Around four o’clock on Friday afternoons, my Twitterstream becomes less busy. I assume people are leaving work early, or at any rate, changing gear and shifting focus towards whatever they do at week-ends. Just before five o’clock the inbox here at the monastery starts to fill up with last-minute requests from clients and others. I have learned to be quite brutal about these. Those that are genuinely urgent — something isn’t working or a question has to be answered — are dealt with methodically, and I hope graciously. Those that could have been sent at any time, or which begin ‘could you just . . .’ (grrr) are consigned to the ‘to be looked at on Monday pile’. During the week-end itself, when we tend to be busy with guests and often have a longer and more elaborate liturgy (Sunday), the inbox will fill up with questions of a different kind, asking for advice about vocation, for example, or some aspect of Catholic teaching. By Sunday evening we are usually tired and drained.
Does that colour our feelings about Friday afternoons, which usher in all this busyness? I don’t think so. It may seem rather pious, but at three o’clock each of us paused briefly and remembered the Crucifixion. We didn’t say any particular psalms or prayers, didn’t do anything dramatic, we just remembered. Remembering is, in itself, a liturgical act but, more than that, it is a way of gaining perspective, of allowing a ray or two of grace to pierce our hearts. We may not always advert to the fact, but, by and large, that Friday afternoon feeling is shot through with wonder and gratitude, no matter what the week-end holds. All it takes is just a few seconds spent remembering.