Tuesday 9 October 2007


I have long been aware that I need more patience. But reading the little booklet by the Jesuit, Fr Richard Clarke on the subject gave me a much more profound insight into the importance of this virtue, the ways to exercise it and the benefits thereof, both in this world and the next.

I won't give away the plot but do recommend it (Patience, by Richard Clarke SJ, published by CTS). I can honestly say that since reading it recently, I have already coped better with a slight illness, dealt more calmly with a host of minor annoyances, and responded more lovingly to the kids in times of stress... And as for my driving...

Of course, it will all wear off soon - but then I can always re-read the booklet as a refresher!

Saturday 6 October 2007

Mass for the Dead

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am teaching the chlidren to sing the plainchant Mass for the Dead,

This is stunniingly beautiful music and covers a huge spectrum of the human emotional response to death in a way that modern 'celebrations of the life of...' simply do not.

The main theme - from the opening words - is praying for the repose of the soul of the dead person. Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine 'Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord.' But there is also the stormy passion of the Dies Irae (Day of Wrath) and the beauty and hope of the In paradisum.

Further, the fact that for the past several centuries, so many saints and ordinry people have been buried with this music resounding (including my late Mother) adds a particular potency to it.

And if one knows some of the more modern Requiems (Faure, Durufle etc) one dlelights to learn where they got so many of their themes - and how brilliantly they worked with them.

Intermittent blogging

Somehow, blogging is low down on the priority list compared with some of the other demands on my time: apart from earning a living, there is so much to do with the chldren. At present, I am teaching them to sing the Plainchant Mass for the Dead, as we are leading the singing at a Mass for teh dead on Remembrance Sunday in the traditional rite. Other than that, their multiple comitments to music and sporting activities, and our love of going out walking together as a family mean that I rarely sit down at my computer with time on my hands. Perhaps as the nights draw in I will keep the blog up-to date more frequently.