A Short Pause

It has been a demanding fortnight. Just as we were going on retreat, I was alerted to an attack on our monastery web sites. I dealt with it as best I could but, by the time we had arrived at our retreat destination, hackers had exploited a vulnerability and our sites were down. It has taken a lot of time and a fair bit of money to put things right, but the new security we have in place should prevent the same thing happening again. Is there any analogy here with the E.U. Referendum? Many people are stunned by the result and are waiting anxiously to see what will happen next — and I don’t just mean in the U.K. I know I have been rather repetitive on the subject, but every nation state is part of a greater whole. We inhabit the same planet. What happens in one part of the world affects those who live in another.

It will take time and money to resolve many of the questions that are forming in people’s minds. Pious platitudes about God being in charge are fine as far as they go, but they do not really comfort (i.e. strengthen) those who who have a sick thump in the stomach about what the future may hold for them and those they hold dear. And for those with an historical imagination, or even a grasp of politics and economics, there are some very grave questions indeed. Although it is early to talk of the break-up of the U.K. or the E.U., the loss of jobs and opportunities, sooner or later we shall have to face the consequences of Thursday’s vote. Optimists say the future for Britain will be better, brighter; the future for the E.U. will be better, brighter without Britain; but none of these assertions is actually based on fact as yet, only on opinion. Which brings me to the rub.

During the past few months, but especially over the last few days, many people have voiced opinions in damaging and divisive ways. In Social Media some have never let an opportunity for expressing their own views pass them by. There have been accusations and counter-accusations, name-calling, imputations of bad faith, expressions of unholy glee or diabolical despair. That is not the way to build unity or make the future safe for those who come after us. At the risk of stretching my web site analogy to breaking-point, may I suggest that what we all need to do now is to take a short pause. Instead of trying to browbeat others into thinking as we do, let’s listen to our own rhetoric, turn it back on ourselves and see how we like it. Let’s think about those who don’t see things as we do. For me personally there was never any question of an in/out campaign as such. It wasn’t a case of winning or losing but making the right choice as best I could, and not for narrow self-interest. I assume everyone else made their decision on the same basis even if they came to different conclusions. I am troubled about the result but for me the important thing now is to work and pray with the situation we have — and the very first thing we all need to do is to put things right with those we have injured, belittled or treated as less than Christ. Because, you see, it is Christ we wound in the person of the other.

I’m sorry.

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16 thoughts on “A Short Pause”

  1. Wonderful words Sr. The need for healing in our country has seldom been greater. Also need to pray for leadership and leaders. God bless you in your amazing digital ministry

    • Hear, hear. I echo all of that. May God bless us with political and spiritual leadership as we try to find the best way forward for all of us travelling together down this new path…

  2. So happy you are back! Something to smile about today… Sorry to hear about the attack and subsequent problems.
    I am also troubled by the referendum result and was saddened by the nastiness that was/is prevalent. The decision has been made whether I like it or not. I hope and pray for healing – the divisions are between colleagues, friends, countries and even continents. We must work together for the common good by whatever mechanisms are left available to us. The uncertainty and fear (natural enough)should not be allowed to turn us against our fellow citizens.

  3. Lovely blog and thank you for sharing ! You writing makes so much senses I feel you could teach our politicians a thing or 2. God bless and keep writing !!

  4. Hope that you both are doing well along with Duncan. Your blog stating that every nation is a part of a greater whole as well as we inhabit the same planet says it all as far as I am concerned.Wishing you both health and contentment.

  5. Thank you for your words of wisdom and sense. I am dismayed by the comments by so many who KNOW what was/is best for us and dismiss those who think differently as ignorant/ uneducated / zenaphobic etc. I do agree with you and thank you for comments. Prayers will be offered for us all to work together whatever way we voted!

  6. I am starting a new job in a few weeks, at a major EU funded research centre in the UK. It is very likely that the funding will no longer be there in 2years time. 15% of all EU research funding currently comes into the UK, and it is very hard to believe it’ll be retained or replaced. The long term prospects for scientists, researchers and engineers seem very bleak.

    So I’m not feeling very ready to forgive the 17million people who created this situation, even though I believe that we’ll eventually weather the economic storm. I just pray some good might come from this. And that I can get my excitement over my new job back! 🙁

  7. I was totally disgusted by the vile rhetoric of the campaign and am disheartened to now hear people vilified for voting to leave.

    Without a pause for breath, older people are alleged to have taken away the future of the young through pure selfish self interest. No wonder some of us, older people are considering withdrawing from social media for a time.

    Even Clergy have engaged in this, let alone Giles Coren in the times, in a totally outrageous article which has been syndicated world wide.

    Others are parading their credentials as ‘Proud’ remainers which is surely their own business, unless they’re frightened of being associated with the leave vote.

    I wonder and worry that this is causing further division, rather than the healing and reconciliation that is needed now and will be for some time in the future.

    Narrow self interest is on display around us and I just pray for them to be given some insight into the way the ongoing debate is damaging so many. Please God, bring us Peace.
    Amen

  8. Thank you Dame Catherine for your wise words. The campaign on both sides did not make clear the possible effects of a vote to remain or to leave and it is a sad fact that much of the real ramifications will take a while to emerge.

    The politicians and officials must now take us through all the actions needed to rewrite legislation and to rebuild relationships, both within this country and abroad, but I can’t help but feel that if the people at the top of the EU had been prepared to change and be more flexible that we wouldn’t now be in this position. Perhaps if they had followed the Holy Rule they would have recognised the varying needs of the member countries from the wealthier north and west and the poorer south and east parts of Europe and been more flexible in applying the EU rules. St Benedict was so wise in recognising our weaknesses.

    I hope and pray that my words and actions have not upset others in the past few days, but must admit that I have felt it necessary to ‘unfollow’ a few people in social media because their comments were dismissive of particular people and their views.

    The way MP’s have had threats made against them is symptomatic of an unhappy and divided country, and I pray that we can all pull together for the good of all, but especially the poor and those who feel marginalised and worried.

  9. As a British citizen living in the United States I am concerned about the future path for both countries. Thank-you for reminding us that we are all part of a whole. So many seem to forget this!

    “Many people are stunned by the result and are waiting anxiously to see what will happen next — and I don’t just mean in the U.K. I know I have been rather repetitive on the subject, but every nation state is part of a greater whole. We inhabit the same planet. What happens in one part of the world affects those who live in another.” You are the first that I have come across on FB to comment on all this with a religious perspective. Thank-you for that!

    “It will take time and money to resolve many of the questions that are forming in people’s minds. Pious platitudes about God being in charge are fine as far as they go, but they do not really comfort (i.e. strengthen) those who who have a sick thump in the stomach about what the future may hold for them and those they hold dear………I am troubled about the result but for me the important thing now is to work and pray with the situation we have — and the very first thing we all need to do is to put things right with those we have injured, belittled or treated as less than Christ. Because, you see, it is Christ we wound in the person of the other.”

    Prayers for unity across the world, and faith in the way forward. May God bless your work.

  10. This was a long, hard campaign. Politics in the UK is a rough and tumble affair – but after a contest people usually put differences aside and work together. I hope (and pray)
    that this will be the case here. Let’s say a prayer or two, take a deep breath and look forward to the comming week.

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