Christmas

Black ink sketch of a scribe in a busy library setting
Delving once more into the amazing treasure trove that is the Blandyke Papers (for information on the origins of this remarkable resource see our 2014 Christmas blog post) we wish to share the beginning of the editorial message of the 1928 Christmas number of the Blandyke Papers, which reads:It is our pleasant duty at this season of high festivity to offer to all and sundry the age-old greeting of a merry and a joyous Christmastide. We make no pretence of saying something new. However ambitious...
Journeying with the Magi: Advent Retreat 2015
The Advent Retreat offered by Pray As You Go and Sacred Space has prompted a wave of appreciative messages from across the world.A joint initiative by the Jesuits of Britain and Ireland, the retreat provided weekly reflections during the Advent and Christmas season and participants from as far away as Canada and India, the USA and Germany – as well as the UK and Ireland – have written to say how much they have appreciated the opportunity to reflect on the Christmas story of the Magi (or Wise...
Sun breaking through the clouds
If you have problems with prayer, read on. The God we imagine and then try to meet in prayer is generally thought of as pretty lifeless, dull, flat, colourless, genderless, sexless and lacking in humour, creativity and understanding. We feel that our friends and our distractions are more interesting and life giving than God. We would rather spend time with our friends and our amusements and interests than with God, rather take our chances with them than with God. That is understandable, given...
Painting of snow covered village
The personal papers of Fr Leslie Ignatius Walker contain some of the Archives’ most treasured items, particularly his sketch books. Among his records are his personal diaries, the majority of which belong to his teenage years. These give a delightful insight into the life of a school boy during the late 19th century. Among the most charming are the entries for Christmas day, in which he often lists what he and his family received.Christmas Day 1889:Rose early at 5-30 but got in to bed...
crib with crocodile
It was childish, I know, but…Many moons ago I worked in an office where the construction of a small, simple crib, placed on a narrow mantle-piece, was one of the marks of the upcoming Christmas. It was a traditional scene – Mary, Joseph, the Baby Jesus etc… You can probably visualise the regular cast of characters.But somewhere in its journey this particular crib had become home to a small plastic crocodile. The Crocodile – a small toy – had its origins in some long-forgotten game or display,...
The 1751 manuscript at Stonyhurst College
As Christmas approaches, many choirs and congregations will be singing ‘O Come, all ye faithful’ or its original Latin version ‘Adeste Fideles’. The origins of the hymn have been attributed to various groups and individuals; but both the original Latin and the English translation have strong Jesuit links.Some musical historians credit St Bonaventure with writing the hymn in the 13th century; others say King John IV of Portugal was the author in the 17th century. Various monks including the...
The Holy Family
Our series exploring Jesus’s family tree concludes with a study of those closest to him: Mary and Joseph. Anthony Towey wonders how the ‘greatest story ever told’ has acquired such a peaceful gloss, when in fact it is riddled with disturbance and uncertainty.  For the Feast of the Holy Family, we turn our gaze to two new parents and try to capture the faith, hope and love that sustained them in their turmoil. From a very young age, Mary, Joseph and Jesus were held up...
Christmas Day in beautiful red calligraphy with a little gold star
  The 1914 Christmas edition of the Blandyke Papers in our Jesuits in Britain Archives are full of inspiring images and reflections for the Christmas season.  Click on the images to enlarge them.             Origin of the Blandyke PapersThe first issue of the Blandyke Papers was published on 8th January 1889 at St Mary’s Hall, Stonyhurst, Lancashire. The Hall was built as a Jesuit seminary in 1828 and...
A cartoon of a group of people
Christmas marked the fulfilment of the Hebrew scripture with the arrival of the Messiah, the Christ child. The Feast of the Epiphany shows us Christ presented to the world. In the child Jesus, God came to share in our humanity so that we might share in his divinity. When God became human he met us in a real, authentic way. This is still where we find God today, in our common humanity. Our humanity has become God’s home. It follows that our tendency to protect ourselves by making...

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