Day 34 – the end?

Today is my last full day of the “experiment”. What have I learned? That nothing is certain and sometimes I just have to leap in. I can plan, and read, and write. I can wait until I am sure. But in the end, I simply need to leap into the arms of Jesus!

This “experiment” has given me a framework. It has given me “firsthand experience”. In a context that is extremely comfortable! To be honest, I think the last five weeks have been so beyond magnificent that I can hardly believe that I have lived alone for that long. I see everything with new eyes, especially when I return to the faith community that nurtures me. I have a much stronger sense of who I am and I have no need to pretend.

So, I would like to make this “experiment” more permanent. Yes, I have a vocation to the solitary life. And, yes, I have a vocation to “sharing” that life with others. I am not sure what that will look like or if it will include “vows”.

I got some chocolate today at the shops to celebrate these five weeks. I am sad to go but I am very excited for tomorrow.

Day 32 – future?

I slept past my alarm! That is the first time during this “experiment”. So I missed the sun rise this morning.

Prayer and meditation! I have struggled with meditation for the last couple of days – my head is all over the place. I have been thinking a lot about the future.

I have been reading a book about Fr Hope Patten. It is so Anglican! I love the “catholic heritage” of Anglicanism. The book often gives me a “laugh out loud” moment.

Jesus be with you!

Day 31 – accountability?

Normal start to the day. I am going to miss this time of silence and solitude to pray.

Yesterday I was reading about “vows” from an Anglican religious perspective. The author made the point that it includes “accountability”. In the anchorite tradition this is through a confessor. In a modern context it is through the ministry of a spiritual director and the bishop.

All the anchorite guidance literature speaks at length about confession and penance. While it speaks of the sacrament, and the obedience due to the priest, it is speaking about being accountable to someone for your actions. Yes, in the end that is God. But I am answerable now to the people into who’s care God has placed me.

So I have been thinking about the ministry of a confessor and spiritual director. They need not be the same person and there is no need to make their ministry into a fetish. (I think the ministry of the confessor in the medieval literature is a fetish – blind obedience with mechanical impassive use of the sacrament grace.)

Anyway, I have been thinking about that this morning. Jesus be with you!

Day 30

A very different start to the day. I slept in! I allowed by alarm to wake me and then I took my time getting up. I wish I could say I did some praying and meditating but I looked at my social media and read the headlines in the paper.

I had a good prayer time and some interesting insights during my meditation. I need to think about my future and what shape it will take. I have some ideas but I am not sure they are God’s. But that will work itself out in time. Or not, which makes no difference at all.

My normal streamed Mass did not happen this morning. So I watched Mass from a London “shrine church”. Since I have returned to the Bible Study, I find it harder to listen to sermons. It is not my context, nor my life, but sometimes I wonder if the preacher has done any work on the text. In case you have not guessed, I dislike platitudes. Where is the challenge? Where is the call to action?

I have been reading an article in the book, Anglican Religious Life: A well kept secret. It is a take on vows that I really like – or maybe, with which I identify. Vows linked to love and as a public expression of love. A working out of relationship!

So there you go! Way too much information. The routine of the day has given me freedom to let my mind and heart soar.

May Jesus bless you today!

Day 29

I had the worst sleep I have had in years last night. I had nightmares most of the night – screaming people with lots of tension. So I got up before my alarm, said good morning to the car, prayed, and meditated. I did not have time for a streamed Mass today as I had an appointment.

When I check my email this morning I had a nice surprise. My past is working itself out. And in the process the future is becoming clearer. So I went to my appointment with a much brighter world-view.

I found some books today that I have been looking for. One is about Anglican religious life, a few collected works, and a couple prayer books.

I am extremely tired at the moment but I will battle through this afternoon.

things eternal

O God, the protector of all who trust in you,
without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy:
increase and multiply upon us your mercy;
that with you as our ruler and guide
we may so pass through things temporal
that we lose not our hold on things eternal;

grant this, heavenly Father,
for our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Common Worship

I wanted to share the above collect from Common Worship – the collect for this last week. Every day I have been struck by the line: “we may so pass through things temporal that we lose not our hold on things eternal“. It is the struggle of all followers of Jesus: to live in this world without being part of this world.

I think theologians have tried to bring balance to this paradox in various ways. But in the end both are gifts from God: the temporal and the eternal. The call is to see the eternal in the temporal and thereby bring the temporal into the eternal.

I like Common Worship more everyday.

interior penance?

1430 Jesus’ call to conversion and penance, like that of the prophets before him, does not aim first at outward works, “sackcloth and ashes,” fasting and mortification, but at the conversion of the heart, interior conversion. Without this, such penances remain sterile and false; however, interior conversion urges expression in visible signs, gestures and works of penance.

1431 Interior repentance is a radical reorientation of our whole life, a return, a conversion to God with all our heart, an end of sin, a turning away from evil, with repugnance toward the evil actions we have committed. At the same time it entails the desire and resolution to change one’s life, with hope in God’s mercy and trust in the help of his grace. This conversion of heart is accompanied by a salutary pain and sadness which the Fathers called animi cruciatus (affliction of spirit) and compunctio cordis (repentance of heart)

Catechism of the Catholic Church

There is so much of the above to think about and meditate on. I like that penitence is interior looking for an external sign. So, being Anglican, “all may, some should, none most”. The importance is the conversion of the heart – the wholehearted turning to Jesus.

I have created a PDF for the Common Worship “The Reconciliation of a Penitent” which I think should work for Anglicans. I like that the Common Worship order has an Act of Contrition which is not there in other orders. (Happy to be corrected!)

Day 21 – gifts?

[I was planning this post all the way through church so sorry to anyone I ignored!]

Pursue love and strive for the spiritual gifts, and especially that you may prophesy. For those who speak in a tongue do not speak to other people but to God; for nobody understands them, since they are speaking mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, those who prophesy speak to other people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. Those who speak in a tongue build up themselves, but those who prophesy build up the church. Now I would like all of you to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. One who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.

1 Corinthians 14:1-5

God gives gifts to the church through individuals for the upbuilding of the people of God. I wish I could sing! Nothing like a beautiful Mass with vestments, incense, and a good choir with a cantor. But I cannot sing. In fact, I am completely tone deaf.

I am good at being alone. This morning I thought, “what if ‘being alone’ is God’s gift to me and through me to the church?”. God calls individuals to white martyrdom and just maybe that is my calling. I am not a misanthropist, as much as I like to pretend. I do like people and I miss aspects of human relationships. But I know that the moment that I am most “me” is when I am alone with Jesus.

The question becomes, “how does this gift buildup the church?”. So some connection with the people of God is necessary. But it need not be in “traditional ways”. God has blessed me with the internet – video calls, Zoom meetings, blogs, social media.

What is the point? I am not sure but maybe a calling to solitary life is something that the church has not valued. And the people of God have missed the gifts that this calling brings with it.

Maybe you all have a blessed Sonday!!!!!