Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Carnage in Jerusalem

Scenes in Jerusalem. Four men hacked down in a synagogue in west Jerusalem by Palestinian extremists. Israeli forces rush to the scene.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Saint Teresa walks among the saucepans

Back in Avila after 22 years: was there last in 1982 to cover Pope John Paul 11's visit and an outdoor mass at nearby town Alba de Tormes. Saint Teresa's uncorrupted arm is preserved in one of the churches there.
In the spirit of pilgrimage - and having seen St Anthony's teeth in Padua, Italy, earlier this year - was determined to see another sacred relic - Saint Teresa's finger in Avila. Remembered in 1982 being told by a very senior correspondent (the Vatican correspondent no less) before I left the office to say the following words to Saint Teresa when I arrived: 'Saint Teresa, you walk among the saucepans'.
The finger is too gruesome to merit a photo on the blog - somehow the more disturbing because it is on display in a gift shop, by the monastery, rather than in a sacred place.
There too is Saint Teresa's flagellation rope.
So almost left without recapturing the spirit of that adventure in 1982 - until I saw the menu at the Parador.
Saint Teresa ' among the pots and pans (entre los pucheros)' . God walks among the saucepans.

From Christ to Judas

A poster at Madrid airport reminded me of a favourite story - told often in sermons (around Easter) by the former vicar of Crowan. Of how we may have the face we deserve: the choice is ours.
A renowned painter in Renaissance Italy was commissioned to paint a picture of Christ, the man. He searched the streets of his city - Florence or Rome or Siena - and found the perfect model, a handsome man with nobility etched in every feature.
The painting was a huge success and widely acclaimed.
A few years later the same painter was asked to paint a picture of Judas. Again, he searched the streets of the city and found the perfect model: a man with a face that betrayed his true nature - corrupt, evil and weak.
The artist asked the model to his studio - then to his surprise, the model said 'Don't you remember me? I am the man who was the model for your Christ painting years ago."
Do we have the face we deserve?

City walls: Avila, Spain, and Jerusalem

Thursday, 13 November 2014

El Pobre Jesus

A personal pilgrimage in Madrid to El Pobre Jesus. They parade this statue (with real human hair) along the streets at Easter. I used to live on the route.

Reading and watching

  • Foot by Foot to Santiago de Compostela/Judy Foot
  • The Testament of Mary with Fiona Shaw at the Barbican
  • The Testament of Mary/Colm Toibin
  • Schwanengesang/Schubert - Tony Spence
  • Journals/Robert Falcon Scott
  • Fugitive Pieces/Ann Michaels
  • Unless/Carol Shields
  • Faust/Royal Opera House
  • The Art of Travel/Alain de Botton
  • Mad Men Series 6
  • A Week at The Airport/Alain de Botton
  • The Railway Man/Eric Lomax
  • Bright Lights, Big City/Jay McInerney
  • Stones of Venice/John Ruskin
  • The Sea, the Sea/Iris Murdoch
  • Childe Harold/Lord Byron
  • All The Pretty Horses/Cormac McCarthy
  • Extreme Rambling/Mark Thomas
  • Story of my Life/Jay McInerney
  • Venice Observed/Mary McCarthy