A Windy Night

Last night the wind tugged and pulled at the monastery, sending shivery blasts through every little crack and crevice. It was a powerful reminder that, no matter how much we like to think we are in control, no matter how much technology we have at our disposal, there are many things we cannot control. We are left like Job, putting a finger to his lips when questioned by God. But that does not stop us wanting to know, wanting to control.

The desire to control is one we all experience, to greater or lesser degree. At its best, it encourages us to explore, explain, understand; at its worst, it makes us seek to dominate or destroy. During this month of November, when we pray so often for the dead and remember particularly those who died in war, it may be helpful to reflect on those areas of our own lives where there is either too much or too little control, knowing that the consequences of untrammelled desires can be deadly. It may help, too, to go through the Bible looking at the ways in which wind is used as an image of God’s action in our lives, above all, as an image of the Holy Spirit.

A windy night may teach us more than we ever dreamed possible.

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Wind

Part of me wants to get very constitutional and say something about the relationship between Parliament and the judiciary, but super injunctions are less troublesome hereabouts than the wind to which we have been subject. We haven’t had the tornado the people of Joplin have had to endure with such terrible loss of life, nor even the gales that have battered Scotland — just a relentless, cold, dry wind. Everything is shrivelling. The sky, for the most part, is grey and presumably may become greyer still if the Icelandic ash affects our perception of the upper sky. It is a bleak spring, with wheat and arable farmers looking grave and gardeners becoming plaintive about the poor prospects for summer.

And yet this reminder of the power of the wind, of our dependence on the weather, is also strangely comforting. We spend much of life in an artificial environment, with light and temperature controlled, foods available irrespective of season, ignorant of our own fragility. Wind, unseen and uncontrollable, reminds us that there are forces at work which will never be tamed, that the wild survives even in the heart of the city. I like the thought that the Holy Spirit is blowing through the midst of our urban wastelands as well as through the wasteland of our hearts, don’t you?

Quiet Days
We are hoping to have a few quiet days as a community this week, to recharge the batteries. There may be a few timetable changes, so please check beforehand if you are thinking of joining us for the Divine Office. Mass on Monday, 30 May, will be at 10.00 a.m.

Quiet Days Update
O foolish Benedictine! I thought that letting everyone know we are trying to have a few quiet days would gently warn people off visiting/making enquiries about visiting. It has had the opposite effect. However, we are genuinely tired and are therefore closing our doors completely, even for the Divine Office. The only public celebration during the next few days will be Mass on Monday. I hope you understand.

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