Saturday, 13 March 2010

A trip to Edgware

Today I was asked to lead a Quiet Day at Edgware. I am really glad that I have been asked, I hope it helped the good number of people assembled as it most definitely helped me focus my thoughts.
The day started with an opening address and the whole gathering went into silence. At noon the community of nuns sung Mid-day Office and at 12.30pm we celebrated Mass during which was the second address. Following a silent lunch, we returned for the third address. After some more silent time, we ended the day with Vespers and Benediction.
It was a really good gathering of engaging Christians which I personally found most encouraging.
The talks focused on the seeking of Christ in prayer, trust and humility. As Edgware Monastery belongs to Benedictine Nuns, I took the rule of Benedict as the inspiration.
However, you are right there is a but!  This Abbey is a sizeable complex, a good size chapel and all the facilities make it a power house of evangelisation and a tool for mission. So that is why a dark cloud fell over my heart when three nuns turned up for Mid-day office.  Why is such potential being so underused? Why is a possibility of bringing people to Jesus, a house of prayer, a school of discipleship, why is it as dry as a desert? Why is it dying when it should be an oasis that inspires, energises and give life? And this is not the only Anglican religious community going through this, look at Mirfield, they have also closed the community in South Africa which if ever there was a jewel in the Anglican religious life, it must have been that. The same is true up and down the country. Why is this happening? If we look at the continent we see Catholic religious communities coming to life and growing: FSSP, the Institute of Christ the King, the sisters of Mother Teresa  and so many others.
I am sure this has no reflection on those religious who are still toiling hard to live their witness. It might be that Anglicanism is becoming bankrupt from the life of the spirit. I hope I am wrong but what I witnessed today is not only very sad but very worrying indeed, but then some might say to me that the writing has been on the wall for some time.
During Refreshment Sunday my prayer will be that the Holy Spirit will refresh the religious life especially in Anglicanism, but as always: “Thy will be done”, maybe there is a lesson here, maybe I need to read the sign and the writing on the wall.

3 comments:

Kentish Man said...

Great post. The quiet day is shamefully underused in my opinion.

Kentish Man said...

Great post. The quiet day is shamefully underused in my opinion.

Terry said...

It would seem that the more tradional orders, especially, are enjoying a tremendous upsurge in vocations in the Catholic church.

In England, the Cistercians, who along with the Carthusians are as hardcore as they come, are having to turn people away due to their inability to accept so many novices at one go! And the Benedictines are thriving very nicely.

On the other hand, the newer, "modern' orders are experiencing a big fall in their vocations. The writing is, indeed, on the wall and it says the people want their traditions back.

Deo Gratias.