Monthly Archives: May 2015

Sixth Week of Easter


As I write this the light is streaming into the cottage from the west on a summer’s evening.

We went to Mass, the Sunday before Ascension, before eating outside in the garden.

John 15 is a remarkable poem to love.

“As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Remain in my love.”


We are back in London for a packed meeting of the 1922 Committee. I can barely get into the room. Everybody is enthusiastic, a joy to behold. Let’s hope it lasts, but events…

I prefer to be in Lincolnshire but it’s nice to be able to go to the sung evening mass in the Cathedral.

John 15 continues:

“When the Advocate comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father…”


We meet with all the new colleagues. I talk to only a few but they seem a cheerful bunch.

“Jesus said to his disciples, Now I am going to the one who sent me…” (John 16)

I suppose this is a long meditation designed to prepare one for the Ascension.

There is one line from a homily today on the feast day of Blessed Alvaro del Portillo: “When we die, we can only take away what we have given.” So true.

WEDNESDAY – Our Lady of Fatima

A double visit to doctors, travelling across London, but in between an interlude in Chelsea Physic Garden, an interesting and beautiful place, full of stories about plants, but too many people. I prefer to be amongst my own infinitely less exotic plants in Lincolnshire.

What are we to make of Our Lady of Fatima? What does it matter?

“I still have many things to say to you, but they would be too much for you now…” (John 16)

THURSDAY – St Mattias

I go to Mass, the vestments red, before a long drive past a blockedA1 northwards and to a public meeting in Welton.

“It was not you who chose me says the Lord, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit.” (Entrance Antiphon)

And John 15 continues:

“As the Father has loved me so I have loved you. Remain in my love.”


I ran the short distance to our little village church and read Psalm 45 in the Prayer Book: “My heart is indicting a good matter. I speak of the things which I have made touching the King; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.”

I think of this, my contribution, which comes only and not very well at that from my pen. I do a happy surgery and shop in Gainsborough and meet a few people.


Today is the last day that Mary and I will have children of our own under the age of 18. Our youngest is 18 tomorrow, the 17th of May. It’s been 29 years and 5 months less two days of having children under the age of 18, so tomorrow another chapter starts.

“O chosen people, proclaim the mighty works of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Alleluia.” (Entrance Antiphon)

Fifth Week of Easter


We went to Glasgow Cathedral for a Presbyterian service – perhaps my first. Dignified, welcoming, the sermon brilliant and shall we say substantial.

“My children, our love is not to be just words or mere talk but something real and active, only by this can we be certain that we are children of the truth.”

MONDAY – The English Martyrs

Bank holiday Monday. A battle bus was arriving in Lincoln and I did some calm leafleting. Again I rewarded myself with Evensong in the Cathedral.

In this calm atmosphere, so moderate and English, the disputes of the past seem deeply buried indeed.

“These who are clothed in white robes are they who have survived the time of great distress.”


I walked about the Market Place in Gainsboroug, a walkabout is perhaps too strong a word – it was very quiet and then a pleasant stroll canvassing around Knaith Park, then a tea. It’s not the dynamic front line, but pleasant.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me say I am going away and I shall return.” (John 14)

Before, we went to the funeral mass of Father Philip Bailey. Many priests were there to celebrate this clever (a doctor of scripture) and humble and willing local parish priest for over thirty years. A kind, good man. Rest in peace.

Another beautiful little mass in Holy Rood with Father Jonathan.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.” (John 15)

But people like Father Jonathan are also vinedressers.

More canvassing in Lea, then I ended this campaign at the highest point of Lincolnshire at Normanby le Wold, on a calm summer’s evening. The battle is over.

THURSDAY 7 MAY – Polling Day

I usually do some hoovering of the carpet on polling day, a soothing activity. We go out and attempt a little loud hailering, the first of the campaign, but we probably do more harm than good. A long night starts with the startling exit poll.

“Let us sing to the Lord, for he has gloriously triumphed.” (Entrance Antiphon)


The day starts at midnight and goes on to 7 am, the declaration of the count, and then a drive back home in the light, always a strange feeling. Breakfast, a short sleep, and back to the local election court and a grateful tea and cakes with the children back home. How nice to have been here.

“I will thank you Lord among the peoples.” (Ps 56)


With the children we do the Tennyson walk, starting at Tetford, then around Sowerby where he lived at the rectory, the church sadly closed for repairs.

“Cry out with joy to the Lord, all the earth.” (Ps 99)

Fourth Week of Easter


A difficult day; tough questions at Queen Elizabeth High School and then attacks at the hustings, but in retrospect it’s all good for the soul, demanding and humbling.

The sheep story continues and drives home the message:

“They never follow a stranger, but run away from him.” (John 10)


I spend a calming day delivering leaflets in Lincoln and as a reward I take myself off to Lincoln Cathedral for Evensong. Always a soothing and beautiful experience; I am always amazed there are not more people listening to the glorious singing of the Psalms, antiphons, Magnificat, and Nunc Dimittis in this vast gothic amphitheatre.

“Let us rejoice and be glad, and give glory to God.”

WEDNESDAY – St Catherine of Siena

I tried to go to Mass but it was cancelled but useful news. I heard young Fr Jonathan who had gone off to join the Benedictines was returning to our parish to say Mass for the first time. I carried on with my gentle rural rides, talking to people.

I sat alone in the empty church for the non-mass, it was strangely calming and read the texts for Catherine of Siena.

“God is light and there is no darkness in him at all.” (John)


I was speaking at a school, the second of the day and had a turn. An intimation of mortality, I revived myself with a jacket potato in a railway carriage in Bardney.

Prayer over the offerings: May our prayers rise up to you, O Lord, together with the sacrificial offerings, so that purified by your graciousness, we may be conformed to the mysteries of your mighty love.


What a joy to go to a small weekday mass in a side chapel said by a new young priest. Jonathan comes from an Anglican family. One day aged 15 he walked into our church and has wanted to become a priest ever since.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God still and trust in me.”


We went to a wedding in Aberfoyle, the daughter of an old friend and then to a party by a loch. The words of the Episcopalian service short, to the point, and masterful. St Paul’s exegesis on love is all that needs to be said on this sort of occasion and with commendable brevity in the homily; that was all that was said.

“In the midst of the church he opened his mouth and the Lord filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding.” (Entrance Antiphon)