Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Hail Mary, full of wossname.

Another quick blog before I go to Liverpool, (later today, and I am going to Bradford on Saturday).

I have had to cart quite a lot of stuff to the library today, I had about nine books I wanted to return, plus a sleeping bag that I am lending out for someone who is hiking to Lindisfarne from Carlisle. (I also meant to bring Barbara Butlers book about the St. Cuthbert Way, but totally forgot). I am rid of the books, and am dumping the sleeping back at the chaplaincy, allowing me to re-arrange my bags and leave straight away.

Last Sunday I attended Mass at Avila House, which was an interesting experience. It is a testament to the massive impact of methodism/18th century evangelicalism that in a catholic chaplaincy the three hymns included Wesley and Watts. Metho's rule. I was vaguely familiar with everything, although I was unable to keep up with the Hail Mary beyond "Hail Mary full of Grace...", nor can I recite the creed. (maybe if I had known which creed, and had a chance to think about it). As a result there were times that I thought that they might have benefitted from a printed service sheet. (Of course for Love Divine all Love Excelling I probably didn't need the hymn book provided - ho hum).

The only real theological problems I had were, inevitably the Real Presence. So I wouldn't have received even if I could, it was nice to receive a blessing though. And ummm, hmmm. That is about it.

Of course Marian devotion is not in my tradition, I don't feel the need for her too pray for me now or at the hour of my death. But much of the Hail Mary is entirely biblical. The idea of dedicating a mass to anyone is also alien, and of course the references to the dead went right over my head. The thing is, I didn't really find myself reacting against these. The more I study Christianity the more I can see how such ideas originated out of genuine theology, and real pastoral need. Even today they clearly speak to people. I can't say that they are wrong as such, only that they mean nothing to me. The only thing that threw me was the sacramental nature of the mass.

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