Sunday, February 22, 2009

Our Lady of Willesden

Our Lady of Willesden
Originally uploaded by simon_white
"Willesden might seem an unlikely place to find a shrine to Our Lady. In fact, when we think of shrines and pilgrimages, we tend to think of long, often expensive journeys and exotic locations like Fatima, Loreto or Guadalupe. Yet for centuries Our Lady has been honoured at sanc-tuaries much closer to home. Situated in one of London’s most multi-cultural areas, right on the edge of Central London, the shrine of Our Lady of Willesden is a veritable ‘sign of contradiction’ and a powerful witness to the Christian Faith in the Third Millennium." (Link)

Fascinating history and links to St Thomas More and more recent annual pilgrims including the founder of Opus Dei, who only died in 1975 but is already a saint - clearly a mover and shaker. It's marvellous to have these shrines - there is something touching in faith (with a small f), the fearfulness and helplessness of infants who rely utterly and without any reason on whoever and whatever is to hand.

The things we're called on to believe - miracles and dictats from the Pope - are coming to seem as preposterous as the Greek myths, however. It all seems to have been built upon ignorance and superstition. We're losing sight of real miracles in a welter of the obsolete, unregenerate and hidebound. We are separated from the miraculous by the very institutions that claim to aver it. I am thinking about the miracle of life itself, for example.

I think the churches need "to give up their riches", to sweep away pomp and pontification. What happened to the two laws! Even Luther wanted 95 things. Jesus of Nazareth only decreed two, no? I don't know. It's only one opinion. At one time I would have been tortured and executed for not conforming to the prevailing church's dogma in this country. In states controlled by clerics, such as Iran, people still are.


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