Sunday, 24 December 2017


This was the moment when Before
Turned into After, and the future's
Uninvented timekeepers presented arms.
This was the moment when nothing
Happened. Only dull peace
Sprawled boringly over the earth.
This was the moment when even energetic Romans
Could find nothing better to do
Than counting heads in remote provinces.
And this was the moment
When a few farm workers and three
Members of an obscure Persian sect.
Walked haphazard by starlight straight
Into the kingdom of heaven.


Friday, 8 December 2017

God beyond all names

Just back from a marvellous Advent Triduum at the Kairos Center in South London, so many thanks to Sisters Agnes, Breda and Rose and their wonderful team.  Posting this because it is always played at Mass on the last day and can always reduce me to tears.  Sung by the marvellous Bernadette Farrell.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Hope beyond darkness

In rode the Lord of the Nazgul. A great black shape against the fires beyond he loomed up, grown to a vast menace of despair. In rode the Lord of the Nazgul, under the archway that no enemy ever yet had passed, and all fled before his face.

All save one. There waiting, silent and still in the space before the Gate, sat Gandalf upon Shadowfax: Shadowfax who alone among the free horses of the earth endured the terror, unmoving, steadfast as a graven image in Rath Dinen.

'You cannot enter here,' said Gandalf, and the huge shadow halted. 'Go back to the abyss prepared for you! Go back! Fall into the nothingness that awaits you and your Master. Go!'

The Black Rider flung back his hood, and behold! he had a kingly crown; and yet upon no head visible was it set. The red fires shone between it and the mantled shoulders vast and dark. From a mouth unseen there came a deadly laughter.

'Old fool!" he said. 'Old fool! This is my hour. Do you not know Death when you see it? Die now and curse in vain!' And with that he lifted high his sword and flames ran down the blade.

Gandalf did not move. And in that very moment, away behind in some courtyard of the City, a cock crowed. Shrill and clear he crowed, recking nothing of wizardry or war, welcoming only the morning that in the sky far above the shadows of death was coming with the dawn.

And as if in answer there came from far away another note. Horns, horns, horns. In the dark Mindolluin's sides they dimly echoed. great horns of the North wildly blowing. Rohan had come at last."

Chapter IV: The Siege of Gondor, The Return of the King

Thursday, 12 October 2017


Every idiot alive is on the roads today
Grey drizzle streaks the windows.  That windscreen wiper scrapes and squeaks
Going to be late.  My gritted teeth are giving me a headache.
I pull into the car park.  My colleague taps the window.
"I'll make coffee" she says.
"Haven't time." I growl.  She shakes her head at me and laughs.
"Two sugars in yours," she quips and walks away.
I mutter under my breath, stare at my phone.
A number starts to dial itself under my fingers. 
I nearly stop it...and then I don't.
A ring, two rings, three.
"It'll be the answerphone," I grumble, cradling the phone.
And then it isn't.  And my friend is in the car with me.
We don't say much.  Never do, really.
He makes a joke, I laugh.  Asks about my husband, mother, son.
We say - again - we must meet.  Try to not make it so long.
I ask about a mutual friend - the news not good.
We hold each other invisibly for a minute - a hug of many miles.
He says something kind, we both smile.  Say our goodbyes. Hang up.
Actually - it's not raining any more, is it?
My headache seems to have trickled away with the rain.
And I'm not truly late
I lock the car, walk into work.
That coffee she's made smells really good.

Words copyright Sister Tiberia 2017

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Eternal and unchanging.....?

Or is it?

Just found this article again on the Wayback Machine - I thought it had gone completely.  A fascinating read for those who think the Roman Catholic Church has never altered its teaching on anything... non-infalibility

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Conversation between the Seven Deadlies

Wrote this particular bit of silliness a couple of years ago,  Definitely not to be taken seriously :)

Conversation Between The Seven Deadlies

"She's going on retreat again?"
"Yes boss."
Pride buried his head in his hands and looked through his interlinked fingers at the messenger.  "Now, tell me, Sloth, after last year's fiasco, didn't I give you the job of making sure she put off actually booking it until it was too late?"
"Hey, that wasn't my fault, boss.  I did make sure she put off booking it last year.  Those bloody nuns contacted her and said a space had come up.  I'd been working so hard on making her put off booking a retreat anywhere else and then they spoiled everything."
"Well, no use crying over spilt milk.  But it does make her significantly harder to handle for months after she comes back."
Envy looked over at Pride.  "How about trying for a good dose of Spiritual Pride this time?  That's always good for a laugh."
Pride grimaced.  "Tried that on her before.  It almost worked."
"Retreat director was too good.  It got nipped in the bud."
Pride was clearly annoyed and Envy tactfully changed the subject.  "Well, we know it's a waste of time trying for Lust.  She's middle aged, married, busy job and has a kid.  Sloth is going to win over Lust every time.  I don't think it even counts as Sloth if she's too damn tired to do anything but fall into bed and sleep when she gets home at night.  Lust gave up on her years ago.  Said he was even getting bored with playing mind games to stop her noticing all the other sins and having hysterics about that one."
"I thought that always worked on Catholics."
"Used to work on her too.  But not these days."
"Guess that leaves Anger as the tried and tested first line of attack."
Anger looked sulky.  "Why do you all dump this on me all the time?"
Lust batted his eyelashes at Anger.  "Because you're so good at it?"
"Yes, but she's a depressive.  There's no real fun in getting them angry.  She flares up and then calms down again, then she gets depressed about it.  Used to at least manage to get her to be horrible to a few people before she calmed down, but these days that isn't working too well either."
"Was that after the first retreat?"
"Yes.  She carries this wretched stone with her.  Retreat director told her to keep it with her as a reminder that there were better ways to deal with things than throw stones.  She's still got the stupid thing."
"So she's carried it for three years and you haven't managed to get her to throw it at anyone yet?"
"Anger, you're losing your touch."
Anger growled at Lust.  "Anyway, Pride's isn't getting away with passing all the blame to the rest of us.  He managed the biggest mess of the lot, this year."
Gluttony looked curious.  "How so?"
Anger gave Gluttony a saccharine smile.  "Because she noticed he was there."
Greed blinked.  "She did?  I thought Pride was the one nobody ever recognised?"
Anger turned to Greed. "Another good retreat director had a chat with her."
"Those buggers have a lot to answer for."
Pride picked up a notebook.  "Anyway, time to stop the arguments and get a plan in place.  Greed, you've already given me a couple of ideas to work on.  Gluttony, you're a waste of space.  We aren't solving this one by trying to get her to take second helpings of chocolate cake.  We need something that'll affect everyone round her, not just her."
Envy nodded.  "That was where Pride and Anger had a good double act going for years.  Pride set her up, then when her pride got injured, Anger had a field day with it.  Then for the first time she actually mentioned Pride and Anger in confession, and said she thought all her other sins started there."
Anger kicked a chair leg moodily.  "She was right, of course.  But people aren't supposed to see that.  We've done a great job getting people to have hysterics over Lust but never notice me or Pride.  Bloody C. S. Lewis.  Anyone who reads his books starts to work this out.  If they get as far as reading Mere Christianity, he spells it all out for them in words of one syllable."
Pride tossed the notebook onto the table.  "Right, you've all got till October to come up with something.  I'll keep pushing the Spiritual Pride angle till then and hope some of it sticks.  Anger, you at least try to stop her apologising when she loses her temper, it undoes all the good work.  Greed and Gluttony, if you can't help with this then stop looking superior."
He looked wistful.  "I wish she'd never done that first retreat.  It feels like it's all gone downhill ever since."

Copyright Sister Tiberia 2015

Saturday, 8 July 2017


I put quotes here often from things I have read.  Sometimes from surprising sources.  This comes from "Raiders of Gor", the sixth book in the Chronicles of Counter-Earth.  It was a very long sci-fi series and some of the books, especially the later ones, were seriously awful.  But there was the occasional gem.

"There was only one last obstacle," said Samos, "and neither of you, even now, fully understand it."

"What is that?" I asked.

"Your pride," he said. "that of both of you." 

He smiled. "When you lost your images of yourselves, and learned your humanity, in your diverse ways, and shame, you abandoned your myths, your songs, and would accept only the meat of animals, as though one so lofty as yourself must be either Priest-King or beast. Your pride demanded either the perfection of the myth or the perfection of its most villainous renunciation. If you were not the highest, you would be nothing less than the worse; if there was not the myth there was to be nothing." 

Samos now spoke softly. "there is something," he said, "between the fancies of poets and the biting, and the rooting and sniffing of beasts."

"What?" I asked.

"Man," he said.

John Norman - Raiders of Gor