“Lord” he said “I have had enough. Take my life. I am no better than my ancestors.” words of discouragement & despair, a feeling of lamentable failure 2900yrs ago spoken by Elijah the prophet. he thought that the showing of the power of the Lord, & the public humiliation of the nothingness of the power of the Baals, & the ending of the drought through Elijah’s prayers would bring the King & his people back to worship God..
Fr Bede thought the showing of the power of the Lord in the miracle of the medical scientists discovering four covid vaccines in 12months, the public humiliation of the nothingness of the power of our politicians & their u turns & hypocrisy, & the progress made on containing our covid deaths would bring the people back to worship our God..
..at his lowest moment Elijah is fed bread from heaven. God answers his cry of desolation making him understand his resignation is not accepted..
“[ Elijah ] Lord I have had enough..” ; Lord have mercy “[Moses ] why have I not found favour with you, so that you load on me the weight of all this nation?” ; Christ have mercy “[ Jeremiah ] truthfully God, have I not done my best to serve you?” ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
“stop complaining to each other” of all the sins one can commit in a monastic community or in a monastic parish, the most life threatening & corrosive is the smallest..murmuring or complaint; in all 72 chapters of Rule of St Benedict nothing is so undermining of the ideal of monastic life, obedience & love as constant complaining. St Benedict says “the damage is done not by fact that there is a complaint; there are always procedures for legitimate complaint, which are healthy in a community provided they are not destructive & honestly brought forward in a spirit which is open & ready to accept a decision..murmuring isn’t like that; it is underhand & quickly becomes part of the “underlife” of a community; it destroys confidence. In a community it is impossible for the superior or parish priest to deal with it; it goes on in dark corners or in whispers; it affects others & in end affects the spirit of a whole community. For individuals it becomes increasingly addictive & they develop a corresponding blindness to the harm they are doing to themselves & to others.” “Jesus said “stop complaining to each other.” the complainers knew him “Jesus son of Joseph..we know his father & mother.” they knew him only too well, they saw listened & read him from their headcentred common sense, addicted to a spiritual life-long lockdown of self-isolation self-protection & self-affirmation..& “he could work no miracles there, he was amazed at their lack of faith” St Paul had similar challenges among the Ephesians in 2nd rdg..”do not grieve the Holy Spirit who has marked you with his seal for you to be set free when the day comes. Never have grudges or lose your temper, or raise your voice or call each names, or allow any sort of spitefulness.” by gum Pauls words with the blunt frankness of a Yorkshireman a full length ball onto our middle stump..ignore it leave it at your peril..it is a long lonely walk back to pavilion when you are out for a duck.. just 5wks ago I had blessing, on your behalf, of claiming Ettie Slingsby for Christ at her moment of baptism, sealing her with the Holy Spirit, her belonging here for life sealed authenticated in front of 40 family & friends..”Ettie on behalf of the Christian community I claim you for Christ”..some 25yrs ago as Junior Master in monastery, I flew to Chicago to visit one of our junior monks taking time out at home..at customs they checked my passport but also took my fingerprint..& from then, & for my lifetime, wherever I go overseas, my identity can be authenticated by that first fingerprint..for eternity, Ettie & you & I have a divine authentication through the seal/cross marked on our forehead at our baptism..”try to imitate God, as children of his that he loves, & follow Christ by loving as he loved you” the seal of the Holy Spirit on your forehead/heart so that, wherever you go, your works of service are validated as authentic service of the divine presence. The bread of life, rather like your fingerprint, looks like an ordinary piece of bread; however, see it, read it from your heart, & its true essence is tasted..a taste to die for..”anyone who eats this bread will live for ever, my flesh for the life of the world” notice life of the world not life of Our Lady & St Benedict’s Ampleforth..our calling is to share its taste & effects worldwide..an apostolate, a journey for life & through life, which begins here in this faith community, where legitimate healthy complaint is welcomed & where murmuring is tracked & traced, addressed with the spiritual vaccine we call grace, & all surfaces with which you have been in contact in your disease & disgrace are sanitised..& our spiritual long covid is eradicated.. “try, then, to imitate God, as children of his that he loves..” your spiritual identity proven as you take the piece of the bread of life from the palm of your hand in a few moments time, as his real presence taken between your thumb & finger, touching your fingerprint, & the two become one..mutual identification & authentication..one bread one body one heartprint..& when it is eventually read at the gate of heaven, your unique divine identification, the monitor will read “valid loved welcomed” [19th SunYrB; Jn 6:41-51]