The New Year is still in its infancy but already many of the hopes expressed for the future will have been dashed. The world hasn’t become kinder or more peaceful overnight. To dare to hope for better things labels one a dreamer, a romantic; but a cold douse of cynicism soon brings us to our senses.
Perhaps it is because I’ll be offline when you read this, in the midst of three days of intense silence and prayer, that I can’t bring myself to be cynical. Hope is always something of a cinderella virtue, but I think it defines the Christian attitude to life. God never abandons us, though I admit he does seem to keep his face hidden much of the time. The Incarnation we have been celebrating, and even more, the revelation to the gentiles which, in England and Wales, we celebrate in tomorrow’s great feast of the Epiphany, contradict any ideas we may have of a God indifferent to our plight. In Jesus, God has united himself once for all with our human condition. He shares our hopes and is himself the fulfilment of those hopes.
Today the Church celebrates the feast of Saints Basil and Gregory Nazianzen. How much work remains to be done to heal the schism between Catholics and Orthodox! But it is not an impossibility, a ridiculous dream. As we look back to an age when the Church was essentially one, though riven by disagreements and quarrels and what we now regard as heresies (e.g Arianism), let us also look forward in hope to a time when the Church will again be one in faith and love. May our merciful Lord show us how.
Health update for Digitalnun
You may like to know that Digitalnun got the results of her latest PET scan on 30 December. The metastases (secondaries) in her lungs have grown since the September scan, but not, apparently, those in her liver, etc. The sarcoidosis seems under control again, but because treatment for that interferes with treatment for sarcoma, the situation is being monitored for a few weeks until the effects have worked through. Given that she didn’t expect to see 2015, let alone 2016, she is quite upbeat and very grateful to you for your prayers, and to the Oxford Sarcoma Team and Herefordshire Macmillan Nurses for all their care.