The Holy Grail of Holy Medals

Some time earlier this year I was on the hunt for a medal of St Benedict. Not one of the vin ordinaire cheapies (though they are not unworthy) and certainly not the mass-produced Chinese ones (I kid you not) that do not bear close inspection. A few decades ago there were some natty ones made in France (I think it was) that had one charming if un-traditional image of Our Holy Father St Benedict. They can be found you look hard enough, but second-hand and over-priced.

You might protest that since I wear the habit of a consecrated Benedictine the medal is a little outré, or at least superfluous, for a monk. Well, monks too like sacramentals: their imagery, their feel, their blessing, and (in this case), their text. I would also like to give some to friends. Continue reading “The Holy Grail of Holy Medals”

The viva—update

To all those who visit here but do not follow me in on Facebook, my apologies. If you have been wondering how things went before the inquisitors, I can say that it turned out to be a very rewarding and even consoling experience. Not once did they “show the implements” to me, and in fact we had a lively and searching discussion on topics in and arising from the thesis. Professors Bullivant and Muessig settled me down very quickly, and my supervisor Professor D’Costa successfully and fruitfully distracted me both before and immediately after the viva, as I waited to be recalled for the examiners’ decision.

In short, they passed the thesis without requiring any corrections. Unless the research degrees award committee has decided to be as contrary as modern politics, both civil and ecclesiastical, I should be graduating as a MPhil in February. It is not impossible that something further might be done with the thesis. Time will tell.

To all who prayed on my behalf, my thanks and blessings. It worked, and it was rather cheering to enter the day in question knowing that others were praying for me.

And life rocks on…

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Spare a prayer

Please spare me a prayer tomorrow morning. At 11am, in Bristol, I will front two professorial inquisitors appointed to conduct the viva for my MPhil thesis on the ecumenism of blood and the Coptic martyrs of Libya.

The last couple of days re-reading critically the thesis I have found a regiment of typos and stylistic infelicities which escaped the notice of two pairs of eyes and which would not have troubled the spell-check. While I think the argument fairly sound I wonder if I have actually carried it off adequately. No doubt this is fairly natural pre-inquisition nervousness, and I am assured they are very nice inquisitors. Yet, mmm…

In the global scheme of things this is pretty inconsequential, yet it in such things we find that our personal horizons tend ineluctably to narrow and our world to shrink. It is very hard to resist.

So a prayer would be nice. At the very least I would hate for it to happen that I wasted more of the monastery’s money!

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True Colours—Election Fallout (Updated)

It is certain that I am not alone in saying that while I am not exactly happy that Donald Trump has been elected president of the USA, I am not unhappy that Hillary Clinton has not been elected.

But the election and its aftermath are fast becoming an object of fascination. Certain things seem to have been revealed even more starkly in their true colours; true in the sense of what they actually are, not necessarily what they should be.

So the sight of liberal voters rioting in Portland and elsewhere, arming themselves with bats to attack police and storefronts, hashtagging #notmypresident like there is no tomorrow (they all expect #Trumpageddon imminently), crying on Youtube videos, and forecasting the end of the American political order is fascinating. Actually, it is a more than a little pathetic. Continue reading “True Colours—Election Fallout (Updated)”

The US Election—Fools Rush In

This expands on first reactions posted on Facebook this morning. There is a lot to take in this morning.

Radio 4 was quietly but obviously confused when I awoke this morning. The result surprises me but does not surprise me as well: I thought the early voting would clinch it for Clinton but on the other hand the last few years have seen the political order in both Church and state upended across the globe: Brexit, Pope Francis, Duterte—a real mixed bag. Continue reading “The US Election—Fools Rush In”

Pulled posts and autumn courses

The particularly observant may have noticed that the two posts on my letter last week to The Tablet, in response to Fr O’Collins’ letter the week before, have been pulled. The more conspiracy-aware might think something sinister was afoot.

There is not.

A couple of days ago I received a friendly phone call from The Tablet‘s literary editor to advise me that the letter would be published this week. This surprised me as one reason for posting it here was in order not to let the moment pass. It may be that the moment will be longer to pass than I thought. I felt morally obliged to remind him that I had published the letter myself on this blog, since when one submits a letter, the confirmation of receipt comes with a request to confirm that the letter has not been published elsewhere.

There was no reaction to this, so to keep as much in the spirit of the enterprise it seemed to right to take down the posts on the letter. Once the coming edition of The Tablet has been out for a while I might edit the posts appropriately and reload them.

Also, the School of Annunciation has some interesting and useful courses on this Autumn which they feel would benefit many. The flyer is attached.

Pax.

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Succumbing to modernity

Finally I have succumbed. I have just taken to Instant Gramming. It is quite fun I have to admit. It was either Instagram or Pokemon Go. I chose the better part. No selfies, though… I promise! Go have a look if you need to slaughter some time.

Jesus falls the first time. Fr Aloysius' stations.

A photo posted by A Monk of Douai (@hughosb) on