I recently suffered a major health crisis which scared the bejeepers out of me. My colleagues rallied round and I was soon on the mend. My physical ill-health mirrored my spiritual ill-being. To be honest, I was in a bit of an overall mess, but I then found myself with a whole week of free time to spare. This is how I spent it.
With my wife’s blessing I drove to London to stay with a friend from schooldays. He is now a parish priest, and he has a little apartment in his presbytery in which I shacked up for the duration. Suddenly, I was in the continuous company of both a wise and lovable pastor, and also the Blessed Sacrament.
My spiritual health immediately began to improve. I first made a good Confession, and then received Holy Communion at the Friday evening Mass.
My host then fed me with a rake of seafood pasta-he’s an excellent cook too. After my illness and the long drive, I was exhausted and went to bed early to sleep like one of the just. Remarkably, I had no bad dreams that night, at all.
The next morning, after Mass, I headed up into town to join the “March for Life”, which first assembled near Holborn and then proceeded through Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square, and Whitehall, before reassembling at Parliament Square. It is hard to gauge numbers but estimates of 1200-4000 were later bandied about. What is certain is that central London was choked up by the passing of our ruly joyful mob for about three quarters of an hour.
I took some video shots on my phone but also listened to and watched the reactions of people in the street. They were mostly genuinely interested, but I did hear some naysayers speaking with coarse and nasty voices.
“How dare they bring little children on a political demonstration like this….”
“…As if there weren’t enough bloody people on the planet already…”
(Those are the most printable comments at least).
At Parliament Square we were treated to a counter demonstration of perhaps 50 shrill and silly young women with unnaturally coloured hair (mostly) chanting vicious nonsense anti-life slogans. We easily overwhelmed them with our goodwill and non-combativeness. Our spirit was just too strong. Staring agape at them, I remarked to the guy next to me that there seemed to be more children on our side than theirs. It made him laugh.
Then there were some speeches to be made, but I had to retire from the melee as I was fatigued and dehydrated by the burning sunshine, and had also promised to meet my youngest son in Oxford for a burger and some shandy. Train and car got me there eventually.
To be continued…
WordPress won’t let me upload my video so here is a link to the short movie: