Ascension Day 2019

Forty days ago we began our celebration of Easter. It is not over yet, but today marks a special point. When Jesus ascends into heaven, all earthly limitations fall away. He, our High Priest, now  intercedes for us at the right hand of the Father. Today’s readings are all about prayer, and I find in them a huge encouragement, for what is monastic life if not a life of prayer? Our prayer is now united with that of Christ himself and as such has a power and efficacy it would otherwise lack. He is the King of glory, the Lord of creation, the one who makes all things possible.

A personal decision
The reminder that monastic life is first and foremost a life of prayer makes this a good day for a small personal announcement. I have decided to take what I hope will prove a short break from blogging and social media. You do not need to be told that the community and I are praying, although I know many of you appreciate our attempts to share some of our reflections, etc

I have great difficulty reading and writing at present and find I am spending a lot of time on my own spelling mistakes. I know my typos are as irritating to others as they are to me. Under normal circumstances, I’d be glad to be told of errors but having to cut, paste and magnify everything sent to me is irksome and, to be honest, sometimes a little discouraging. So, rather than struggle to read tweets and messages, only to discover they are about my awful typing, I think it makes sense not to provide matter for dispute! I am hoping to have surgery on my eyes in the near future, so I shall be back annoying you — though not with typos, I trust — ere long, D.V. Please continue to use our 24/7 email prayerline for prayer requests and email the monastery about any other matter. Quitenun will do her best to maintain the daily prayer intentions on our Facebook page.

If you did not see our May newsletter (the first for 18 months) you can read it using this link and, better still, subscribe to future issues:

Dore Abbey
Finally, I’d like to mention something dear to my heart. We who live in the Golden Valley are privileged to have many fine churches on our doorstep but, like many small rural communities, we struggle to maintain them. Dore Abbey is a wonderful medieval survival badly in need of a new roof. Bro Duncan PBGV used to accompany us to Evensong there (dogs sit with their Human Beans in the pews) so I am sure he would endorse the appeal that has just been launched. I hope some of you will, too. Bless you!


Prayer is Not a Production Line

Regular readers know that our email prayerline is an important part of our service of others. All day, every day, we receive numerous requests for prayer. Some are heartbreaking — pleas for someone who is dying or in terrible circumstances, perhaps; others are more run-of-the mill requests, to get over a bad cold or have a safe journey and the like; all are taken seriously and prayed for perseveringly by the community. Sometimes we smile over a request, when it is obvious that the person asking thinks of God as their Fairy Godmother and wants, not just good health and happiness but academic and financial success as well — oh, and a nice house, a good car, a beautiful girlfriend and a few other things into the bargain. Usually such requests make it clear that the one doing the asking doesn’t have time to ask God about any of this himself (and possibly isn’t actually doing much about it, either), so please would the nuns pray, thanks (the thanks bit is optional). One thinks of sausage machines! At the other extreme are those who are almost afraid to ask anything, and hedge and qualify their requests with so much humility, one wonders whether they see God as a loving Father or as a slightly malevolent Power to be placated.

What I suspect few of the people who use our prayerline appreciate is that they are being prayed for by real people who are genuinely interested in their concerns. And if we are interested, surely God is even more concerned? You are the apple of his eye, how could he not care? Occasionally, we hear back from someone we’ve prayed for, especially if something has turned out well. That is always a joy. But I often think of those who have turned to us in desperate situations, full of blankness and despair, and wonder what has become of them — not out of curiosity but out of a sense of connectedness. Prayer is not a production line. To intercede for others isn’t like turning a tap on or off. When people ask us to pray, we pray, and we are all caught up in the prayer of Christ, our eternal High Priest, who alone prays perfectly and unceasingly to the Father.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail