'This noble and elegant site
is both a tribute to a family's
history, and to a national
heritage.' -Daniel J. Cassidy
Swifter far than summer's flight --
Swifter far than youth's delight --
Swifter far than happy night,
Art thou come and gone --
As the earth when leaves are dead,
As the night when sleep is sped,
As the heart when joy is fled,
I am left lone, alone.
Percy Bysshe Shelley
'The Last Walk' by Greg Benton, 2010
Let us then move
in discharge of
our mission and
and nothing else.
Sir Winston Churchill
Stanmer Churchyard, Sussex
In the midst of life we are in death:
of whom may we seek for succour,
but of thee, O Lord, who for our sins
art justly displeased?
Yet, O Lord God most holy,
O Lord most mighty, O holy and
most merciful Saviour, deliver us not
into the bitter pains of eternal death.
Burial Office, The Book of Common Prayer
Dixi, custodiam. Psalm xxxix.
LORD, let me know mine end,
and the number of my days; *
that I may be certified
how long I have to live.
Behold, thou hast made my
days as it were a span long,
and mine age is even as
nothing in respect of thee; *
and verily every man living
is altogether vanity.
For man walketh in a vain
shadow, and disquieteth
himself in vain; * he heapeth
up riches, and cannot tell
who shall gather them.
And now, Lord, what is my
hope? * truly my hope is even
Deliver me from all mine
offences; * and make me not
a rebuke unto the foolish.
When thou with rebukes dost
chasten man for sin, thou
makest his beauty to consume
away, like as it were a moth
fretting a garment: *
every man therefore is but
Hear my prayer, O Lord,
and with thine ears consider
my calling; * hold not thy
peace at my tears;
For I am a stranger with thee,
and a sojourner, * as all my
O spare me a little, that I
may recover my strength, *
before I go hence, and be no
JESUS said, Let not your
heart be troubled: ye believe
believe also in me. In my
Father's house are many
if it were not so, I would have
told you. I go to prepare a
place for you.
And if I go and prepare a
place for you, I will come again,
and receive you unto myself;
that where I am, there ye may
John xiv. 1.
Come, ye blessed children of
receive the kingdom prepared
for you from
the beginning of the
Thanks to all of you
who have sent kind
messages of prayerful
support in the recent
interval. I very much
26 June 2014
Honour all men.
Honour the King.
THE SUMMER OF 'LOVE' - FORTY-SEVEN YEARS ON
Chilling out in my friend's MGB - the summer of 1967
|1967. The 'Summer of Love'
Like, all you need is love, man....and we're being reminded of it forty-seven years on.
'We're a new generation, with a new explanation', exclaimed Scott MacKenzie in his
big 1967 hit, 'If you're going to San Francisco...be sure to put a flower in your hair'.
Actually, it was more like: be sure to take your birth control pills there as you roll
around on the street, half-naked and stoned out of your mind, getting 'laid' by
somebody who hasn't had a bath in months. Like, wow.
The usual icon of the sixties is that of the unpopular war in Viet Nam that was, I believe,
finally won by Al Gore, but the most significant and real paradigmatic change came
with the introduction of 'The Pill'. It is the birth control 'pill' that symbolises the first
principle of the 'new explanation': Choice without responsibility. Remarkably, this
business remains a hot issue in the United States after their Supreme Court ruled
against forcing corporations to provide insurance for employees' contraception needs.
Obamacare wants to make it the responsibility of companies and insurance to
supply birth control pills and abortificients to female employees.
This is reflected, not only in the enormous sexual immorality that has become the 'norm',
but in the manner and regard for the relationship between oneself and oneself; one's
boy/girlfriend, husband/wife, family, parents, friends, one's country, the law, nature,
the world life....and the 'God', formerly known as 'God', now known as 'Me'.
It's a narcissistic blush.
Any and all things are primordially subject to the useful pleasure of the self and, when they
no longer serve that purpose, they become 'disposable'; even little unborn children in
their mother's womb. The new explanation for 'life' is to kill it if it is inconvenient; a
portent that might well come back to haunt the generation of love with the current
popularity of euthanasia as a means of disposing of the 'useless, sick, old people' who
don't contribute to the economy and are just a drag on the lifestyles of their little
The summer of love is perpetuated in just about every place and remains largely
an insatiable lust for pleasure that even Bacchus would envy. There is more 'dope',
lingering in the brains or otherwise active, in the dopiness of many of our political, social,
religious, and judicial eliteswhose devotion to self-pleasing emotion in all things has
resulted in a culture permeating with an estrangement from objective truth, virtue, duty,
justice and just basic decency.
Now, the confused, entitled, and materialistic offspring and offspring's offspring they
produced, having been taught that what was wrong is now right and what was bad is
now good, and uncertain of the 'boundaries', are 'acting out' the consequences of the
moral and intellectual bankruptcy in which they have been formed.
Many of the generation that rejected 'Daddy' are still living off of 'Daddy's money'...
i.e., whatever he left in his will, but it's summer of 'love' will soon become it's winter.
To those of that generation who have withstood the flood of change, may your
children and children's children shine out for you and the restoration of what
the Mummys and Daddys of old struggled to achieve and pass on.
Like peace, man.
July the 26th is the feast day of Saints Anne & Joachim, the parents of
the blessed virgin Mary, and the grandparents of Jesus.
One may pause for a moment to consider the very special love and legacy
that our grandparents afford us.
For most of us, our experience with our grandparents is relatively brief
as we generally 'know' them at a time when their days are ending and
ours are just beginning. Some of us miss out on knowing our grandparents
at all whether because of distance or age. For those of us who have and
do know them, we recognise the unique place they occupy within our
families and our lives.
Grandparents tend to be very generous with their grandchildren in a way
that is 'free' from the attachments that we have to our parents, their children.
They remind us of 'who we are' and are our link to a past that helps us
to understand our present. We might also take some comfort in knowing
that if we have been 'spanked' by our own parents, they too have been
'spanked' by our grandparents. There is something mysterious in that.
Nana and Grandad tend to be able to accept more from us in a way
that our parents, with their 'responsibility', either cannot or will not.
Understanding and forgiveness toward our little faults come gently,
even if firmly, but always with acceptance...and perhaps some delight.
I was fortunate to have known all of my grandparents but was especially
close to my Mum's mother and father, Ernest and Rose Leonard.
My memory of them remains fresh even though their days on earth
ended fifty years ago. Their wonderful stories, hugs, presence, interest
and love are reminders of the happiest portion of my childhood and
are treasured. There was also always lots of tea, little cakes, toast and
other treats when they were with us. Grandad's change used to fall
from his pocket in his favourite chair and I think that he knew that
one of us would find it after he got up.
As a child, I could not know them beyond simply being their grandson.
Now, having been inspired to learn more about them and their lives,
I am able to 'know' them more as the wonderful persons that they truly are
and how they shaped the life of their children and my own life even
as they were shaped by their parents and grandparents. In them, one
is able to see a 'family' and a family's 'history'; rich with the story of
a time long past that resonates in this generation. Grandparents
underscore our need to 'belong', to have an 'identity' beyond the
things that normally occupy our attention in our daily life.
In this day and age where the nuclear family itself is under siege and
children are often to be found in some very complex relationships, one
can hope that they might have some fruitful access to their grandparents.
It always saddened me in the course of my ministry with 'seniors', to
frequently learn of their lonely estrangement from their children and
grandchildren whose photographs invariably filled their rooms.
'Oh well, they have their own lives', was the oft-repeated refrain
as if to excuse the family from it's inherent obligation to honour
each in their generation. If 'they' have 'their own lives' why don't
they include those whose lives included them?
Whatever the circumstance in families today, it doesn't require much
effort for anyone to make a telephone call, write a note, or preferably
to take some time to visit and include one's grandparents in family
Their time among us when we are children is fleeting but can be a treasure
for those who recognise the importance of what they are able to
share whilst 'life goes on'...including the legacy of their own lives
as well as their wisdom and love.
There is no mention in the gospel of Jesus' grandparents but they
were undoubtedly there in that community of Nazareth where,
as a family, they were able to share the riches of their loving
care with their grandson and helped to shape his life.
GE Benton, originally posted, July, 2007
Ernest & Rose (West) Leonard, beloved grandparents in 1955