Monday, 28 February 2011

Dewi Sant of Wales

St. Non's Well in St Davids, Wales. This holy well is said to have sprung up during a thunderstorm when St. Non gave birth to St. David around 500 AD. It has healing properties.

A Happy St. David's day to all! The legend that the 6th. cent patron saint of Wales Dewi Sant only ever drank water but neither wine nor beer is from the mists of time but may well be true although probably not many of his countrymen are strict followers of his in this regard, especially at the six nations rugby feasts! The more likely story that he daily practised total immersion in cold water (his nickname being Aquaticus) is a sanguine thought indeed especially as in cold winters such as this! That he founded ten monasteries including Menevia (St. Davids) and Glastonbury in the harshest traditions of the desert fathers are facts not disputed. Archbishops of Wales of Roman Catholic or the Anglican tradition would more authentically be based on the ancient see of St. Davids in Pembrokeshire, the ancient metropolis since the synod of Brevi AD 550. From time immemorial the Welsh have worn a leek on St. David's day, in memory of a battle against the Saxons, at which it is said they wore leeks in their hats, on St. David's advice, to distinguish them from their enemies. Dewi was one of very few Welshmen to have been canonised by the Western church, in his case by Pope Callistus II in 1120, the feast being proscribed for the whole province of Canterbury until the Reformation. Despite what you might hear from parts (not thankfully all parts) of the Church in Wales, you  definitely do NOT have to be a supporter of the novelty of the Welsh Assembly (a most recent innovation) to be a loyal supporter of Wales and a pilgrim follower of St. David. That is why I shall be voting NO at the referendum this month on the proposal to give enhanced powers to the WAG (Welsh Assembly Government). I urge all Taffys like me (so named after Daffyd) to do likewise! This is the closest I'm likely to get to pushing politics but have you seen the appalling standard of debates on the TV channel BBC Parliament? In my experience the local authorities combined with Westminster do a much better job. What a joke and why does the Church in Wales insist on going secular and nationalistic when the priority should be the Gospel of Jesus Christ and nothing but the Gospel? 

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

What to watch this Lent

Of Gods and Men
If you get the chance do try and see the wonderful French academy award winning film Des Hommes et des Dieux. I saw it with my wife and friends last night at the Newport Riverfront Theatre complex, a much underused and highly recommended arts centre. The English title is "Of Gods and Men". There were so many wonderful and poignant moments in the film it's hard to know where to start. The Benedictine community of eight monks in Algeria is the setting. Beset with problems working among the poor and within the Muslim community upholding the Christian faith, there is love, fear, courage, the way of the cross and resurrection in abundance in the real life story. That this film could win awards in France and Europe says much about the arts there and also the sad state of the British and especially American film scene. It wouldn't have got a look in here or the States. The characters are beautifully played in an understated and authentic way exuding the frustrations, the sacrifice and the joys of living in community with the daily Mass and Offices at their heart being the true powerhouse and springboard so important to the fruits of ministry. Monastic vocations can surely only be enhanced by such powerful and truthful work given to us by the Director Xavier Beauvois. It also gives much food for contemplation and prayer especially during Lent. This is timely while we see so many Christians struggling and continuing to become martys for the faith in hostile lands to the present day. Here are some trailers which only give a soupcon of what lies within...

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Directions New

I suppose that it was inevitable in all the huge changes taking place in the Anglo-Catholic world that the publication of Forward in Faith "New Directions" would be similarly changed. How could it be otherwise with all the personalities changing and moving? However it was with great sadness that when I opened the Feb. edition I realised all was never going to be the same. Another farewell to be faced is my immediate reaction. I had better give it another couple of months. The opinions and editorials were quite different to before. The balance is tried to be given by various re-prints from elsewhere which are obviously not the views of the new regime. Better time may be spent on study books from now on. Which brings me on to saying how much I have enjoyed reading one of my Christmas present books kindly given me; "Heaven and Earth and Little Space". Definitely no disappointment here and thoroughly absorbing stuff. Oh the author? a certain Fr. Burnham. My review of this in a word... brilliant. Buy it here