failure is often accompanied by doubts and the “if only” syndrome.  We have a tendency to take ‘failure’ very personally.  It may be we feel we are failed parents, spouses, priests, deacons.  For all those featuring in the Sunday Readings, failure on one level or another is par for the course.  The important thing in life is that we do, at the time, what we consider to be the best in obedience to consciences informed by Christ in his church.  We are rare successes if we can become and remain human in a dehumanising world.  We are rare if we have a lively faith that never fails to trust in the goodness of God.
Have a good week.


Fr. Richard
Image: Ezekiel by Michelangelo, Sistine Chapel, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ezekiel)

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Saints Peter and Paul Sunday 28th June

Letter from Fr. Richard:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
St. Peter and St. Paul were very different in background, personality, experience of life and especially in their manner of knowing Christ Jesus. Nevertheless, these two were chosen as people upon which the Church of God was to be built. It is encouraging for us to know that Christ’s call is tailored to each individual. It is a cause for mutual respect. We need to value God’s work in us so that we may be encouraged to give of ourselves more. There is a priority of commitment; to husbands and wives, to children, to the family of the Parish and then in ever increasing circles outwards. Do not forget to pray for your Parish family; our Bishop Peter, your Priest Richard, your Deacon John, and all those who make community possible. Thanks to you all, for all that you do.
Have a good week.
Fr. Richard.


The Icon of Saints Peter & Paul is by Caroline Lees.
(Egg tempera & gold leaf 25 x 35 cms Private Commission)

The artist has kindly allowed us to use the image, so do take the time to look at her website.
Please see www.carolinelees-icons.co.uk
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