Monday, 10 September 2007

Last of the Summer Wine.

Fr Wyatt from St Paul's Salford.

On the way to Laydewell.

Bishop Nicholas Reade of Blackburn with Fr Lee and myself also in the picture.

Our Lady gets to take the short cut, of course.

Well, September is well and truly begun and the summer is drawing to a close. Already I am making plans for the High Altar at the All Saints High Mass and thinking about an All Souls sermon (as well as an All Saints one at a slack church which is keeping the feast on the preceding Sunday). I am sick and tired of green chasubles and we are desperately in need of a new green High Mass set but desperately short of money to buy one. I have noted with glee that the nights are closing in and I am beginning to think happily on London and Lancastrian Decembers. Lancastrian Decembers are always special to me because I remember being at school and it being pitch black outside during the last two lessons on Friday afternoons. Of course there were no curtains and one could just make out the white stone statue of Aloysius Gonzaga outside, staring at you. Usually, the fire would be lit in the schoolroom and we would gather round for the last lesson for a story, sometimes fortified by a previous glass of borrowed altar wine. Cold, crisp December afternoons also remind me of London, and of hurrying down the Strand to the Wig and Pen club for a warming drink, and the happiness that is opening an old door and feeling the warm air beginning to chip away at your cold face. Well, I left school many years ago and I no longer live in London, but this time of year, when the seasons start to turn, I always remember both places.

I thank Almighty God every day for my life remembering that great line from the Psalms 'I shall not die, I shall live, and recount all His deeds'. Psalms are overlooked too often, us Ordinands and Priests recite many every day as part of our daily prayer, but most people only encounter them on Sunday, when one is usually read out with a responsary line. It would be far better to have no response, really, and to chant the whole thing through, maybe saving a response for the beginning and the end, as we do in the Divine Office prayers. Psalms are songs of joy and of sorrow, gain and loss and are a great gift from our Jewish patrimony. They herald the seasons as well as our history and keep us firmly grounded in our place.

I have put some pictures at the top of the rosary procession at Laydewell in 2006, to remind us of what a summer day looks like and I have called this post 'last of the summer wine' because I have just drunk precisely that, the last bottle I bought on holiday, called RBJ Theologicum (1999), a very good shiraz/mourvedre blend from South Eastern Australia. It tasted sublime with a roast joint of beef from Clitheroe market.

Psalm 110 (109)

The Lord's revelation to my Master:"Sit on my right;your foes I will put beneath your feet."

The Lord will wield from Zion your scepter of power;rule in the midst of all your foes.

A prince from the day of your birth on the holy mountains ;from the womb before the dawn I begot you.

The Lord has sworn an oath he will not change:"You are a priest for ever,a priest like Melchizedek of old."

The Master standing at your right handwill shatter rulers in the day of his wrath.

He, the judge of the nations,will heap high the bodies;heads shall be scattered far and wide.

He shall drink from the stream by the wayside and therefore he shall lift up his head.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen

ANT: The Lord has risen and is seated at the right hand of God, alleluia.