Friday, 16 January 2009

To the Bright Side of the Road.

This morning, just before twelve as I was in church saying the Angelus with the young man whom I look after on Fridays the sun was streaming in the windows so brightly it looked for a moment as though we were back in the early middle ages when windows were unglazed in the monasteries before the whole theology of light began, interspersing light and darkness and colour, often for its own testimony, often for educational purposes. I have been lucky enough to see Strasbourg Cathedral lit by polychromatic light to resemble how it may have looked inside many years ago, before the paint was removed by time and malice and well meaning reforms. In England we are lucky to have some of the finest Cathedrals in Europe, if you share my taste for the light stone and plain post Henrecian reformation windows, many of them old abbeys which have stood the test of time and faith, each generation thinking that they live in the worst possible time for faith, few living through physical persecution, torture and dissolution. It is for these old Abbeys, in some sense, that I pray for the faith to be maintained in the Church of England.

God and His Mother still, through miracle, vision, incarnation and appearance have guided us through these times and will continue to do so, even though there may have to be a new way for us to teach the faith and live the incarnation for each generation. A new Saint Benedict, a new plan of living, which will reflect the teachings of Christ in their fullness and the faith in its fullness, but delivered in a radically different way. Personally, I find this prospect nothing but hugely exciting. I have already begun my investigations into this and, I hope, found someone who will, in a few years, begin to accredit the findings academically. I make no claims to being the new Saint Benedict, as you appreciate, but there are numerous people around the world looking into just this challenge, Opus Dei being a good example, the Pilsdon at Malling being another. Exciting times, not to retreat into community, but to model Christ and the Apostles in community.

Half an hour after leaving home this morning, it was dark and I was stuck in a traffic jam in this picturesque spot by the Worsley canal where, years ago, special 'u type' boats carried coal into the smallish opening hidden in the dark, into hundreds of miles of tunnels, representing the sine qua non of technological achievement and advancement. Today, a hundred years on, it is boarded up and the area around a small patch of greenery to sit and enjoy the view, which once would have heaved with light and the sound of machinery and the black of coal soot as a huge labour carried on.