Monday 30th May - Natural History Museum Shenanigans

I went here and did this:

'Is that it? I want a bigger and more expensive rock on my engagement ring.'

*awkward turtle*

I finally found somewhere to live!

Yes, I forgot to mention, if any of you were actually following my house-hunting progress, I've found a place! Lovely house, nice garden (we even have a sunroom), sane people and all of it at an affordable price.

(Photo credit to awaitingdawn)

Things are looking up people. Onwards and upwards!

Sunday 29th May - Hello!

Hello! Gosh, it's been a while hasn't it?

Nothing really interesting to write about apart from the well-kept secret that the summer's here!

Re-cap: I just finished exams last Wednesday and have been super busy. I would have liked to have drowned my third-year sorrows down the pub, but it was an early night for me as I was set to steward for Antiques Roadshow the next day. Antiques Roadshow, what to say? Apart from it being slavery (worked nine hours with only a twenty minute break), I actually had a really enjoyable time. I may have said 'You're finally at the front of the queue!' about twenty times but one forgets that it's the first time the person you're talking to hears what you have to say. I mean, I talk nonsense, that's no secret, but at least it helps the time pass right? One guy had waited nearly four hours to get his books looked at (I was put in charge of manning the 'Books' queue - couldn't have asked for a better one, although pictures and prints would have been just as interesting). Poor guy. I don't think they were worth anything in the end either.

I had *the* nicest specialist too - Dominic Winter. Lovely guy. He made the effort to learn my name and even remembered what I was studying. He even 'consulted' me on some theology books that were shown to him. One of them I actually knew something about! George Hill's Sermons. I had just sat my Scottish Spirituality exam that morning, and then his name popped up! Uncanny. Anyway, all in all, fun was had. Apart from the realisation that I had worked a crazy amount of hours with no pay, I was in a good mood. With my heels burning I lugged myself home for dinner before popping out for drinks with a friend. Who knew Irish Snap and Vodka and Coke would be such a great combination? If that wasn't good enough, I even managed to chill out with my new flatmates before returning home. I'd like to say that I was finally able to rest but, alas, no. The next day I was up early once more, this time to pack my life away into boxes.

(Photo credit to denkyo)

I won't bore you with the process of packing, moving, lugging, dragging, sweating etc. I'm sure you've all experienced it before. Come the evening the internet had been cut off and a turning point was made. With no internet nor tv I was forced to entertain myself in other ways, one included staring at the blank tv screen and pretending the commercials were on. Fun times.

Saturday was spent in town. I was trying to absorb as much of St Andrews as I could via osmosis, hoping that each droplet of rain that touched my skin was embedding a tiny bit of the St Andrews' essence. As much as I was looking forward to returning to London, St Andrews is a special place. Being away from it for four months is a big deal. Also, the knowledge of it being my last year there next year is a sad thought. Let's not think about it.

More importantly, I'm back in London now. I've only got a week till I start working at The Catholic Herald. After that I'll be spending most of the summer working at the press office for the Diocese of Westminster. Exciting times ahead. Ooh, and I must not forget that I have a friend coming over from the States for a visit too - it should be exceptionally fun. So yes, it will be my first summer in a while where I won't be travelling abroad. I'll finally get to experience this 'barbecue summer' everyone raves on about.

(Photo credit to PORG)

Things are looking good. Life is looking good.

Wednesday 18th May - The End is Nigh!

Seeing as the Rapture is in three days I don't need to revise. Jesus can tell me all about how I would have aced the exams in heaven. Or if I'm not part of the elect I'll just burn in hell for all eternity. Anything's better than exams.

The Day We've Been Waiting For - The Beatification of Pope John Paul II

Beate Joanne Paule, ora pro nobis

If you didn't get the chance to watch the beatification, you can do so here.

Monday 2nd May - If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?

Because we fear the unknown. We fear the possibility that even though we have learnt from our experience, it may happen again. We would rather not go through 'trial and error', but sometimes that's the only way we really learn.

Photo credit from kevinsaintgrey

Ask me anything

Sunday 1st May - In an hour of need

Just when I thought everything was going wrong again, I read this. I found it to be a wonderfully heart-warming and humbling story. I wish I was able to appreciate him more when he was alive.


This is an article from several months ago, but it seems timely to repost it on the eve of the Beatification. Blessed John Paul II, ora pro nobis!

I listened the toLighthouse Media CD of Dr. Scott Hahn delivering an address on the beauty and nature of the Sacrament of Confession. In his talk, Dr. Hahn relayed one of the grandest stories I have heard in quite some time. Please forgive my own recollection of it. The facts are accurate, but the manner in which I relay it could never rival Dr. Hahn’s own oration. To hear him deliver the story, check out the Lighthouse Media CD.
A priest friend of Scott Hahn's had returned from Rome and told Mr. Hahn this story. The priest was on his way to a private audience with the Pope but was running early. He thus decided to stop in a church to pray before his meeting. On the steps of the church were a number of beggars, something fairly common in Rome. As he approached the church, the priest thought that he recognized one of the beggars. After entering the sanctuary he knelt down to pray, whereupon he remembered how he knew the man. The priest immediately rushed out and approached the familiar beggar exclaiming, “I know you. Didn’t we go to seminary together?”
The man gave a humble affirmative.
“So you are a priest then?” he said to the beggar.
The man replied, “Not anymore. I fell off the deep end. Leave me alone.”
The priest mindful of his approaching appointment with the Holy Father, said nothing more than, “I’ll pray for you.”
The familiar man replied, “A lot of good that will do.”
With that, the priest left the man on the steps and departed for his meeting. These sorts of meetings with the Pope are typically very formal. There are any number of people who have been granted a private audience at the same time, and when the Holy Father makes his way around to you, his secretary hands him a blessed rosary, and he in turn hands it to you. At this point, one would probably kiss the Pope’s ring and say something heartfelt, yet almost generic, such as asking him to pray for you, telling him you are praying for him, or thanking him for his service to the Church. However, when Pope John Paul II approached, the priest couldn’t help himself and blurted out, “Please pray for my friend.” Not only this, but the priest continued to blurt out the entire story. The Holy Father, looking concerned, assured the priest that he would pray for his friend.
Later that day, the priest received a letter from the Vatican. Excited and curious, he rushed with the letter back to the church where he last saw his classmate. Only a few beggars were left, and as luck (or grace) would have it, his friend was among the few. He approached the man and said, “I have been to see the Pope, and he said he would pray for you as well.”
The man listened.
“There’s more. He has invited you and me to his private residence for dinner.”
“Impossible,” said the man, “Look at me. I am a mess. I haven’t showered in God knows how long, and my clothes ...”
Sensing the gravity of the situation (and understanding that this man was his admission ticket to have dinner with the Pope), the priest said, “I have a hotel room across the street where you can shower and shave, and I have clothes that will fit you.”
By the grace of God, the man agreed, and so the two of them were off to have dinner with Pope John Paul II.
The hospitality was wondrous. Near the close of dinner, just before dessert, the Holy Father motioned to the priest who didn’t understand what the Pope was trying to say. Finally, the secretary explained, “He want us to leave,” at which point the priest and the secretary left the Holy Father alone with the beggar.
After fifteen minutes, the man emerged from the room in tears.
“What happened in there?” asked the priest.
The most remarkable and unexpected reply came.
“He asked me to hear his confession,” choked the beggar.
After regaining composure, the man continued, “I told him, ‘Your Holiness, look at me. I am a beggar. I am not a priest.’
“The Pope looked at me and said, ‘My son, once a priest always a priest, and who among us is not a beggar. I too come before the Lord as a beggar asking for forgiveness of my sins.’ I told him I was not in good standing with the Church, and he assured me that as the Bishop of Rome he could reinstate me then and there.”
The man then relayed that it had been so long since he had heard a confession that the Pope had to help him through the words of absolution.
The priest asked, “But you were in there for fifteen minutes. Surely the Pope’s confession did not last that long.”
“No,” said his friend, “But after I heard his confession, I asked him to hear mine.”
The final words spoken by Pope John Paul II to this prodigal son came in the form of a commission. The Holy Father gave the newly-reconciled priest his first assignment: to go and minister to the homeless and the beggars on the steps of the very church from where he just came.
The only words I can add to the incredible story are this: what a humble example we have in Pope John Paul the Great. Here is a man that was able to see not only Jesus Christ, but also the Priesthood of Christ, in the eyes of a fallen-away beggar. Not only that, but he bowed before the beggar in humility with full awareness of his own sinfulness. In doing so, the Pope gave the man the opportunity to perform the only priestly act that was immediately available to him.
As a closing remark, it is said that Pope John Paul II went to confession every week. Would that we follow this example, how many of us would be saints.