Saturday, 6 January 2018

New Year's Prayers and Poems

January 2018 already! Celebrating the first anniversary of my blog:
New Light From Old Windows with three poems to sustain you and try to keep new light streaming  from our old windows for another year. So kicking off with the first about prioritizing what's important in 2018:

Dust If You Must, by Rose Milligan 

Dust if you must, but wouldn't it be better
To paint a picture, or write a letter,
Bake a cake, or plant a seed;
Ponder the difference between want and need?

Dust if you must, but there's not much time,
With rivers to swim, and mountains to climb;
Music to hear, and books to read;
Friends to cherish, and life to lead.

Dust if you must, but the world's out there
With the sun in your eyes, and the wind in your hair;
A flutter of snow, a shower of rain,
This day will not come around again.

Dust if you must, but bear in mind,
Old age will come and it's not kind.
And when you go (and go you must)
You, yourself, will make more dust


When fate deals a blow that you cannot explain
When things look their worst  

And no gold gilds the grey
Something will happen

God works in this way

Something will happen

Invisible hands move in the silence

And do his commands.
Thus prayers are answered
Though dark is the day-
    Something will happen
    If trust
ing, you pray

Do not lose faith when the big moments happen
Tho'  'neath the blow you are broken and dumb-
 God intervenes when the last hope is gone-
Something will happen
Be brave and hold on.


Tuesday, 24 October 2017

What does It Take To Make a Saint?

'You're a saint'. He must be a saint! How often you hear the word!. Maybe it is one you've used yourself?  But do we really give much thought?  How would you precisely  define a 'saint'?

Ok like you I've probably not given the word a great deal of thought until now! Most of us use it quite loosely to refer to a  very good person. But with over 10,000 named saints in history maybe it is something worth considering?

Let's start by considering the true definition and origin of the word. A saint- historically known as a 'hallow' (hallowed ground) is a person who is recognized  as having an exceptional degree of holiness or  likeness or closeness to God.  In Anglican, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran or Oriental Orthodox doctrine all the faithful who've entered Heaven are considered saints, although some are worthy of special named status; eg Saint Frances, Saint John etc

Many religions also use similar concepts to honour a few exceptional people.
John A Coleman, of the 'Society of Jesus', Berkeley College, California, stated that these people have the following in common:
Firstly they present us with exemplary models of living;
Secondly they are extraordinary  teachers;
Thirdly they are wonder workers or sources of benevolent power;
Fourthly they are intercessors;
Fifthly they often reject material comforts;
Sixthly they posses a  special and revolutionary relationship to the holy.
Wow! Are we talking about real living human beings here???? A pretty rare find any way yet the Catholic Church- for one- regularly makes new ones. So what do they look for?
They look for people who live a devoted Catholic life and spend their time serving God and helping people in need. Eventually, their good deeds are recognised after their death, and the Pope canonises them. They must have  led a saintly life. This includes being selfless and benevolent and an exemplary role model and teacher. It also involves loving and serving God. They must have performed at least two miracles. These are seen by the Church as affirmations that you can in fact intervene on the part of humans, and verifiable miracles are required for canonisation. They will wait at least five years before beginning an analysis to make sure that their life on earth was pure, virtuous, kind, prudent and devout,

It is far from being a quick decision made by the pope in a quasi New Year's Honour review of his flock!.
The whole process  of becoming a Catholic saint is lengthy, often taking decades or centuries to complete. Firstly, a local bishop investigates the candidate's life and writings for evidence of heroic virtue. The information uncovered by the bishop is sent to the Vatican. Then a panel of theologians and the cardinals of the Congregation for Cause of Saints evaluate
the candidate's life. If the panel approves, the Pope proclaims that the
candidate is venerable, which means that the person is a role model of Catholic virtues. The next stage toward sainthood is beatification, which allows a person to be honoured by a particular group or region. In order to beatify a candidate, it must be shown that the person is responsible for a posthumous miracle. Martyrs - those who died for their religious cause - can be beatified without evidence of a miracle. In order for the candidate to be considered a saint, there must be proof of a second posthumous miracle. If there is, the person is canonized.

Saint or sinner?  With this stringent criteria and decision- making process and   almost all of us are all certainly closer to the latter! Yet many of us have been lucky enough to have had our lives touched by saints. As the anthropologist Lawrence Babb stated: 'They exert a powerful attractive influence ..... (touching) the inner lives of others in transforming ways as well'

As 2017 draws rapidly to a close and we await the new year.

Maybe you are thinking about some special people who- whilst not being  saints as such- have  transformed your year for the better in some unique way?
Maybe you will meet a real saint in 2018?
Either way I hope that you'll share here with me and others! A year on, it's over to you!