This morning we were thrilled to learn that one of our oblates is to receive a City of Sanctuary award for her work with refugees. I don’t (yet) have permission to name her, and as she is very modest and self-deprecating I shall not presume, but she is a wonderful example of how ‘ordinary’ people — ordinary in their own estimation, that is — can do extraordinary things. We tend to think of the extraordinary in terms of Guinness-Book-of-Records-style achievements The kind of work being celebrated by the City of Sanctuary organization is less spectacular but requires no less patience and perseverance than performing daredevil feats. To be truly concerned for one’s neighbour, to battle officialdom and bureaucracy on behalf of another, to be a friend to the stranger and alien, and to do so without losing heart or giving up, these are great qualities. More than that, they are inspiring qualities. This morning we rejoice in the knowledge that one of our oblates has taught us all something invaluable and in doing so has made the world a better place. Thank you, and thank God.
I haven’t blogged for the last few days because I’ve had nothing to say. That is the luxury of blogging, as distinct from preaching or teaching. When the well of inspiration runs dry, one is under no obligation to try to find an alternative source of hydration. One can just go silent (which, as someone will probably want to point out, is an anagram of ‘listen’).
Maybe it is because I am a nun, or maybe just because I am ‘built’ that way, I think the most important thing any Christian blogger can do before sitting down at the keyboard is to pray. We are so busy filling our minds with information, we sometimes forget the need to digest it all and ask the Light of God to shine on the areas we don’t understand or, worse still, think we understand but don’t. Slow prayer, slow blogging: I am a fan of both. Much better to go quiet for a little than to find one has become entrapped in one’s own noise.
The Monastery and the Internet
(The video presentation I did for the Gott im Web Conference is still available here and will be as long as the bandwidth we bought holds out: it has been viewed by more than 250 people so far.)
Whether we call it loss of enthusiasm or End of the World Syndrome, we all know what it is: the moment when feelings go flat and the world turns monochrome. We no longer believe, no longer hope, all is is blank and bleak. When this moment comes in the novitiate, then the real work of conversion can begin. We no longer try for perfection by our own efforts but settle for the rather messier, less obvious work of the Holy Spirit in us. (cf RB 7.70) So, too, with life in general. Enthusiasm is a great quality, especially when the inspiration comes from God; but it is not meant to be a permanent state. If, today, you are feeling knee-high to a grasshopper, lacking energy and bored stiff by everything, do not assume that something dreadful has happened to you. You are simply discovering anew what it means to be human. Like it or not, we have to be human to be redeemed; and isn’t that a rather wonderful and inspiring thought?