October 2016

An elder was once asked,

"What is a compassionate heart?"

He replied, "It is a heart on fire for the whole of creation,

for humanity, for animals, for demons and all that exists ...

At the recollection and at the sight of them,

such a person’s eyes overflow with tears ...

as a result of his deep mercy, his heart shrinks

and cannot bear to look ... at the slightest injury

of anything in creation.

He even prays for the reptiles

as a result of the great compassion

which is poured out beyond measure

- after the likeness of God -

in his heart.

Saint Isaac of Nineveh

Photographer: Tim Gainey


The horse-chestnut trees in Curzon Park

are dropping their shining brown conkers.

Their protective cases often break open

when they touch the hard reality of the paving stones.

Each mature seed has grown inside a womb-like

enclosure of soft white lining,

and is protected by a spiky outside cover.

Young grey squirrels try to eat the conkers

but are repelled by their bitter taste and bury them.

Yet many conkers survive .

Do young children still play ‘conkers’?


Wikipedia supplies the answer.

"CONKERS is a traditional children’s game

in Britain and Ireland using the seeds of

horse-chestnut trees - the name ‘conker’ is also applied

to the seed and to the tree itself."


Another note from the Inter-net contains more interesting information:

"Horse-chestnut trees were introduced to Britain in the 1600‘s ....

Its conkers used to be ground up and fed to horses

to relieve them of coughs, and could be the origin

of the tree’s name."

2013 Horse-Chestnut

The wind has ceased but the rain has come.

I go out very early in the morning to feed Murphy and the birds.

I now use a torch to avoid stepping on snails

as they return in the dark to their day-time shelter.

From childhood onwards I have loved snails -

perhaps because they carry their homes with them?

For some days I have been looking at a tall rose bush -

many leaves on one stalk had been eaten

but the buds opened as perfect flowers.

Could that be a parable for us ......?

Yellow rose October 2016


Today - 5th October - we had the following reading from

the Gospel according to Luke:

"Once Jesus was in a certain place praying,

and when he had finished, one of his disciples said,

‘ Lord, teach us to pray ....’

He said to them, "Say this when you pray:

Father, may your name be held holy,

your kingdom come;

give us each day our daily bread,

and forgive us our sins,

for we ourselves forgive each one who is in debt to us.

And do not put us to the test."

Luke 11:1-4

From the CTS DAILY MISSAL 2012


The Lord’s Prayer in St. Matthew’s Gospel,

which is used daily in the liturgy, is more complex

but is prayed, perhaps, with less attention.


Perhaps what is of more significance is that the prayer request

is for EACH DAY, NOW, and not for the future.

Each day has its own blessing, as well as our need for forgiveness.


14th October

I have been picking the eating apples

from the trees in the meadow this week.

They are much appreciated. Some are extremely large.

The occasional outward blemish is superficial,

while the corruption of decay is usually hidden away.

These apples have external faults but no internal ones !

( I think some of our character blemishes may be equally superficial...)

The birds have made some lovely apple sculptures again

from those which fell to the ground elsewhere...

Here is one from last year

The wild boar !


Autumn is slowly coming and some leaves are falling.

The badgers have returned,

digging shallow holes, seeking for worms.

The weather has not been good for gardening

but I still tend the roses by dead-heading them.

This encourages new growth and rose buds form and blossom.

I suppose this could also be another parable for us !


16th October

It is raining again and the cats remain indoors.

I have been reading part of a paper about

the differences of belief in various Christian sects

which makes me feel sad. Do we not all have the same origin ?


At Mass today the celebrant spoke about the Holy Spirit.

I have always loved the creative power of God

as described in Genesis 1:1-2

" In the beginning God created heaven and earth.

Now the earth was a formless void,

there was darkness over the deep,

with a divine wind sweeping over the waters."

Nowadays scientists know so much more,

and turn their attention to outer space.

But the mysteriousness of our coming into being remains.


20th October

After several days and nights of lashing rain,

with sporadic glimmers of sunshine,

we awoke to a dry morning. But the birds no longer sing.


The last week of October is once again the time for visitors.

It used to be half-term in schools and, when they could,

parents would take their children on visits to friends.

It seems that in the present day the children may decide otherwise,

and the family group is then fragmented.

Society has changed greatly in the last few decades.


Autumn has become more visible.

Strong winds have helped leaves to fall,

and then swept them off the drive into the bushes.

The Japanese anemones have blossomed

and now their long seed-headed stalks need to be cut back.

I noticed one verse of a hymn this morning

which seems appropriate for this season:

Lord God and Maker of all things,

Creation is upheld by you.

While all must change and know decay,

You are unchanging, always new....


Friends from long ago are visiting us.

Those whom we first met when they were children

now have adult children of their own -

who may soon have their own offspring...

and so the generations come and grow !

Our front door


The welcoming arms of autumn