Wednesday, August 31, 2011

William Langland & Other Musings.

I gave a copy of Piers the Ploughman to a friend recently and was amazed to discover that it struck a chord.  I discovered it in my mid teens and read it avidly finding a lot of Langland's observations of Medieval English life not so very different from modern life.  It came as a surprise to discover that the Church found the book subversive with possible hints of Lollard and later Protestant sympathies!  Maybe I could relate to the theological allegory but didn't grasp the social satire!  (I can't believe that I was that unsophisticated.)  I did, however, understand Langland's quest for a true Christian Life within the context of his times because that is as relevant for us today as it was for him.  I have had the Penguin translation ever since I lashed out 3/6d for it and it still reads well.

The 29th August was my late Grandmother's birthday.  She was always amused at being born on the Feast of the Beheading of St John the Baptist.  She must be delighted that it hasn't been changed.

Just about everything that was popular then seems to have vanished.  The Imitation of Christ by St Thomas a Kempis was often quoted and many of the mystics were popular, The Cloud of Unknowing, St John of the Cross, the Great Theresa and many more.  Was it part of the Long Search in the 1960's?   Interesting that whilst the young were looking for some spiritual experience the Church was busy throwing out much of the mystery!

On Friday the Church in  England & Wales returns to the old form of abstinence from flesh meat...or so the Bishops hope.  I'm ambivalent towards it, half of me applauds and the other half knows you can't put the clock back so why try?

It does seem to me that Catholics are becoming more self confident and that's a good thing.  The Church has one big thing in its favour, that there is no social cache in being Catholic so no-one wants to convert for social reasons!   I went to a talk at a fashionable Anglican Church recently and being Catholic I was definitely socially disadvantaged!

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