At a Mass celebrated this morning in Lancashire, at Stonyhurst College – at the conclusion of a two and a half day Mission – there were prayers for the people of Paris who have suffered so grievously over these past twenty four hours. The Mass was celebrated by a former student at the College, Fr.Philip Endean SJ, who lives in Paris, where he teaches. He spoke movingly and poignantly about the suffering which had been inflicted – and he prayed for new initiatives to stem the flow of hatred and division. The Mass was celebrated on a beautiful new altar, recently donated by the Weld-Blundell family and installed in the church of St.Peter. It had been made in Paris, in the nineteenth century, for an American widow who lived in Paris. On its frontispiece are French saints King St.Louis, King of France and his mother, St.Blanche of Castile. In the centre is Christ, crowned with thorns. The widow had chosen St.Louis and St.Blanche because they were associated with Sainte Chapelle and the Crown of Thorns. This seemed a remarkably poignant place to show solidarity with the suffering people of Paris where so many French families are today experiencing their own crown of thorns.
Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice.
Let Your ears be attentive to my voice in supplication.
If You, O Lord, mark iniquities, Lord, who can stand?
But with You is forgiveness, that You may be revered.
I trust in the Lord; my soul trusts in His word.
My soul waits for the Lord more than sentinels wait for the dawn.
More than sentinels wait for the dawn, let Israel wait for the Lord,
For with the Lord is kindness and with Him is plenteous redemption;
And He will redeem Israel from all their iniquities.
“Humankind cannot bear very much reality” – T.S. Eliot: Four Quartets.