A Matter of Perspective


The prayer gazebo at Howton Grove Priory
The Prayer Gazebo at Howton Grove Priory

I normally photograph our prayer gazebo from the front, so that one can see the cross hanging from one of the beams. Yesterday I photographed it from the rear. One cannot see the cross, only the raspberries growing into the gazebo and helping to fill it with cool green light even on the sunniest of days. A change of perspective; a change of understanding; but not, fundamentally, a change of purpose. The gazebo is still a place of prayer, a place of refreshment.

There is more to this than mere whimsy. As human beings, we are constantly changing, constantly in search of something better. That is why drawing our lines in the sand is, very often, only as effective as drawing a line in sand can be, i.e. not at all. The Brexit/Bremain debate has reached a point where most people are heartily sick of the scare-mongering and dodgy statistics on both sides. If leaving the E.U. means Britain would be contributing more to the world (and demanding less for herself) than she is as a member of the E.U., my vote would be to leave. Conversely, if leaving the E.U. means Britain would be contributing less to the world (and demanding more for herself), my vote would be to remain. It is, for me, a matter of perspective, but also one that touches on my understanding of the nation-state’s role and purpose in the world. As I have often said before, ‘what’s best for us’ depends on how one defines ‘us’, and I, for one, cannot separate how I understand that from how I understand any and everything in the light of the gospel. How I vote on 23 June will require some hard thought and much prayer.


5 thoughts on “A Matter of Perspective”

  1. Very nearly as comprehensive, and certainly as Catholic, a statement of the principles on which I’ve made my decision on how to vote (about which I won’t go into detail, so as not to turn this into yet another occasion for the EU debate to continue) as one could hope to read – thank you. I would venture only to suggest one more criterion, namely the roles and purposes of alternatives to the nation-state as well as those of nation-states themselves.

  2. Beautifully put, Dame Catherine. I suppose it is like trying to see something from another person’s perspective. I don’t want to dwell on the Referendum either, but leaving would enable the country to act independently when quick action is needed. The EU seems very slow to react at times when sometimes time is of the essence.

    A drought has hit Ethiopia and CAFOD (Catholic Agency For Overseas Development) has appealed for funds. As an individual I am fortunately able to act immediately, but if I was a country within the EU I think certain actions like that would require a collective decision. It is issues like this that are influencing my vote and prayers. Let us pray that collectively we come to the right position.

  3. I suspect that many of us who have a postal vote have already made up our minds. So, for us the vote is cast and the ongoing debate seems to be a waste of time. I, like you am totally sick and tired of a debate which has become highly personalised and very yah boo, possibly like the public school play grounds that many of the politicians come from who are engaging in the debate.

    Whatever the outcome is, this debate has become so divisive, I wonder how the same politicians will be able to engage with one another, in their work for the greater good – when so much bile has been vented. Or, perhaps to them, this is all some sort of game? Winning the war of word, misinformation and spin being their end game.

    I dislike being cynical about their motives, as I suspect that on both sides they are genuinely held, but the lack of respect shown to each other and towards the voters, does seem to me to have further damaged their image and reputations, which it will be difficult to recover from.

    As you say, prayer and careful thought will be necessary for this crucial vote – and mine will be for a measured calm to come onto the debate in the next couple of weeks, to allow the voters to have a true picture of both sides of the debate to allow them to make their vote in good conscience

  4. We are all God’s children. He loves us all whoever we are and wherever we may be. Anything which divides us from others must be questionable.

  5. Do The birds outside the gazebo worry about what they will eat or drink. Do not worry yourself leave it with God you will know what is right on the day of the Cross! Jesus knew what was right and he served with wisdom and death was defeated.

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