A Day with the BBC and the Gift of Wisdom

Yesterday the community took part in some filming for the Pentecost Sunday edition of ‘Songs of Praise’. As always with the BBC, infinite trouble was taken to try to get things ‘right’ despite a noisier-than-usual A465 and various aircraft overhead, including a circling bi-plane. If we can take so much trouble with something that is, of its nature, ephemeral, why do we tend to be lazy about prayer and the things of the spirit? Is it because nothing much seems to happen in prayer, or not that we can see, anyway; and we do so want to be ‘happening’ people? Or is it that prayer makes demands on our faith and view of the world that action does not? In short, prayer, by its very nature, seems to contradict everything we believe about the wise use of time?

In today’s novena to the Holy Spirit, we ask especially for the gift of wisdom, but not wisdom as it is usually understood. Biblical wisdom includes elements of sagacity (judgement, discernment) but relies principally upon the closeness to God that the wise man or woman enjoys. It is, in an important sense, selfless because God is all in all. Openness to God doesn’t just happen, it has to be cultivated; and that can only be done through prayer. Benedict insists that every good work we undertake should begin with prayer. In the monastery we have the custom of praying before we begin any task, whether that be blogging, cooking, driving, working with the BBC or whatever. In that prayer, we ask that God’s will be done; his purposes achieved; his glory magnified. You could say that we are asking to be freed from the demands of our own ego so that there is room for God to operate. That is the wisdom we ask for today, and every day.

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12 thoughts on “A Day with the BBC and the Gift of Wisdom”

  1. It is a lesson I badly need to relearn.

    I got into the habit of praying before lifting up the telephone either to answer it or before I made a call at work, when visiting people, writing letters or emails and before meetings. Something I have forgotten since retiring, but we pray at the beginning and end of long car journeys and at meal times.

    I am hoping to take a hire car back today, when I go to collect my car which was damaged by me carelessly on a short journey. That will teach me to pray before even the shortest journey and to give thanks on a safe arrival!

  2. Thank you so much for today’s thoughts, Sr Catherine.
    Much of what you have said have resonated deeply within me and have helped to give me the answers to a couple of big decisions and dilemmas facing me at the moment.
    Very grateful.

  3. I believe that prayer is vital in our life. But I do tend to pray only at certain times. And I don’t ask others to pray for me nearly often enough. Must do better!
    Lovely that the community is being featured on “Songs of Praise”.

  4. Thank you for this!

    I’m getting in the habit of praying more; not just the liturgy of hours or the rosary, but before and after I do things at work or at home. I forget, but I’m starting to notice an improvement in that department.

  5. Thank you Sister Catherine. I don’t pray enough. Doing so would help me love Him more with all my might. My life’s emphasis tends to be on loving my neighbour.

  6. The BBC are here in church at the mo, it goes on for ages. Makes me think about how much time and attention on prayer. We are the TGI Monday team on the same show.

    • Thank you. May I ask a prayer that I succeed in updating all our web sites despite very slow rural broadband? Many of the things we’d like to do are scuppered by that, so we need to do a lot of re-thinking.

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