I went to the small Westminster chapel of ease near our home. For many the concept of the Body of Christ being in the bread of the Communion is absurd. Rationally it is, but why when one goes into a Catholic church do you feel a kind of strange presence or power? Is it real, is it illusion, but the feeling is there. On Monday I went to a reception at Speakers’ House raise money for the new museum of Catholic history at Stonyhurst. A reliquary cross belonging to Thomas More was on display together with a Book of Hours that one of Mary Queen of Scots’ ladies in waiting carried at her execution.
I touched the cross. People scoff at relics but some bones turned up recently in Bulgaria by legend those of John the Baptist, absurd yet recent carbon dating puts them as coming from the first century.
Anyway the search for proof is tiring and pointless. That this relic has been handled for three, four, five hundred years is enough.
On Tuesday I went to a pray-in in the crypt where a multitude had assembled to pray for guidance for the nation. It sounds corny but I have never sat for so long in any meeting in Parliament with no one saying anything. It was curiously powerful. Perhaps there is something commendable in silent politicians and silent politics or just thinking instead of doing and talking.
Wednesday was the feast day (13 June) of St Anthony of Padua. He seems a charming chap. He sort of wandered into the Franciscans as St Francis was getting going. A good theologian, they put him to use. We all have our uses.
For the rest of the week I had to test Spinoza’s theory. Is bobbing and down in a small boat, walking high fells or opening the Lindsey Trail with a two-hour carriage drive behind two lorries as good as going to church? Of course it is!