The stream of life

I dislike having to spend Sundays in London normally but it gave us an opportunity to go to Mass at St Patrick’s Soho Square. Afterwards we processed the Virgin around Soho Square to celebrate SOS Soho. Our little procession had an archbishop, the papal nuncio to Ireland visiting, and all types, ages, races. We passed by a group of leather jackets celebrating lunch with a lot of alcohol, some old ladies watercolouring – a charming stream of London life.

Monday: Confession is a strange thing. Irrational but we feel so much better after it. I was thinking of the two commandments and confessing to a lack of success in these simple but not easy tasks – Love one another and believe in Jesus Christ – and the priest reminded me of what was also in John’s gospel: that we all fall short.

Tuesday: I was dreaming that I was with a well-known politician – a household name – approaching a cricket match. I was pleased that at last I would be able to give him my idea. I started expounding, no doubt in a very boring way. He barely paused and carried on to an enthusiastic welcome from those waiting by the main stand. I veered off to the boundary where an official shoved me off on account of being with my dog William!

On Wednesday in this week, John’s Jesus says “I still have many things to say to you but they would be too much for you now.”

Indeed, I found myself asleep at Mass.

There is a priest at Mass in the Cathedral who merely in his homily repeats and re-repeats aspects of the Gospel very slowly. He was doing this on Thursday. But it works well with the great speech of Jesus in John 16:16-20 – “We don’t know what he means. … You will be sorrowful but your sorrow will turn to joy.”

We should take note when strangers come up to us on the street. You never know who they are, however odd, they might be an angel.

On Friday, someone came up to me and said this: “I think this is much more important to you than politics.” But when we are lying in our coffin, this is all that is important. Let’s not be too dramatic. I had just heard the combined choirs of Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral sing evening vespers. At one level, beautiful, even inspiring. At another, deeper level… perhaps the only thing that is really important.

So many fields round our home in Lincolnshire have young lambs at the moment. On a long walk on Saturday I stood by one. He looked at me for some time, before gambling off. Perhaps they are more intelligent than we think. They are certainly timeless. The village of Kirmond comes from a Norman name. Chevre Le Mont – Goat’s Hill – shortened to Kevremond, then Kirmond, then Kirmond le Mire (it is by a muddy stream). The Norman conqueror has left few names, unlike the Anglo-Saxons, Stainton, or the Danish Tealby.

And on the hill are terraces, lynchets, remains of medieval farming. As I was walking through the village and a coach bounced past me at great speed. I wonder how many stop and think of the centuries accumulating in our countryside and the virtue of history and tradition and knowledge of things past.