Someone once told me how he himself understood faith. He knew that he was seriously ill, & the doctors could not give him a definite prognosis of the results of an operation he was about to have. But he tried to gather up the fragments of his life into a picture that he had more sensed than seen up to this point. He said “if I am honest, all my life it was not so much that I believed as that I wanted to believe, & now, when I can see death more clearly than life, I really have no more strength to say that this or that is true. Talk about the meaning of life seems almost cynical to me, because I feel myself to be empty & meaningless, & I ask myself every day how long can this go on? But then I say to myself, my present condition of disease & weakness can’t be a reflection of the real world. To say that what I see now is the genuine reality would be as absurd as if I were to expect a broken mirror to give a true reflection of some object or other. I can’t expect that when I am full of fear, sorrow, weakness & powerlessness, my reason or my feelings see the world the way it really is. So I tell myself that there were at least a few moments when I was closer to faith. I can’t say that I ever really believed, but those moments in my life were powerful enough - at least I think they were - that in them the mirror might have been put back together, & there might have been a chance to see things the way they are.
I think that is something akin to what the fourth Gospel means here. It is possible to trust those few people on earth who can see rightly. Even if things have never seemed clear & simple in our eyes, still we have the witness of these few, & the question now is what we will make of it, whether we will envy them & complain to God that we did not have the grace given to Thomas to see & to touch, or whether we say to ourselves, one person like Thomas is enough for centuries. Someone like that at least points out the direction life should take, which is right for us too. That person that least saw the dark wall of earthly existence open for a moment, & a single instant in the light is enough to know.”
(The Open Tomb: Eugene Drewermann)
Following our Parish Forum on Sun 25th Feb at which I gave a comprehensive report on the life of both our Parish & St Benedict’s Primary School, recording my other ministries of retreat work & responsibilities within the Abbey & Diocese, which necessitates my work among you to be “part time”, those attending asked for an opportunity to respond & to contribute to all that was shared. We are to meet again this Sunday at 11.15am in the Parish Hall to try to see where additional help on ministry within the Church, on governance, finance & administration may be forthcoming. Please do try to come to this important meeting as we together shape the future direction & ongoing wellbeing of our Parish. If you can’t be with us please remember us in prayer at this time.
With love & prayers, Fr Bede.