SUNDAY – Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
A breakfast of bread and cheese taken from the pub the night before and then a dive into the waters of Chichester Harbour and a sunlit sail in good wind back to Portsmouth Harbour.
The story of Jonah. How amazing that when things go wrong for the sailors in the storm they decide to throw Jonah in the sea. Yet how even more extraordinary that he offers this solution himself.
As you read through Tolle’s Power of Now you realise more and more how it is rooted in Christian meditation.
Be still, close your eyes, concentrate on your inner being deep within your body – just as Cardinal Mercier suggested. Go into your soul, the temple of the Holy Spirit.
TUESDAY – St Bruno
In 1084, after a very busy life, St Bruno with just six companions settled himself in a wild spot at Chartreuse. There they lived in deep poverty and prayer. They lived as ‘hermits’ in community, the foundation of the Carthusian Order.
Of course in the real world it will never be possible to achieve the meditative heights of the Carthusians, but if not for so long in the day why not for some of the day? We cannot all sit alone in a cottage all day praying and tending plants and meeting several times a day and in the middle of the night in choir. But sitting alone in our offices, can’t we also be still for a moment? Can we not construct getaways to free ourselves for a moment from our swirling, demanding minds? Stand apart from the mind, view it with amusement and comment with something deeper and more universal?
WEDNESDAY – Our Lady of the Rosary
The feast was inaugurated to celebrate the defeat of the Turks at the Battle of Lepanto in October 1571.
The entrance antiphon is to-the-point:
“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.”
The collect says: “Pour forth, we beseech you O Lord your grace into our hearts.”
The entrance antiphon: “Within your will O Lord, all things are established.”
I am starting to read John Main’s Door to Silence – a Christian version of Eckhart Tolle. He starts by quoting St Paul:
“Your world was a world without hope and without God. But now in union with Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near through the shedding of Christ’s blood. For He Himself is our peace.” (Ephesians 2:12-14)
John Main argues that “In this wisdom of the New Testament, peace is one of the essential qualities of human existence.”
We need to understand what peace means. Yet it is beyond understanding and so to enter into this peace we must enter into the experience of meditation itself. This is very profound. Like Tolle, Main meditates to seek an inner being but is explicit that Christ is the vehicle to achieve this. That may or may not be true but Tolle does lead people more gently into the experience not saying that any particular belief system is necessary.
FRIDAY – St Denis Bishop & St John Leonardi
St John Leonardi was born in Lucca. When I was there this summer I should have sought out his memory. It is hard to think that he was heavily persecuted in such a lovely place. Indeed he spent most of his life in exile.
I went to RAF Scampton to present long service awards. It is humbling to give these awards to those who’ve served in the RAF for twenty or thirty years.
Before I went to my last Cathedral Council meeting at Lincoln. I have been on it for over nine years. It is time to give another a chance. I feel the same issues are coming around again and again and I am saying the same things. It has been a delightful Troloppian experience.
“Rejoice you just in the Lord. The Lord is King, let earth rejoice. Let all the coastlands be glad.” (Psalm 96)
How can coastlands be glad? It is part of a feeling that all is one.
The guardians of our cathedrals like Lincoln are truly heroic people. They receive next to no government funding yet they maintain these thousand-year-old world heritage sites. At Lincoln the footfall is barely sufficient to sustain this enormous building but what a delight to go to pray there in St Hugh’s Chapel.