Monday, 11 April 2011

Nearer God's Heart

There are gardens, and gardens. The one next door to us is a constant source of interest to passers-by, especially children. Our neighbour Brian puts huge effort into providing interest and amusement, creating windmills and caravans and houses, and populating them with plaster animals and Disney characters. Always something new at Number 3.

Brian's Front Garden

By contrast, ours is what I'd call a plantsman's garden; at present, mostly contrasts in foliage, as the daffodils and magnolias are going over, and only a few tulips are out in pots to liven things up. And this garden rarely gets a passing glance.

Our front Garden

Contemplating these two very different front gardens, I'm put in mind of the strong views being expressed in the Catholic Church just now over the Mass. There are those who are delighted that the Latin Mass seems to be regaining ground, and others who find the whole prospect of anything but simple English quite daunting. Along with these two views go similarly polarised opinions about music; Gregorian Chant, over against Estelle White and "Jesus, How I Love You"...

The fence by our Drive

Now there is a concern about the rite to be specifically for the Ordinariates. Will it be gnomes and Disney, or varieties of Hostas and Capability Brown? We understand Mgr Burnham is in the driving seat producing a rite which will, surely, include a hint of Cranmer and a dash of the Caroline Divines. His own first Mass as a Catholic Priest was, we are told, in Latin. But what a task! How can you meet the needs of those who love the Celebration Hymnal and those who are wedded to Plainchant. Certainly those working on our own version of a "book of divine worship" need the wisdom of Solomon, the patience of Job, and the prayers of us all.

"One is nearer God's heart in a garden" ... but what sort of garden did Dorothy Gurney cultivate, who wrote that line?


  1. Hi Father Edwin. Your garden looks lovely by the way; very healthy! My first Sussex garden is coming to terms with the havoc wreaked by my first Sussex winter. But there are now hopeful green shoots and various pretty things I don't recall planting poking through! I know there's an old saying that "More grows in the garden than the gardener sows." I think that's fairly true of the situation with the Mass at the moment. I suppose we all knew there would have to be further tweakings and re-specifications for the Ordinariate.
    Thanks to convent schooling and a Dad who had nearly been a Benedictine monk, I love the Latin Mass and Gregorian chant. Yet growing up in London with friends of various denominations and faiths, I also like the inclusion and simplicity of the Novus Ordo.
    I'm sure there will be a lot of pruning and far too many experts and unpredictable weather! Personally, I think well groomed herbaceous borders are the perfect contrasting accompaniment to quaintness and charm :)

  2. Not quite right about the first Mass being in Latin: bearing in mind that the first Mass is a constant point of reference thereafter, I did my best to honour the context (Sung Mass at the Oratory) and Sacrosanctum Concilium properly implemented: thus the Ordinary was in Latin, as was the Liturgy of the Eucharist (though Novus Ordo)but the Liturgy of the Word was in English.