Bishop Patrick of Nottingham pays a visit to our little parish and gives a first-class sermon. It is on, of course, the Pharisee in all of us, found in the Gospel.
“I thank you, God, that I am not grasping, unjust, adulterous like the rest of mankind”
Do we not all compare ourselves to others?
MONDAY 24th October
I ask a question of Theresa May, whether she would support a free trade deal with the EU which is wholly in their interests. She simply says “I agree”. It is widely repeated the next day and a No. 10 spokesperson has to clarify her remarks; either she was not listening properly or was just agreeing a free trade deal was in their interests. Later I chair Westminster Hall.
I am pondering on CS Lewis’ book ‘Miracles’ – he is a superb polemicist and he uses semantics to establish a strong case, but I was wondering how God, if he listens, can bear the patience of all these prayers. How many billion people are there on the planet, say 7? A lot of them won’t believe or won’t pray, but say half a billion do every day, even for a short time. It is, of course, ridiculous that God could have the patience or time to listen even if he is completely different to us. But then I go on in-between sleeping and dozing to say most of the Rosary. It is so deeply calming.
Perhaps today’s Gospel from Luke 13:13-14 is about prayer?
“And at once she straightened up and glorified God”.
TUESDAY 25th October
I speak at the Middle East Forum on the Russian view of the Middle East. We at least must start to understand their attitude. In the afternoon, I go to the AGM of the Holy See Group. I decide to put my name in for the International Trade Select Committee.
“Is the Kingdom of God then like a mustard seed? Is it so tiny yet its potential so large?”
WEDNESDAY 26th October
A red letter day. To my surprise I am elected onto the International Trade Select Committee.
In the morning I am briefed on Russia by the Head of the Eastern Europe Desk at the FCO. Business will go on as usual.
As always in our Wednesday Mass, the chant at the end is the best bit.
What is Luke’s “Narrow door”, 13:22-30, where is it? How do we find it? What does it look like?
THURSDAY 27th October – St Chad
“constantly seek his face”
Where do we see his face? It is easier in the autumn countryside or on a boat at sea. Sometimes you can start the day in heavy fog, everything obscured, even the other side of the harbour, then the sun burns through, the breeze gets up and the boat surges forward.
FRIDAY 28th October
A long walk in the dusk with Monti and Theo via Kirmond le Mire. On these autumn evenings, as one descends into the villages, the greens merge into a soft brilliance.
Saturday 29th October
I walk to the village church and read Psalm 9
“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty”.
A surgery in Market Rasen and another long walk in autumn golds.