A Simple Form of Service

Ever since we came to the Golden Valley we have spent time each week clearing the rubbish from the verge outside the monastery. There is a lot of it, some of it quite disgusting, much of it dangerous to wildlife (including dogs), and all of it a blot on the landscape in what must surely rank as one of the most beautiful parts of England. A few days ago I noticed that Quietnun had extended her clearing activities to cover not only our verge but also our neighbour’s and the roadside opposite — a few hundred yards — and filled three black bags with bottles, cans, wrappers, food trays and so on. Very public-spirited, you may say, but a tragedy it should be necessary. True, but the tragedy goes deeper than one might think at first. If we do not respect ourselves, we are not going to respect our surroundings. Tossing rubbish out of the window as we drive past is easy: we do not live with the consequences — or do we? Every time we treat our surroundings as a rubbish dump, every time we pay no heed to the consequences of our actions, we are making ourselves a little less human, a little less like our Creator who cares about everything, even the hairs on our head. Cassian once said whoever removes just a little dust from the oratory for the love of God will not lose his reward. I am confident that Quietnun’s three black sacks will weigh heavy in the balance: a simple form of service but one with eternal significance.

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6 thoughts on “A Simple Form of Service”

  1. Last year I went out once a week during Lent to clear rubbish from roadside verges; separating glass, metal and general gunk. I found it quite depressing. How can people throw stuff out of their cars and litter the environment like this One man lowered the windows of his car and dropped the remains of his lunch, plastic bottle, sandwhich wrapper etc on the curb in front of our house. We must model a better way. I am also going to collect again this Lent

  2. This is such an important point. Seen beside the tribulations of the world right now, at home and abroad, it may be easily dismissed. But it’s a profound subject altogether.

    As I see it, there is a direct connection between our modern capacity to generate rubbish at an alarming rate, together with our inadequacy in dealing with it on a cosmic level, and our relationship with the Creator who has entrusted us with custodianship of the planet.

    Properly respected, Nature achieves its own end by breeding life out of decay. It regenerates when co-operated with and rules out indigestible waste. The economics of greed have forced us into ways of thinking and being that are far removed from God’s hopes of us. A thankful heart to the Giver of Life and every Good Thing, would compel a whole new enlightenment.

    God Bless Quietnun for her efforts and you, Sr Catherine, for these observations!

  3. Good for Sister Lucy and good for you for sharing her care of the landscape and the people who live near it.

    Small acts of self-respect and respect for others can go a long way in creating a more humane and pleasant environment for all of us to enjoy. Thanks for reminding us.

  4. Sad that as humans we oftern fall short of being trusted with small things – our immediate environment – but expect to be masters of the whole planet and its resources. A callous disregard for creation/nature/our environment watever we call it, allows people to become totally selfish (not my grass verge) and indulge in cruelty to animals (they are there for my convenience) and ultimately mistreat out fellow humans -(they are not my problem/charity begins at home…).

    recycling/Fairtrade/cruelty free products/ethical farming are all ways we can make an effort to live in harmony with the world we did not create/earn/deserve but were given.

  5. This is, indeed, a most lovely part of our country and a joy to live in. Our village periodically has an en-masse clear up of stuff jettisoned from car windows along the roads and it’s amazing how much there is to clear. How sad that so many people feel no connection with the living world outside the car window – they miss so much. I also fear for their driving skills along these fast roads if they find it an acceptable diversion to wind the window down and hurl stuff out. No doubt we are all reckless in some way or other…and no doubt that prayer is needed for us all! Blessings on Quietnun for her road side work 🙂

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