An Unprovocative Post

I usually know when a post will provoke comment; what I don’t know is when a post will provoke thought or prayer or both. If I touch upon certain subjects, I can usually predict that I’ll get a flurry of emails/messages telling me that, as a nun, I oughtn’t to have an opinion on such matters and should certainly not express it; but I also know that in more than one case the very people who disagreed with me have given the matter more thought and sometimes even come back to say that they had changed their mind or, if they had not changed their mind, at least they did not dismiss my view as automatically as they had at first. And I smile with pleasure because my aim in blogging is not to make people agree with me (although, of course, it’s nice when they do) but to encourage thought and to stretch my own thinking as much as anybody’s.

The strapline for this blog is ‘the world seen from the cloister’. It has a double meaning: it’s a looking-out from the windows of the monastery — physical, spiritual, moral, intellectual  — at the world outside, an almost limitless horizon. But it’s also an admission of the smallness of the world I inhabit, the tiny cloister hidden away in south Herefordshire that few would know about and even fewer come into contact with were it not for the internet. The lives of most of us have similar paradoxes at work in them. Our circles of work/family/church/associations are comparatively small, but we are engaged with a much bigger world we know principally through the media and through the books we read and the questions we ponder. The place of prayer in all this may not be obvious to everyone, but I think it needs to be emphasized. Most of us most of the time have to act on imperfect knowledge, on less than adequate information about possible consequences, on the proverbial ‘wing and a prayer’. Let us not be so reliant on ‘winging’ it that we forget the importance of prayer.

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13 thoughts on “An Unprovocative Post

  1. I bless the fruitfulness of your communication in a busy world . we forget that one of the things Jesus said to us it to reflect and pray. My own personal Conversion journey started with reflection and discussion with a Nun who was leaving her order to enter the wider world her own journey placed a spiritualality in mine (1979) . Keep up the work of our Lord . Philip known as Thomas in Christ

  2. “Let us not be so reliant on ‘winging’ it that we forget the importance of prayer.”

    A very thoughtful observation, Sister. I will act on this while I am travelling today. Thank you for posting.

  3. Listening to the news on the radio this morning, one hears of the calls to action over Syria, concerns over possible cuts to naval capability for HM Royal Marines, and payment for apprenticeship training.

    Many years ago I had an excellent training in the printing and stationery trade. An industry which is actually much more complex than it appears on the surface, ranging from simple sheets of paper, grades of pencil, pens and shapes of nib through to all types of indexed books, account books and paper, office machines and so on. At the other end of my working life I was involved in National Vocational Qualifications and I have to wonder whether training required to cook burgers and chips or to be a hairdresser is quite as complex and demanding as the training required to operate machine tools in an engineering works, or to work on electricity, gas or water supply which have their own dangers.
    In my early days I didn’t bring prayer into it, but certainly in the last 30 years I did, however, most people concerned with education did not have the commercial and vocational education background that I did, and I believe that vocational education in schools is on far too narrow a base to benefit the student and fit them for the world of work.

    Syria and defence are very complex issues, but here I worry that it is almost always looked at as a short term issue without considering the long term consequences to the people and countries directly affected. Much prayer is required that the right decisions are made, and sometimes the right decision is to do precisely nothing and to leave things as they are.

  4. Your blog does certainly encourage me to stretch my thinking – often because need to fill in gaps in my knowledge and understanding and further reading is inspired. It certainly encourages prayer – you mention it often and although the topics vary enormously, there is always (because of the nature of the view from the cloister) a way to let God into the discussion/problem.
    Thanks – not because I agree/disagree but because your perspective and mission provide a rare spiritual opportunity online. There really is nothing like your blog that I am aware of. God bless you and your work.

  5. D. Catherine, your blog is one of my first ports of call in the morning, after prayers and a cup of tea. It often sets the points for my ponderings during the day. Thank you!

  6. D. Catherine, your posts have educated me, given me spiritual guidance but above all, have encouraged me to think “outside the box” – to look both within and beyond the confines of my own life. Thank you so much!

  7. All of us live in a small cloistered cell to some degree! Our view of the world is limited to our knowledge and experience. However the view from a mountain top can be distant and breathtaking!

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