Another Thursday in Lent 2013

Today is just another Thursday in Lent, except that it isn’t. For about 1.2 billion of us it is the day when Pope Benedict XVI lays down his office and we enter a period of fervent prayer for the next successor of St Peter. It is a day out of time which paradoxically anchors us more firmly to time while pointing towards life beyond time, to eternity. By one of those wonderful coincidences which are really not coincidences at all, it is also sixty years since Crick and Watson’s discovery of the molecular structure of DNA (for the moment we must leave aside the unfair treatment of Rosalind Franklin as it is not germane to my argument). We are poised, as it were, between these two hinges, the natural and the supernatural, between our frail and imperfect humanity and the transformations of grace and the Holy Spirit.

Francis Crick was not, I think, a modest man, but anyone who heard him speaking of the beauty of the double helix could not fail to be moved. He was entranced, taken out of himself by the miracle of life. Benedict XVI is, by nature, much more reserved but when he speaks of the things of the Spirit he does so with the sureness of one who knows. In his own quiet way, he reminds us that to set one’s sight on the kingdom of heaven does not mean any less love for the things of earth. One cannot despise or disparage the beauty and holiness of what God has created when one seeks God himself.

Today is not a day for sadness or negativity but for hope and confidence in God. He is the true guide of the Church. He works with and through our humanity, not against or in spite of it. We are privileged to live through this moment, but with the privilege comes the duty. Now is the time for renewed prayer, renewed searching, renewed trust. God will never fail or forsake us.



5 thoughts on “Another Thursday in Lent 2013”

  1. Amen to that. So much of the media coverage of the Pope’s resignation has focused, almost with relish, on a supposed crisis in the faith. That has been exacerbated here in Scotland by the sudden resignation of our cardinal. Only one or two ‘talking heads’ have observed that faith has a surer guide than frail humanity.

    • Thank you, Kate. I think it’s inevitable that much media coverage should presume there’s a crisis of faith. I suppose any organization with 1.2 billion members and some very distinguished thinkers etc among it should perplex those who don’t themselves have faith.

  2. Thank you for a reflection on the fragility of our humanity, which science investigates, but can never disprove that God created all.

    It’s been a strange few weeks since Pope Benedict announced his retirement. I actually believe that he has chosen the right time and place, but he also proved that even a Pope has fragility and isn’t impervious to age. I think that he has made a safe decision for the Church as it allows the Cardinals to work with the Holy Spirit to choose his successor, but allows his wisdom and experience to remain available, if his successor has the humility to seek it.

    And despite media speculation and so much rubbish that has been written about the Church(es) of late, I don’t see decline in the terms that they do. Our particular Parish is thriving, despite our Parish Priest having moved. Our Curate and a number of Retired Priests have stepped very ably into the breach to keep things going, but as a congregation we are praying together and working to discern the qualities which our next incumbent may bring, to our mission, ministry and pastoral care in the 9 villages and 9 churches that they will be called to be Priest in Charge off. Obviously not a decision of the magnitude that the Conclave of Cardinals will have to make, but for us, perhaps one just as important. Our leader in Christ for the next five to seven years.

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