Living with Insecurity

Some people like to live dangerously but, after a certain age, the majority seem to want some kind of security. The trouble is, whatever we think will provide security may not do so. Health may give way; house and home may be lost along with the job that we imagined would provide a livelihood; the person most dear to us may depart or die or perhaps never come into our lives at all. If we live long enough, old age will strip us of the strength and certainties of our youth. The conventional religious answer is to place our trust in God, to rely on him alone. That is fine in theory but extremely hard to do when feeling weak or helpless.

This morning there are many anxious people struggling with COVID-19. A report I read stated that most of those in Brazil requiring intubation are having to undergo the procedure without sedatives because the country has only 6% of the medication it needs. Intubation is ghastly enough without that! There are people in Ukraine waiting to see whether Russian tanks are going to cross over the border and invade their country. In Hong Kong, Myanmar, much of Africa, there is political uncertainty and fear of repression. Add to that what we now call ‘food insecurity’ and the threat of ethnic violence, and our own troubles seem small enough.

We express our solidarity with those who suffer through our prayer and by doing whatever we can to alleviate the distress of others. It is our privilege to provide the human response to the prayer of those placing their trust in God. Let’s think about that for a moment. Then be humbled and give thanks that God should place such trust in us.

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10 thoughts on “Living with Insecurity”

  1. It may be a bit childish of me, but I see your monastery (and those of other contemplative orders) as little powerhouses of prayer, from which we all benefit, whether we know it or not. (I hope nobody is offended by this description).

    • I’m reading “in this house of Brede” by Rumer Godden at the moment and one of the characters describes the Monastry that features as exactly that – a powerhouse of prayer in response to someone asking “what’s the point?” So you are certainly not alone in thinking that. That description is very apt.

      (With apologies to anyone forced to read the book as a penance – Sr Catherine and I know of another too – I wonder what Rumer Godden would have thought of her book being used as a penance? )

        • How amazing that you talked with Rumer! In This House is one of my lifetime favourite books. And you are one of my favourite wise women to follow.

          • Not really. I was introduced to her by Christopher Morris long before I became a nun. At Stanbrook she was a regular though not constant visitor and I met her on a number of occasions. I knew her well enough to feel obliged to call her ‘Rumer’ but not well enough to feel entirely comfortable doing so.

        • I’ve a first edition hardback from a now closed Monastry in Berkshire that says in the front cover it belonged to their novitiate library. I wonder how many have read it as penance. I know when I stayed in Ryde the guestmistress (and very dear friend) would roll her eyes if I turned up with it to read as it had been her penance, more than once, to read it. Of course Rumer spent a lot of time there too so was likely aware.

  2. a very good take on insecurity (“insecuritas humana”) from a Catholic philosopher’s perspective is the work of Peter Wust (1884-1940). His main work, entitled “Ungewissheit und Wagnis” has not, to my knowledge, been translated into English, but here is a link to an article that describes Wust’s type of Christian existentialism and his ideas on insecurity quite well: https://www.utpjournals.press/doi/pdf/10.3138/uram.28.3.245

  3. Several things, l love in this house of Brede, read it several times since the first time.
    I have anxiety over lots of things, and although I say I trust God, it’s not that easy, I say I mean it, and I do really, but still continue to worry,.

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