Thursday, 28 September 2006

In other news, I discover that I am enrolled with Exeter College to take evening classes in Italian. Wahey!

Further, I discover that it's been delayed for a week. Boo! Except not so very boo, as this means I can go to a chaplaincy mass this term after all. Wahey.
Football Grounds

I'm trying to list all the football grounds I've visited. This is what I've got so far:

Wednesday games

Hillsborough (Sheff Wed)
Boothferry Park (Hull)
Wembley (Rumbelows cup final vs Man Utd)
The Dell (Southampton)
Pride Park (Derby)
City Ground (Nottingham Forest)
Manor Ground (Oxford United)
Goldstone Ground (Brighton & Hove Albion)
Villa Park (Aston Villa) - notable for the Wednesday crown goading Stan Collymore continuously throughout the game, singing "Where's Ulrika gone?". Then he scored.
Turf Moor (Burnley) - Featuring the worst pie I've ever eaten
Craven Cottage (Fulham)
Fratton Park (Portsmouth)
Priestfield Stadium (Gillingham)
Edgeley Park (Stockport)
Boundary Park (Oldham)
Kenilworth Rd (Luton)
Millenium Stadium (League One playoff final vs Hartlepool)
Madjedski Stadium (Reading)
KC Stadium (Hull)

- Reserves/Friendlies

Broadfield Stadium (Crawley Town) - preseason friendly
Moss Rose (Macclesfield) - preseason friendly
Old Trafford (Man Utd) - for the reserve cup final last season

Farnborough Town

Cherrywood Road (Farnborough Town)
Kingfield (Woking)


Oakwell (Barnsley vs Brighton) - this was my first match.
Wembley (England vs Italy friendly) - I know I've already put this one down.
Finnair Stadium (Jokerit v TPS and HJK v FC Lahti)
Bramall Lane (Sheff Utd) - Emma's brass band played at half time. I think Mum and Dad took us to see Billy Graham many years ago.
Llanelian Road (Colwyn Bay vs Bradford City) - preseason friendly. For James Womack's birthday (approximately).

Total: 29

That's all I can think of at the moment. I'm sure Dad can think of some more. Note the heavy bias towards South East & London clubs. Largely because I've been to mostly home games while in Manchester (exceptions being Oldham, Stockport, Old Trafford) or Sheffield, and away games while in Farnborough/Camberley.
A countdown timer appears on James' blog. I seem to remember putting a countdown timer to Soul Calibur II on mine once.

Monday, 25 September 2006

Oh Mark you know what? I've just listened to "Something changed" by Pulp. You know what? That is the very first song you sang me. I know you don't remember with your 3 seconds memory, but it was in Cowley Bridge Road we weren't together at that time. Well, something changed, indeeeeeeeeeeeeeed!!!!!!!!!!!
I've just finished to talk with my parents on the phone. I'm so happy! This is the first time after a long time that my mum seemed like she was used to be. I don't know really how to thank God for answering my prayer. They have been on a day out yesterday and she said it was great and she had fun. It was a sunny day and they went with other people in Abruzzo. They were in the mountains, they have been in lots of small villages and they said the food was great! My mum said she ate like a pig!Which is great because she lost her appetite and lot of weight.

I'm listening to Pulp, I like them. Thank you Mark. But I have to admit I also listen to Shakira singing in Spanish sometimes, but this is only to improve my Spanish.

Today was 1st day of Welcome Week. I had the usual problems with registry and it's not sorted yet. I was a bit annoyed but this phone call really changed my mood. I don't want to think about anything else. Oh, tonight I'm also going to phone my friend, Marghe, who is a nun in a cloister up on the mountain. Oh and she is going to become an auntie soon!!! I'm not for the moment, my sister and her husband are a bit lazy! I'm using a lot of exclamation mark!

Saturday, 23 September 2006

Friday was my last day at the English Language Centre. Leaving was a bit sad. I had a good time. There have been up and down but I enjoyed meeting and helping the international students. Being a foreigner myself I identified with them a lot. When they came at reception lost and disorientated it was like seeing myself when I first arrived. I didn't have a room to sleep and the airline lost my baggage! I was really confused. When I entered my room in George House I was shocked. It was really really small, I was tired and I needed a shower, but I didn't have anything with me. Not a good start! But when I looked outside the window I could see the bell tower of a church, and that sight comforted me. Then I found a Bible in a drawer and I started reading. I remembered the words the priest told me when I had confession before leaving. He hold my hand and he looked straight into my eyes and said "Be always near God, be always close to him wherever you go, remain faithful to him." I tried my best, sometimes I failed. I used to repeat these words quite a lot during the first months in England. I didn't feel so disorientated and so lost because I didn't feel alone, I knew He was next to me in all my trials. Now it's the same, I feel a bit confused and scared. University is starting and I don't know anybody. I need to find a part time job and I've got millions of other things to do. On Friday coming back home, I sat on a bench, listening to the rustling of the leaves watching the clouds. It was so peaceful. I remembered those words and I'm not feeling so overwhelmed now.

Today is a good day. The sun is out the sky is blue!!!!But today is good because my mum had a visit to the doctor and he reduced the medications. The next visit is on December and I might be there to go along with her. There might be the chance that the doctor will suspend the treatment, that would be great! Tomorrow she is going with my dad on a day out with some other people. I 'm so happy she is feeling better, I prayed so much for her.

Last night I saw for the first time in my life a chocolate fountain! It was great! Unfortunately I had a very bad IBS attack on Tuesday and after just the sight of chocolate makes me sick. I 'm going to stop eating chocolate for a month. I want to check if these attacks are linked to it. I know it's mainly stress that causes it but maybe chocolate has something to with it. Anyway, I m not really crazy for chocolate. I'm more a pizza person. But some days you just want chocolate, only chocolate. And it's not even that I'm eating bars and bars of chocolate, just chocolate biscuits. I know it makes me scratch my legs a lot. It's not fair, not fair at all. All I ask is just a bit of chocolate when I need it, but as a wise man once told me "A moment on your lips a lifetime on your hips!" And you know, being a Mediterranean girl my hips don't need any help in that sense! So unfair! So unfair!

Tuesday, 19 September 2006

You may not be very interested, but I've altered the template a little. I've put Dave Armstrong on my blogroll, even though it's rather involved and polemical, as I like to know what he's arguing about.

I've added a link to a page containing works of G.K. Chesterton as well, a man whose work it is worth your while to read. Fact.
Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it.
Misers get up early in the morning; and burglars, I am informed, get up the night before.
It is the one great weakness of journalism as a picture of our modern existence, that it must be a picture made up entirely of exceptions. We announce on flaring posters that a man has fallen off a scaffolding. We do not announce on flaring posters that a man has not fallen off a scaffolding. Yet this latter fact is fundamentally more exciting, as indicating that that moving tower of terror and mystery, a man, is still abroad upon the earth. That the man has not fallen off a scaffolding is really more sensational; and it is also some thousand times more common. But journalism cannot reasonably be expected thus to insist upon the permanent miracles. Busy editors cannot be expected to put on their posters, "Mr. Wilkinson Still Safe," or "Mr. Jones, of Worthing, Not Dead Yet." They cannot announce the happiness of mankind at all. They cannot describe all the forks that are not stolen, or all the marriages that are not judiciously dissolved. Hence the complex picture they give of life is of necessity fallacious; they can only represent what is unusual. However democratic they may be, they are only concerned with the minority.
The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people.
Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.
It is terrible to contemplete how few politicians are hanged.
'My country, right or wrong' is a thing that no patriot would think of saying, except in a desperate case. It is like saying, 'My mother, drunk or sober'.
There is a very special sense in which materialism has more restrictions than spiritualism. Mr. McCabe thinks me a slave because I am not allowed to believe in determinism. I think Mr. McCabe a slave because he is not allowed to believe in fairies. But if we examine the two vetoes we shall see that his is really much more of a pure veto than mine. The Christian is quite free to believe that there is a considerable amount of settled order and inevitable development in the universe. But the materialist is not allowed to admit into his spotless machine the slightest speck of spiritualism or miracle. Poor Mr. McCabe is not allowed to retain even the tiniest imp, though it might be hiding in a pimpernel.
Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.
The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.
You have no business to be an unbeliever. You ought to stand for all the things these stupid people call superstitions. Come now, don't you think there's a lot in those old wives' tales about luck and charms and so on, silver bullets included? What do you say about them as a Catholic?'
'I say I'm an agnostic,' replied Father Brown, smiling.
'Nonsense,' said Aylmer impatiently. 'It's your business to believe things.'
'Well, I do believe some things, of course,' conceded Father Brown; 'and therefore, of course, I don't believe other things.'
"'Free verse'? You may as well call sleeping in a ditch 'free architecture.'"
I've searched all the parks in all the cities
And found no statues of committees.
Without education, we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously.
You can only find truth with logic if you have already found truth without it.
Got a bit carried away there. Top tip: never look at Wikiquote.

Monday, 18 September 2006

Hello there!

Google has finally stopped finding the doblog when you search for my surname. Now I can post in relative confidence that none of my students will be able to find this site. Therefore I can moan about them to my hearts content. They are not that bright anyway so probably would not have found it but never mind.

I have been at school three weeks so far (including this one) and am starting a club. Hurrah. We are going to enter a competition that involves deciphering encryptions. It looks cool. From a geeks point of view anyway. Already got a few students interested. An actual club related to Maths that does not sound boring. (and linguistics of course)

Anyway better go, tis late for a school night.

Saturday, 16 September 2006

Must Love Jaws

This is also cool.


Thursday, 14 September 2006

Forms, forms, forms! I hate filling forms! I have got a claim to submit online to the employment tribunals. I couldn't finish it. And now it seemed like it's not so worthwhile to make this claim.

Finally, after more than a month of checking the website everyday I've got a form to apply for a loan. I couldn't finish it of course. At least I've got 6 months to fill it and to get all he documents I need.
I 've got to register as a new student at the University and I can do it online. If only the web will allow me to. The web doesn't like my student number and the 4 digit code given to me. Great! Why is that? Why there is always a problem with me and technology? I'll try again tomorrow from campus and if it doesn't work I guess I have to phone or go to the IT services.
I' ve got also problems, ( more than one of course), to understand who I am. New student? Continuing student? Study Abroad Student? Returning student? The point is, if I don't register I won't be a student at all!
I've got also a Unicard form to send before Monday the 18th of September, butI don't have the form because I need a special form for Modular Degree. I 've emailed 4 different people 3 of them were on holiday the one who replied to me was completely useless. Tomorrow will be an interesting day! I can see myself running up and down for the campus.
Oh well! I did manage to do something today. I bought the tickets for the Opera. I've spoken with my parents and my mum before saying goodbye said "God bless you". I like it when she sais that. It reminds me when I was a child and she kissed me goodnight and said God bless you. She was ok tonight.
I better go to bed and try to sleep. Last night I had a night sleep after 3 nights of weaking up in the middle of the night.

Night night and God bless you all.

Sunday, 10 September 2006

Sunday 10th Sept
Went to St Martin's for the service, Dad has been Vicar there for ten years now. Saw a few people I hadn't seen in a long time like Stuart Wood. At the buffet meal afterwards ended up sitting next to the Hooper family. They have much in common with the Dobsons, lots of children, smart and a suitably warped sense of humour, great fun to have around.

The journey back to Exeter was a little worrying when the Blackwater to Reading train was late and I had to run to the Reading to Exeter train, not far at all, but I was not pleased about having to walk down most of the train to get to my seat. Thankfully most people had already sat down, so wasn't as bad as it could have been. Ended up sat at a table with a mum and her sleepy-but-won't-admit-it daughter, entertaining for me, and I suspect the mum was finding it amusing as well.

Saturday, 9 September 2006

This is me in Rivelin Valley after having slipped on my bum I managed to climb this waterfall. I was feeling a bit like Indiana Jones. This was the park where the little Dobsons used to splash around in the river with Wellington boots. ( Can you imagine a little Mark splashing around in this beautiful park? I can and I like it!)
Mark and Neil walking in the park where they used to play when they were little. It's a good park for sleighing in the snow.
This is Mark's old house. He used to be on the 1st floor and watching at the lights of the cars in the night. How romantic!
This is where my Mark learned to cycle. ( Can you imagine a little, very cute Mark,(( He has just complained that I m saying this because he's not cute anymore, how queer! My little Mark is now.... larger, he said, I say he's my love and he is beautiful molto molto bello)) cycling on this path? Oh well, I can and I love it. He has just complained about me not putting the full stop inside the brackets, how much I love him!)

I would like to thank Mark and Neil for taking me to these places. But I think I should thank Philip and Jill for raising Mark in such a lovely place. I really liked Sheffield especially the Rivelin Valley, so much that I slipped on my bum! Just to leave a signature.
And the Wheels Fell Off

My bike's poorly. Since I'm only a couple of weeks away from submitting my thesis, I was hoping to get away with not sorting it out until I've got some more free time, but it had other ideas.

It's due a service, since I'm doing over 200 miles a month on it. Last service was last year. This could wait a month or so.
The rear mudguard has always been a bit rattly, but now the attachment under the saddle tube has snapped for the second time in a year, causing the mudguard to rest on the tyre - rattling constantly when in motion. I would just remove it myself, but both screwdrivers I own are more intent on rounding screws off than turning them. This could wait, but I might kill someone in the meantime.
The rear wheel needs replacing as it's a bit bent. Again, I could fudge it; just loosening the brakes, but that's not really safe. This could wait, but again, the aggro caused by having brakes applied for a third of each wheel rotation might cause me to attack innocent bystanders.

I decided that the risk to a) my sanity and b) the general public's health warranted a swift resolution, so it's booked in for a service on Wednesday. I may be grumpy due to having to get the bus for a few days. At least the undergraduates aren't back yet.
Monday 4th Sept
Didn't do much, took it easy after Manchester.

Tuesday 5th Sept
Reminded why Tuesdays are my busiest work days, between winding, regulating and cleaning the clocks and the other little jobs, Tuesday morning disappeared rapidly. When I finished at about 2pm, I walked home, picked up the car and drove to the Clarks Village in Street.

As far back as I can remember, I've been rather hard pressed to find comfortable shoes that last for long. My feet are only size 9 1/2 but very wide at the front. I think when Clarks used letters for width I was an "I" or "J" (Normal was around "G"), so for years I've had to go up to an size 11 to get one wide enough. When you factor in that I walk almost everywhere and normally walk with most of my weight on the balls of my feet, shoes rarely last long. Mum wisely stopped buying me trainers as they were lucky to last a couple of terms, I usually go for something with thick soles and a sturdy upper, like a hiking shoe.

Eventually I found a pair of shoes in Ecco, Clarks didn't have much of a choice in the extra wide range, filmsy looking things to my eyes. On returning home I decided to put up a poster offering free car travel for a day trip to Paignton Zoo on Thursday morning.

Wednesday 6th Sept
Made a late start decided to go to Quaywest in Paignton, the website looked like a reasonable fun pool. I was a little disappointed that other than the kiddy pools and one plain pool it was just a water flume park. Not terribly impressed by the rubber ring flumes, kept being thrown off the ring in each of the splash pools along the flume. Somehow manged to tear off a bit of skin from my right "index" toe, looked pretty gruesome, but what's a holiday without some form of minor injury. :-)

Thursday 7th Sept
No one turned up for my trip to Paignton Zoo, rather disappointed, someone had taken down my poster last night, waited until 9:30 then set off, lovely fresh day, watched the baboons being fed, enjoyed the day. Even got to see an egg starting to crack, medium sized hole, something inside fluffy moving ocassionally, but an hour later no progress had been made, so I went home.

Friday 8th Sept
Didn't really fancy returning to an empty house in Camberley, so decided to travel on Saturday. Enjoyed a nice quiet day in.

Saturday 9th Sept
Set off a little later than planned, didn't feel like getting up at first, made very good time. Enjoyed the spectacle of an impatient motorist overtaking me (at exactly 70mph) only to dive in front of me and then get boxed in by a stream of other impatient motorists. Made a few stops, one service was too full to park, and the second layby I stopped in I got followed by two carloads of picnicers, who left their car doors wide open which made it hard to see gaps in the traffic behind me, grr.

Wednesday, 6 September 2006

The Intercession of the Saints pt. 2

Luke got back to me about my post with some objections, and something he said he'd have to put more thought into. They are as follows:
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling[.] - 1 Tim 2:1-6
If Jesus is our one mediator between God and men, doesn't this rule out prayer to saints?
Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed[.] - 1 Cor 15:12-19,51
If our departed brothers are described as being "asleep", doesn't it rather suggest that they are not in a position to pray for us?
Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. - 2 Peter 1:1-4
This is, I think, the part that Luke said he needed to think more about.

Well, with regards to the first scripture, I'll say what I said to Luke, which I think is a very strong argument personally - and short. If saintly intercession is an unlawful substitution for the mediation of Christ, how is intercession among the living any more licit?

It's even an odd placing for the verse to which he refers; the doctrine of Jesus' unique mediation is hemmed in with exhortations for us to pray for one another - it hardly seems to follow, but that "for" in "For [...]there is one mediator" implies that it does. I suggest that it's because "we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another." In the same way, Jesus wants men to be involved in the forgiveness which only he can give:
Jesus said to [the disciples] again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven; if you withhold forgiveness from anyone, it is withheld." - John 20:21-23
I'd also like to mention again those elders bearing the prayers of the saints in Revelation 5:8, who clearly haven't been told that they're violating Jesus' unique office.

As an interesting aside, have a quotation from the martyrdom of Polycarp, so as to see how one churchman circa 155 viewed the effect of the cultus of saints on the worship due to God:
But the evil one[...] contrived that not even a relic of him should be taken by us, though many desired to do this, and to communicate with his holy flesh.

He suborned, therefore, Nicetes, the father of Herodes, and the brother of Alce, to make interest with the governor so as not to give his body to the tomb, Lest, said he, they abandon the crucified and begin to worship this man. And these things they said at the suggestion and instance of the Jews, who also kept watch when we were about to take the body from the fire, not knowing that we shall never be able to abandon Christ, who suffered for the salvation of the whole world of those who are saved, the blameless on behalf of sinners, nor to worship any one else.
As regards the "fallen asleep" image, I think the context alone shows that it cannot casually be used as an argument for the position that the dead in Christ are not aware of us. Another two instances of the phrase occur in 1 Thessalonians 4, as well as in relation to Lazarus and to the saints who were raised after the passion of our Lord. I don't think Luke would dispute in any of these cases that the primary meaning of "fallen asleep" is as a euphemism for death. Nonetheless, it does rather suggest a restful inactivity of those who have gone before us doesn't it?

However, given how Paul uses it in the above excerpt from 1 Corinthians, I think that suggestion is as far as you could possibly take it. How is it possible that Paul intends more than a euphemism when he uses the same term for dead Christians within a hypothetical situation in which "Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile [...] you are still in your sins", and there is consequently no resurrection for anyone ever?

I also included verse 51 because, though it could of course refer to Christians in the last, last days, we do have two examples of people who didn't 'sleep':
When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, "Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you." And Elisha said, "Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me." And he said, "You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you, but if you do not see me, it shall not be so." And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it and he cried, "My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!" And he saw him no more. - 2 Kings 2:9-12
Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. - Genesis 5:24

By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. - Hebrews 11:5
If they didn't sleep in the euphemistic sense of the word, what reason is there to suppose that they are detached from our concerns now?

I hope no-one objects too much if I re-state a couple of things in brief that were in my first post:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us[.] - Hebrews 12:1
The image is of the long-dead figures of Hebrews 11 as if watching over us at the amphitheatre where we are in the 'race' to which St. Paul alludes. In fact, we're surrounded.
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, "O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" - Revelation 6:9-10
The martyrs are presented as aware of, and prayerfully engaged in, the events unfolding on the earth.
Because you did not obey the voice of the LORD and did not carry out his fierce wrath against Amalek, therefore the LORD has done this thing to you this day. - 1 Samuel 28:18
Samuel is aware of what is happening to Saul.
And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. - Matthew 17:2-3
Moses and Elijah are able to communicate with our living Lord.

I'd like to mention in passing that in one of Ed's textbooks for his Moore course, a complaint that was recorded as being made about Catholicism was that the saints were portrayed as aloof from the concerns of the everyday Christian, whereas here we have an unease about the over-involved presence of saints - as a Catholic you just can't win. We fast too much; we feast too much; we have an absurd attachment to celibacy; we have an absurd attachment to marriage; we think we know everything; we think everything's a mystery; our exegesis is too literal; our exegesis is too allegorical; we think everyone else is doomed; we don't think everyone else is doomed:
"But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates,

"'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.'

For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds." - Matthew 11:16-19
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Tuesday, 5 September 2006

Woo! Yay! I'm in the notices! Haven't had any response yet, but it may well be a little too early.

Monday, 4 September 2006

The Intercession of the Saints

Luke and I had a theological conversation one evening. This is not the kind of thing that goes on all the time. We have a swear jar, and Luke was opining that it was acting along the same lines as traditions of men. Because it was Assumption at the time, and I'd just answered his query as to what that actually meant, I thought that perhaps he was attempting to broach the touchy subject of Catholic doctrine which appears rather additional and ad hoc.

Turns out he was talking about the swear jar.

Anyway, we had a theological discussion, and Luke proposed an objection to the intercession of saints, as follows - it doesn't seem appropriate that our brothers who have gone before us should pray for us; we in the church militant naturally pray for one another, and this intercessory prayer benefits both the person praying and the prayee. However, there would appear to be no benefit for the church triumphant, so it would make more sense for the living to pray for the living.

I thought I would like to respond on da web, which is something I haven't done for a while, so here it is. I thought I'd start with the abstract, because, in this case, the abstract is rather more concrete. And after that, some verses which might point to it.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. - 1 John 4:7-12
I hope it's not controversial to say that Christian love involves praying for those who need prayer. And as the life that we have is a participation in the nature of God, who is love, I'd suggest that it's rather hard to stop the saints praying for us...
[...f]or I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Romans 8:38-39
Also that...
[...l]ove never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. - 1 Cor 13:8-12
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses," (dead) it mightn't hurt to ask them to pray for us sometimes, especially as "[t]he prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."

I might add that the idea of somebody who's perfectly placed not to bother helping anyone out and yet does so anyway, is at the heart of our gospel:
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant[.] - Philippians 2:1-7
So that's the abstract. There follow some supporting verses, none of which will not admit of a different interpretation, but just to highlight that it's not quite based on nothing.
And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. - Revelation 5:8
It's a disputed matter whether these elders are supposed to be angels or glorified Christians, but they are "clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads." cf. 2 Tim 4:8, James 1:12, 1 Pet 5:4, Rev 2:10, Rev 3:4-5, Rev 3:11, Rev 6:9-11, Rev 7:9, Rev 7:13-15. Anyway, Revelation is, to say the least, tricky to get anyone to agree on. Nonetheless, whether angels or saints, the elders are shown to be involved with the "prayers of the saints" in heaven. And that's not insignificant.
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, "O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" - Revelation 6:9-10
Well, these are clearly martyrs. Though one might consider that this is merely a request for information, I would consider such thinking rather contrary. Surely it's a just request for justice, and justice on the earth at that i.e. among the living.
Then the LORD said to me, "Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my heart would not turn toward this people. Send them out of my sight, and let them go! - Jeremiah 15:1
Yup, I know, this is pretty weak on the face of it. But there are a few things to consider with this one. Firstly, Jeremiah is speaking centuries after their earthly ministries. Also, as a prophet of God, you would expect his principal concern to be for the present and the future. To refer to Moses and Samuel in relation to the present judgment is slightly odd - but only slightly. Like I say, this is far from being a knockdown argument. But consider also that these men, who were known as powerful intercessors in Judaism (c.f. Ex 32:7-14) are also, as it happens, involved in otherworldly after-death appearances. Moses talks to Jesus at the transfiguration, and I don't expect that he was talking about the weather in heaven, but what Jesus was about to do for the whole creation. As for Samuel:
Then Saul said to his servants, "Seek out for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her." And his servants said to him, "Behold, there is a medium at En-dor."

So Saul disguised himself and put on other garments and went, he and two men with him. And they came to the woman by night. And he said, "Divine for me by a spirit and bring up for me whomever I shall name to you." The woman said to him, "Surely you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums and the necromancers from the land. Why then are you laying a trap for my life to bring about my death?" But Saul swore to her by the LORD, "As the LORD lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this thing." Then the woman said, "Whom shall I bring up for you?" He said, "Bring up Samuel for me." When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice. And the woman said to Saul, "Why have you deceived me? You are Saul." The king said to her, "Do not be afraid. What do you see?" And the woman said to Saul, "I see a god coming up out of the earth." He said to her, "What is his appearance?" And she said, "An old man is coming up, and he is wrapped in a robe." And Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground and paid homage.

Then Samuel said to Saul, "Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?" Saul answered, "I am in great distress, for the Philistines are warring against me, and God has turned away from me and answers me no more, either by prophets or by dreams. Therefore I have summoned you to tell me what I shall do." And Samuel said, "Why then do you ask me, since the LORD has turned from you and become your enemy? The LORD has done to you as he spoke by me, for the LORD has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David. Because you did not obey the voice of the LORD and did not carry out his fierce wrath against Amalek, therefore the LORD has done this thing to you this day. Moreover, the LORD will give Israel also with you into the hand of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons shall be with me. The LORD will give the army of Israel also into the hand of the Philistines."
Sorry it's a bit of a long quote, especially as it's providing back-up for what is arguably the weakest point I've made. It's only so I can highlight a couple of things. As we know, necromancy is not cool, so I thought I'd just highlight the fact that this appears to be an exception, and as such isn't too dodgy to be considered as something to draw doctrine from. Firstly, it's obvious from the woman's reaction that this isn't what she was expecting - that it happened is an evidence that it is permitted by God, though it is of those exceptions-that-prove-the-rule. I mean, instead of the friendly advice he was hoping for, he gets a prophecy of his death, along with his sons, from a rather put-out sounding old man. And please bear in mind that true prophecy is from God.

Well, I think that's about it. By the way, this is largley cribbed from Dave Armstrong's A Biblical Defense of Catholicism which I have. Dave has quite a few books out; he comes on too strong to my mind, but he puts in a lot of exegetical effort, so kudos to him. He also has blog, which isn't on my blogroll, but is on the sidebar: Cor ad cor loquitur - Heart speak to heart.

Unfortunately, I've forgotten anything interesting that I might have said about the occasion when all my brothers visited me. It was good though.
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Sunday, 3 September 2006

Thursday, 31st August.
A nice quiet morning in, a chat with my support worker in the early afternoon, a nice trip up the M5 and M6 with Mark and Monica, then we try to get into Manchester. Attempted to follow the directions given to us, but somehow ended up going the wrong way repeatedly, I blame the signposting. Thanks to some great navigation from Mark we ended up on the right road in the end. Arrived a little before midnight, unloaded car and fell asleep.

Friday, 1st September.
Headed out to Sheffield, made a slight mistake and ended up entering Sheffield through Grenoside rather than Hillsborough, but since I intended to go there first anyway, no problem, and the route was almost as scenic, Monica's squeak of delight when she first saw the purple heather was well worth the detour. I parked in the Genoside (sorry Grenoside) community centre car park and walked around past St Mark's, which was locked, the little shop near it has been rebuilt as a new house. Grenoside Junior School appears to have been completely rebuilt since either Mark or me last saw it, the infants school appear much the same. Walked through the playing field, talked about the nighttime view of the streetlights, the fun with snow in winter, including sledging. Looped past out old house, Monica was a little shocked to hear about us hitting each other with the beanbags in the cellar playroom. Weren't allowed to use the community centre toilets, so drove down to where the bowling alley used to be, and then to Hillsborough leisure centre to use their toilets. Pointed out the Sheffield Wednesday Stadium to Monica in passing.

Drove through Hillsborough, and uphill past where Adrian used to live and up through Walkley to Crookes, past our old dentist, along Mulehouse Road on the way to Forres Road, and then went past Lygate First School and Lygate Middle School (both renamed to Infant and Junior), mentioned Mrs Reeny's Magic Show. Continued through Crosspool, past Mushroom Lane and Weston Park Museum and Hospital, past the University and then found a multi-story car park near The Moor.
Got out walked to the Peace Gardens (yes, I know they're called the "Millennium Gardens" now). The fountain had small children running through it in swimming outfits, went into the Winter Gardens and past them to look in one of my favourite childhood places, the Children's Library, the mural on the stairs hasn't changed a bit. Tried to find somewhere for lunch, ended up eating in a restaurant \ bar near the former "hole in the road" roundabout, took Monica and Mark to see the "Steelworker" brick art, and then escorted them to the Anglican Cathedral, and the Roman Catholic Cathedral.

Decided to go back via St Thomas's Church in Crookes and Rivelin Valley, the weather turned sunny again and we really enjoyed the combination of nostalgia and nature walk, Mark was the only one not to slip, but no one got wet, headed back to Manchester over the Snake Pass, Monica loved the scenery, can't blame her myself, felt a little peeved that I couldn't really take a good look while driving.

I was tired at the end of the day, but happy with it, there's always something special about your first hometown, especially when it's as great as Sheffield!

Saturday, 2nd September.
I felt too tired to drive for another trip to Sheffield, especially as we'd covered just about everything of interest to us; but Mark and Monica were more than happy enough to look around Manchester. I decided to stay at Adrian's house and watched "March of the Penguins", went out for lunch and enjoyed a quiet day in. Mark and Monica went to Mass in the evening, I learned that in the Roman Catholic church the Sabbath Day starts at sunset on the preceding day. Must say I was relieved, I thought we wouldn't be able to set off until after the morning service.

Sunday, 3rd September.
Long drive, more traffic than expected, good speed, rather warm and muggy. Ran out of eloquence about now.

My plans for next week include a possible trip to Paighton Zoo, and the Clarks Shoe Village in Street, Exeter doesn't appear to cater for shoes in extra, extra wide. Thinking of advertising for free travel to Paighton Zoo within Mortimer House, they can pay the admission charge though.

Saturday, 2 September 2006